Lost Passport Delays Au Pair’s Arrival. Should we match or move on?
Dear Au Pair Moms– We’ve got a crazy delay in our Au Pair’s arrival that messes up my carefully made plans.
Specifically, we are looking at a 3-5 week gap, maybe longer, to figure out childcare and wait for our au pair who lost her visa.
Can you advise me what to do?
Our old au pair just left yesterday, after a full year with our family. We have a planned 2 week gap between our last au pair and our next au pair. We are also switching agencies, because we found this new au pair with a different agency and we liked her so much.
One of the things I like about her is that she has great work and overseas living experience (in Africa for 2 years). She is 25 years old, a special education kindergarten teacher, and seems like a nice, intelligent, grounded person. We expect her to be very responsible.
Yesterday she emailed me to tell me that she can’t find her passport. Which also has her visa in it. She has been looking for days and just can’t find it. She is supposed to get on a plane on Monday for her training in NY, and supposed to be in our home January 23rd, working on Jan 26th. She has reported her passport missing to the agency.
I’ve been in contact with the agency, and they are still a bit hazy on how long it will take to replace everything.
This is an unprecedented situation for them- they say they’ve never had an au pair lose her passport before leaving her home country. It’s a little shocking!
It seems that we will have at least a 3 week wait from when she was supposed to arrive until when she actually arrives. Maybe longer- it depends on how the State Department handles her visa, if she needs to go through the application process all over again, how long it takes to get an appointment, etc. It could possibly be 2 weeks if they don’t need her to apply again- but from what I understand of Homeland Security that seems rather unlikely.
I am not sure what to do. I really like this person, and I am willing to believe that this does not signal a huge character flaw.
It’s just a massive mistake. She has emailed me a few times since the first barn-burner, taking full responsibility and ownership for her mistake, understanding how I feel, and telling me that she understands if we don’t want her as our au pair anymore.
However, even though I still like her, I’m not sure I want to wait indefinitely and have my life upside down trying to figure out how to get everything done without an au pair.
I know that I could find a transition au pair to come here in the next week or two. The problem is that my agency … only has 5 transition au pairs right now, and they don’t give out the contact info for previous/current host families. I’ve heard of that before but never PLANNED to be in transition so I let it fly over my head.
[I actually gave a lecture to the transition manager I talked to about how useful and important it is to talk to the host families, and how I’ve been on both sides of that fence with my previous agency… I told her that I absolutely will NOT take a transition or extension au pair without talking to the host family, so if they don’t give me the contact information the au pair will have to. I said you have your policy, and I have mine!]
Anyway I am off-topic here, rambling a bit. My Agency has said that they would give us a refund if requested, in this case. The beautiful thing is that we’ve only paid them a fraction of the full program fee so far, because they don’t require it to be paid upfront like our last agency.
So I can look at transition au pairs from any agency, and just sign up with that agency?
I suppose. It just sounds like a lot of work, and it’s making me tired… I really like this girl we originally matched with, maybe we should just wait for her?
Did I mention I have pneumonia?
Yes, I’m sick with pneumonia, typing this on my computer when I should be in bed right now. Back to bed I go, before my kids come home and see me up and want to play with me (my mother is here for our planned 2 week gap, sadly she can’t stay much longer). I really don’t have energy for this. I need to get better.
Any advice would be lovely at this point. ~LostPassportLostCause?HM