Au Pair Appreciation: All this, and a friend too

by cv harquail on May 1, 2009

International Au Pair Appreciation Week
As shared by a Host Mom

200904302038.jpg I am the very proud mother of three children, ages 10, 9 and 2. My older two were adopted three years ago from Torosovo, Russia. They came from a background of extreme poverty, abuse and neglect, and as older adopted children, the transition to family life in America was difficult – and it continues to be difficult. As a result, it was important to me to find an au pair who could embrace their emotional challenges along with the challenges they face from being non-native English speakers.

200904302038.jpg I was originally skeptical of having an au pair, but when Verce arrived in our home, I knew my fears had been for nothing. Instantly, she embraced her role in our family, and embraced the love we had to offer her. Her patience and dedication to our family is never ending.

When my older children struggle with their homework, she is right there reminding them that she understands their frustrations – because she is also learning English. Her empathy has been invaluable in helping their transition in to their adoptive family. She understands their sadness of leaving their home country and their frustrations of learning a new language and culture, and she loves them through the emotional challenges they face. Together they are learning about American money, holidays, and culture. More importantly, it has improved their attachment to America by allowing them to share with her the holidays and traditions they have just recently come to know over the last few years. Together, they talk about the countries they left behind, and find joy in learning about America together.

On top of caring for the older children, Verce spends her days caring for our two year old who is a non-stop bundle of energy. Under her patient care, he is flourishing. Since her arrival, he has learned his numbers, colors, and the letters of the alphabet. His education does not stop there, though. In addition, he has developed a large vocabulary of Macedonian words that he proudly shows off. Every day when I arrive home from work he has acquired some new bit of learning that she has taught him during the day.

200904302038.jpg Having said all of that, this story would not be complete without telling you how grateful I am for the relationship I have with Verce. While we may have brought Verce in to our home to care for our children, the most surprising development has been that she is not only a great childcare provider, but she is my friend as well. She and I enjoy time together shopping, having lunch, or cooking dinner for the family. She has become like a sister to me, and I treasure our quiet conversations in the evenings when the house is quiet, and we can relax and talk about our days.

Together we are sharing the awesome journey of raising three beautiful children. Having Verce in my home makes me a better mother and a better person. She deserves to be recognized for everything she does, and the person she is, during International Au Pair Appreciation Week.

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{ 5 comments }

Dawn May 1, 2009 at 6:10 pm

This was really nice to read. This is one of the things I love about our current AP as well. She’s wonderful with the kids, but she’s also a great friend to me (and my husband), and just generally ADDS to our family. Additionally, one of my boys has been particularly challenging lately, and it’s been so great to have another adult (besides my husband) to commiserate and brainstorm with about ways to work with him. (An adult who completely loves my son and appreciates all of his positive traits, so I know she doesn’t resent him, but instead wants to help him through this “challenging” period as much as I do.)

CV, is this your own “appreciation,” or is this posted on behalf of an anonymous reader? If it’s yours, which AP was Verce out of the 9(?) you’ve had? see below…. cv

Rayann May 1, 2009 at 6:22 pm

This is mine (and me in the above pictures!). I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes reading it, even though I wrote it! I really couldn’t begin to tell you all the wonderful things about Verce – she’s really become a dear friend. Just last night we had the chance to sit in a completely quiet house, drink mojitos, and talk about life. I am so fortunate that when I leave for work every day, I leave my kids with a dear friend, not just a childcare provider. And when I return in the evening, I get to spend time with someone I love dearly and enjoy every minute with. I truly wish every host family could have this kind of a relationship with their AP – it is so much fun!

Dawn May 1, 2009 at 6:58 pm

Rayann, I totally agree. Our current AP is our 4th, but this is the first time I’ve had this kind of close relationship with an AP. It’s really a wonderful feeling!

You and your children (and your AP) are beautiful! It’s nice to have some faces to put with the name! (I’m a fellow adoptive Mom — my youngest was born in Guatemala.)

Karla May 1, 2009 at 10:52 pm

Rayann, this is an awesome story and I too had tears in my eyes as I read this. I know the love that is there in that family and I too love you all very much. I only wish I could be there more often with all of you. So does your Dad. Love to all.

Heidi May 2, 2009 at 7:30 am

Rayann – this was a really great story. I’m so happy for your family and Vera. This is really special.

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