Open Thread: April 5th

by cv harquail on April 5, 2014


Welcome to our Weekend Open Thread!  

Open threads are for comments on any subject at all, including past posts, things we haven’t posted on, what you’ve been thinking or doing, etc. You can even let me know if there’s a topic you think I should queue up for the coming week.

Just be sure to follow our basic comments policy.

This thread will be open for a full weekend, from today until the evening of Monday, April 7th, or when we hit 100 comments, or whenever I get organized to close it. Or not.  We’ll open up a new thread on Saturday, April 12th.  And I promise, I’ll get some posts up from our earlier open threads! ~ cvh


Image: Rainbow thread


LondonMum April 5, 2014 at 7:49 am

My au pair planned a long weekend in Europe. She planned on getting the tube to the airport, when she got to the station the tube was not running. She phoned me, I couldn’t answer as I was driving, when I pulled over I called her back. I told her to get a cab, about £40, which I knew she could afford. I was half an hour away and it would have been tricky to get the airport on time if I had gone back home to pick her up. Also, I had a whole day planned and a busy schedule.

Now she is mad at me, she hasn’t said anything specific but there is an atmosphere. Also, on her way to the airport she sent me a text saying ‘You have a nice day’, maybe she meant it but I felt it was a bit sarcastic –

was I unreasonable, should I have dropped everything and gone to pick her up and take her to the airport (3 hour round trip)? Would be glad of some other opinions – happy for brutally honest opinions!

AussiePair April 5, 2014 at 8:35 am

It’s her trip, her time, her responsibility! It’s always great when a host parent can help out with transportation to or from the airport, but it’s certainly not a requirement that you do. Especially when you already had plans, if I was your au pair I wouldn’t even dream of asking that off you, seems kind of rude/presumptuous on her part. Did you tell her your reasoning for why you couldn’t pick her up (not that you should need one), perhaps it will make her grateful that you didn’t as she probably wouldn’t have had a trip if you did help her out.

I hope the attitude changes and that it’s actually about something else rather than this issue. Good luck!

HRHM April 5, 2014 at 8:46 am

Her sense of entitlement is jaw-dropping. It is however, one of those teenage girl assumptions about the “member of the family” position. i.e., “My Mom would have dropped everything and driven 4 hours to save me 40pounds, so you should too and your just a heartless wench who abuses her AP if you don’t” This entitlement business is usually just the tip of the iceberg of immaturity. I once had an AP scream at me on the phone because she missed her train to DC and I wouldn’t let her take my car instead (4 hour drive, for her 21st birthday) This was of course after I had seen the video of her driving (with the camera in her hand) singing “Shots”. Um, no.

exaupair April 5, 2014 at 9:18 am

You are so right HRHM! Plus the OP lives in london, it’s not like she was left in the middle of nowhere! There are buses, coach stations (90% of coaches are not packed full so even if you don’t book your ticket online you can pay and get on board), the tube….even if one line is not running there’s a chance a different line would be….and of course taxis! Plus its 21century, most people have smartphones so they can easily go online and see which means of transport available!

exaupair April 5, 2014 at 9:28 am

Said that, I think I would have more sympathy for that AP if she was somewhere else – small town, or for example my home country where trains come and go as they wish with no credible explanation, and buses have constant delays with no apparent reason.

exaupair April 5, 2014 at 9:02 am

No, you weren’t unreasonable, you already had plans you’d have to put aside if you tried to drive back, collect her and drop at the airport(I assume it was stansted which has cheapest flights, but is a real pain to get to).
Dunno where in london you are, but….Instead of a taxi which is quite expensive(i know you said she could afford it) you could have suggested a bus, much cheaper(£20) and every 40 mins or so – I suppose she had plenty of time left when she called you….by car takes about as long as by bus, if not longer sometimes!!!
I don’t know your AP but maybe what really bemused her was the fact you’ve suggested the most expensive transport instead of advice on trains/buses which are reasonably cheaper.
If she’s still mad by the time she’s back I would try to talk to her (don’t be apologetic – you have nothing to be sorry for!) and explain how hard it is sometimes to rearrange your day schedule.
Ask her what would SHE do if she was on her way to the airport when you suddenly call and need her to drive back to cover for you.

WestMom April 5, 2014 at 3:12 pm

I totally agree that you need to confront this issue to prevent any further immature sulking. Things like that happens ALL THE TIME in adulthood! Life is full of missed planes, flat tires, broken water heaters, and unexpected co-pays. One just has to eventually learn to go with the flow… This was a great opportunity to learn to do just that.

I would suggest sitting down and discussing how she feels about the way she handled this situation. Let her explain what she was expecting from you. And explain how she is an adult, and as unpleasant these situations may be, they are good learning experiences. Hopefully she will be able to get over it and take this a good life lesson.

SingleHM April 6, 2014 at 5:51 pm

What about the Heathrow Express…? Isnt there a quick train from Paddington?

That said…I don’t think it’s your problem and not your responsibility to get her there. It’s her trip.


skny April 5, 2014 at 8:36 am

nope. Not unreasonable. She is an adult, on her free time. While I like to accommodate my au pairs, it would take an AWESOME au pair to get me to place my 4 and 2 yo in a car for 3yo for 3hs round trip. The one who is here now (a former au pair who is spending a 3 month vacation with us to help until may) is so awesome, Id drive her 4hrs away (I actually told her she could drive my car to NYC, 5hs away). Cant honestly say Id make the 3hs drive with kids for the other 2 former au pairs….

Momma Gadget April 5, 2014 at 9:04 am

London Mum- You are not a chaufer. Your AP is being unreasonable and Childish.

Although I can understand that your AP must have been stressed as anyone would be coming across this kind of problem, she is supposed to be an adult and able to figure out her own transportation to/from her vacation. You did not promise to take her in the first place,and gave her a solution. It is not your fault the tube was down. You are her employer not her mummy.She was not hurt or in danger. Your free time is valuable too. She should not have expected you to drop everything to come to her rescue because she didn’t want to pay for a cab. To further sulk shows that she is immature.

We have a train that goes to the airport a few miles from us. But it does not run at early or late. We will drop our APs off at the train station at anytime. They make their own travel plans and it is up to them to either pick a flight that they can take a train to, or to find their own transportation to the airport. The one AP who booked a 6am flight, went to the airport the night before and slept there rather than pay for a car service, or hotel… Her choice. It never even entered her head that we HPs should get up at 3AM.

I think you need to prick this bubble. Too bad you don’t have LCs there to help!Sit her down and explain to her that if she is adult enough to go in vacation aline then she needs to be adult enough to figure out her own transportation- even when there are problems. “Sorry I could not help you, but it was an unreasonable request in the first place, and unacceptable for you to continue holding a grudge about it” . If she cannot adjust her attitude, then you should rematch. I would be a bit leary of a disgruntled immature AP taking care of my children.


Momma Gadget April 5, 2014 at 9:06 am

Oops “Good Luck!”

London Mum April 5, 2014 at 1:34 pm

I did suggest the cheaper bus options but she was stressing that she wouldn’t know where the stop was and she didn’t have much time to spare as she had planned for the tube which is much quicker. I said just to get a cab to relieve her stress and be sure she got to the airport on time. Also, her parents give her a monthly allowance, in addition to her salary, which is quite generous, I think she has more disposable income than me judging by the shops she goes too! So, considering all that, I thought a cab would be best for her. She is a lovely person and we do get on well so hopefully this will pass! We are away next week so she may be over it by the time we get back! Thanks for all your comments, I feel much better!

Momma Gadget April 5, 2014 at 2:43 pm

You’re going to “hope this passes”, and leave an angry AP in your home alone for a week while you are away? You are braver that I am.

American Host Mom in Europe April 6, 2014 at 3:49 am

I think your response was absolutely reasonable. I usually try to discuss with my APs before they start traveling about contingency planning and budgeting, to head off such problems. This is a good reminder, thanks. And I hope she gets over it quickly.

futbolmom April 5, 2014 at 1:51 pm

We are starting the process of matching for our third bro-pair for our school age boys. We joined the program in part to give the boys exposure to different cultures. After a very successful first year we went with an au pair from a different country for the second year. The year has gone fine but not as well as the first, in part because of a more reserved personality which makes him feel less like “part of the family.” In looking for a new match with more energy our agency found someone nearly identical to our first (successful) au pair-same country, same city even!
My questions: Do families find that they just “fit” best with au pairs from a certain culture/background and go with it year after year? Or should I just keeping searching for the personality we are looking for from a new country to fulfill our desire to broaden our experience? It is probably our last year in the program. Obviously there are other criteria here (driving, sporty etc) but we find that most of the male au pairs fill those requirements pretty well.
First post here but lurker for several years and I LOVE this community-sanest group of parent bloggers out there!

TexasHM April 7, 2014 at 8:19 am

Our first two APs were same country and same city and couple not have been more different on the personality spectrum! Might as well have been from different countries! We never screen for country, we are always looking for the personality fit and will continue to do so. Ironically, I was not a big fan of French AP profiles – I’m sure they are great just not the personality fit for us personally and sure enough, our current rock star AP is French. :). She will say her personality type isn’t typical in France (at least not in Paris, more so further out) and we had a Brazilian great Ap say the same thing (she wasn’t typically a Brazilian personality) and last round I was super impressed by every Slovakian candidate I looked at so if the traits are cultural that you like, maybe. If not then I think it’s a coincidence.

Old China Hand April 5, 2014 at 2:21 pm

I have a question – I was too soft on my AP with her class decisions this school year, so both semesters she has been auditing a class that meets in the middle of the day, 3 days a week. I don’t teach at that time. After fall semester I knew it would suck and I wanted to say no this spring, but I decided to be a good person and let her take a class on modern Chinese history because I thought as a Chinese person she should know this stuff and she may never have a chance to learn it (for example, she didn’t know that the Boxer Rebellion was against foreign missionaries and probably has never heard of Tian An Men in 1989). She drops my son off at my class that ends just before hers and comes to get him after her class. So I have a toddler (who is potty training right now) in my office, and often peeing on my floor, for 75 minutes 3 days a week. Not ideal. Next AP I’m telling “you work 8-5, M-F, take classes outside that time”. In any case, I’m now starting to feel like she’s taking advantage of my somewhat flexible job. Being a professor is basically flexible except when it isn’t, and then it really isn’t. I have told her she can only take her week of holiday (6 month extension) after the semester ends. So she asked to go to Niagara Falls for a long weekend, leaving midday on Friday, on 2 May. I normally teach until 4:30 Fridays. I happen to not be working that day, so I said yes. Then she said it changed to 9 May. It wasn’t asking permission, more of informing me. I told her that any other Friday in May is ok, but that is the last day of class and I teach until 4:30. She followed this up with asking to adjust her schedule this past Friday so that she worked earlier (she starts at 7:20, and I basically never manage to get out of the house by then, adding to my resentment over her midday class) and that I could come home earlier because she wanted to go to some event with a friend at their church. I said that I had to teach until 4:30 and couldn’t be home until 5. She was kind of stunned about both of these denials and now I feel like she thinks I’m a bit of a witch, but honestly, I am not getting 45 hours of work a week as it is, my husband commutes 40 miles each way, and I have already allowed her a major concession that I regret pretty much daily. So, two questions. 1) am I being a witch? 2) We have a 6 month break from APs coming up, due to a baby arriving mid-summer, so what can I do to avoid this next time? 3) What can I do for her last 3 months so that we don’t keep having her try to take further advantage of me?

spanishaupair April 5, 2014 at 2:45 pm

I think you are not a witch indeed all the opposite a very open and flexible person, you are paying her for helping you with your kid while you are working, if she is lucky and you can be flexible and give her that extra time off to do a trip because you are not working, great for her, but she cant expect you to stop working because she has changed the trip. I think is the kind of situation that happens both ways when people are used to each other, they asked for more if you offer the extra help/time once, that goes from both sides aupairs and HF. And for stop it have a talk with her and explain your expectations for this last 3 months and when and with what you can be flexible and with what not.
With next aupair be upfront about what she can do or not if you dont have something from beggining you will not resent it, and probably have a talk with your current aupair about what will change with next one, so she doesnt tell her things she has that next one won’t

HRHM April 5, 2014 at 5:55 pm

I would suggest sitting down to have a reset conversation ASAP. You can just calmly explain that the reason you have an AP is to make YOUR life EASIER. Having a potty-training child in your office 3 days per week doesn’t serve that purpose. Rearranging your Friday work schedule for her travel doesn’t serve that purpose. Having her change her plans and expect you to accommodate without fail, doesn’t serve that purpose. Honestly, if she’s only auditing the class (not out any money) and doesn’t need it for her credits, I’d be inclined to tell her that she needs to drop the class and resume doing her job. If you don’t plan on doing that, you can politely remind her that that is a possibility if it becomes too much for you. With this in mind, she may be inclined to stop asking for all the additional time off.

With regard to the next AP, my advice would be this: Never say yes right off the bat. To anything. I used to make decisions pretty quickly and then would realize shortly that I made the wrong choice. Being put on the spot, I said yes when I really should have said no, or yes but with these conditions. Now, whenever my APs ask for anything, I always say I have to discuss with HD (he really wants no input) or check my calendar. This gives me time to rationally think about whether its convenient for me and weather she has earned/warranted bonus time off or perks or rule relaxation.

As a matter of fact, you can start this with old AP now as well.

eastcoastmom April 5, 2014 at 6:53 pm

YES! I always now answer with “let me look at it and get back to you.” Answering too quickly has bitten me in the past. No more!

Taking a Computer Lunch April 5, 2014 at 6:54 pm

You’re not a witch, but you do need to have a chat. Your AP is taking advantage of your history of flexibility. Do you have a calendar to write down her schedule? I have found that if everyone’s schedules are obvious, there’s a lot less arguing about extra time off. I had an AP who seemed similar to yours. Everything was about her and what she wanted. She somehow managed to manipulate her way (either us or other people in her life) into giving her what she wanted, but didn’t realize when she’d gone too far with us. We just put our foot down and said, “No.” Don’t give into the Niagara trip because it conflicts with your teaching schedule. Put her schedule down on paper and hold firm.

Finally, sit her down and explain that she needs to keep doing the same great job she’s been doing all year (and if she’s been mediocre, then play the pregnant mom). If she still has vacation time, then you must both agree when she will take it. Also, but having taken the mid-day class, remind her that she has used up all her extra favors and not to ask for more.

Old China Hand April 6, 2014 at 6:28 am

Thanks for all the advice. Things worked out ok this last Friday and I’ve told her that she doesn’t have a choice about working until 5 unless I have agreed ahead of time and don’t teach. I will definitely be more clear with the next ap and with this one will stand my ground if she asks again (I did when she told me the day before spring break that she wanted to use her vacation that week). Thanks for all the advice.

London Mum April 5, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Momma Gadget what do you mean, what do you think she will do?!

WarmStateMomma April 5, 2014 at 4:04 pm

@ Old China Hand: AP#1 was put out when we told her she could not take her 2 weeks vacation during her third month and that we would hold her to the two week limit. She didn’t realize that I couldn’t take a few weeks off work on short notice or that women returning from maternity leave don’t take large blocks of time off work. I really think she was just clueless about the job constraints on HPs. Maybe your AP is similarly clueless?

1 – You have to work and someone has to watch the toddler. You aren’t being a witch by insisting that she be the one to watch the toddler. If she doesn’t watch your child while you are teaching, what’s the point of having an AP?

2 – My new AP had a real job in China, working in an office full time. So far, she really seems to understand the constraints of having a job (although I suspect her hours were pretty lax compared to mine). For comparison, AP#1 taught high school English in China. She read lessons from a book at the class a few hours a week – it wasn’t like she made lesson plans or had the responsibilities you’d expect an American teacher to have managed. She also had more holidays and vacation than you can imagine and wasn’t used to “the grind.”

3 – Guilt. You could remind her that you’re pregnant and need her to step up her game for a few more months. Tell her it stresses you that you can’t be in two places at once (doing her job of watching the toddler while teaching). Ask her to help you reduce that stress. My husband will tell you that I used to rub my huge belly and sigh when I asked him to do some chore he didn’t want to do. :)

WarmStateMomma April 5, 2014 at 4:10 pm

OHC: How is the Chinese history class going? Does she feel like she woke up from the Matrix? AP#1 thought the Dalai Lama was a terrorist and couldn’t believe he’s widely respected here. She seemed resentful to learn about Tiananmen Square so we’ve decided to let AP#2 stay in the Matrix as long as she wants. We change the subject or suggest that she google the topic when the conversation strays into that zone.

Old China Hand April 6, 2014 at 6:31 am

She hasn’t gotten to anything earth shattering in the class yet. The prof broke his leg and they missed two+ weeks of class (it was a dream for my schedule , but students are angry). So far she accepts whatever she learns here as the truth and says she only learned positive things about china at home. She is from a rural area and had a grandfather who was killed during the cultural revolution for being a member of the kmt, so she may be more open. I have a student from china who seems similarly open, but she’s in her 4th year at a very liberal us college.

Dorsi April 5, 2014 at 10:02 pm

After the recent chatter on this blog about amazing APs in rematch, I was excited (as much as one can be) to be dipping in the pool. Now a week in, I am dismayed. Less than 10 in country that are infant qualified. Less than 5 that are willing to leave their metro area. If we don’t count the two that are repeat offenders in rematch, that leaves 2. One there for not wanting an irregular schedule (whatever her old schedule was, I am certain we are not an improvement). One for bad driving, who we could accommodate with a little juggling. However, as an infant qualified AP in rematch, she has her pick. Not interested in us. Two more came in over the past week, but both want to not work with infants (I imagine this is why they are in rematch). So, no options. We are reluctantly going out of country while working on the back up plan. At least old AP is working out the remainder of her two weeks. No real question here, just a complaint on the depth of the infant qualified rematch pool. One more AP and we will be out of it. Whew.

AussiePair April 5, 2014 at 11:55 pm

The pool definitely narrows when you want infant qualified or special needs (and the amount that are qualified seen to want to move away from those types of situations when they can rematch), it’s honestly kind of sad. This is one of the reasons I found a family less than 48 hours after being in rematch. I wish you the best of luck!!!

looking for great rematch AP? April 6, 2014 at 11:37 am

To those seeking rematch right now, our friend just screened and interviewed a great Australian ap in rematch and liked her so much they are so sad an unrelated reason stopped them matching. She is apparently a very good driver, has 2 months practice on usa roads, is a sporty tom boy who would do great with tom boys or boys up to age 9 or 10, has some nursing training, and is so down to earth, unassuming and certainly doesn’t have the princess sense of entitlement that is evident in so many APs. The only reason our friend didn’t match was something unrelated to the AP, and they are heart broken.
The references spoken to indicated a kind girl who systematically will perform her duties and follow schedule and instructions very nicely. Very nice (albeit initially shy) person who will do well with an outdoorsy or down to earth family. If you know anybody interested tell them to call CC ASAP. My friend hopes this lovely trustworthy AP finds a HF before her rematch time limit is up.

TexasHM April 5, 2014 at 11:41 pm

Dorsi have you considered looking at rematch APs in other agencies? I don’t know who you’re with but we couldn’t find any suitable candidates with APIA so went to Interexchange and they sent me the two best profiles I had seen in 4 years of the program and 3 days later we were matched with our current awesome AP. Crossing my fingers for you!

Dorsi April 6, 2014 at 12:32 am

How did that work, financially? Did your old agency prorate the rest of the year? We are only 7 weeks into this match…..

NJmama April 6, 2014 at 8:41 am

Dorsi –
I just started looking at the multiple agency thing. First … A lot of agencies have deals where they waive the application fee (you can also ask them to), and also I think some will give you a discount for switching agencies. As for refunds I imagine every agency is different but they will give you some money back. If you are near the start of your year you will get more than if you are at the end of your year. It should be outlined in your contract. No matter what – document everything with your current au pair in writing and don’t be afraid to press for a bigger refund if you don’t think what they’re offering is fair.
As for rematching…. We’ve done it all. We’ve had girls out of rematch that were amazing and girls out of rematch who lasted a few weeks (and in one case went back into the pool even though she had been through two families). When we’ve gone into rematch we’ve always interviewed both out of country and in country au pairs. Too often we went in-country to get someone quicker and 50% of the time they worked and the girls were amazing and 50% of the time the girls didn’t last. It’s so hard and I really feel for your situation.

TexasHM April 6, 2014 at 8:47 am

Depends on the agency but basically yes. In the APIA contract it says if you go into rematch and there isn’t a suitable match you are entitled to a refund of remaining term. Interexchange goes a step further and their contract lists the $ right in the contract so you can just take the # of weeks x that $ amount and know exactly (yet another reason I LOVE interexchange – transparency).

TexasHM April 6, 2014 at 8:51 am

Oh and most agencies have transfer discounts and promos so you aren’t penalized for losing your repeat family discount and interexchange fees are lower anyway (they are a non-profit). Good luck!!

Host Mom in the City April 6, 2014 at 9:30 pm

Just wanted to note that APIA has the refund amounts in their contract too, based on how long your au pair worked. I would say, if you can, to keep looking at rematch candidates another few weeks and certainly don’t settle. Document document document the lack if candidates and then demand a refund when there hasn’t been anyone. Good luck Dorsi!

dorsi April 7, 2014 at 3:29 pm

Boo. Interexchange has one infant qualified AP in rematch, for suspiciously vague reasons. I really love my LCC, so we are probable sticking with the current agency. On the other hand , I did get to see their out of country apps too- they do seem fairly impressive.

TexasHM April 7, 2014 at 3:35 pm

quick note on Interexchange that I learned recently being in rematch. They assign APs out to one family at a time. Meaning there could be more than one IQ AP in rematch right now but another family is talking to them or worse, sitting on their profile. I intend to email them about this process because while I understand it when matching out of country, I would think rematch APs should be able to talk to multiple families because if you had a couple families sit on their profiles for 4 days each they would only have the opportunity to talk to 2-3 families before being sent home. Lucky for us, our awesome AP was with the LC and was literally in her 3rd week of rematch when we got her profile.

dcmomof3 April 6, 2014 at 8:08 am

Hi All – I am having a matching dilemma and looking for some advice. A few years ago, we had a very sweet au pair from Central America, but we had to rematch because we bought a house outside the city (where everything was walkable) part of the way through her year and despite many, many attempts to teach her to drive, we just did not feel comfortable with her driving skills. And, she failed the state driver’s license test twice.

Even though we rematched, we remained close to her and she would come to visit the kids whenever she could. My kids love her and she loves them. She also got her license with her second host family and drove throughout her extension year with them. She is now back in her home country, working to support her aging parents and going to school. She has expressed interest in coming back to au pair again so that she can save money for her family.

I told her a few weeks ago that we were about to start the matching process for August 2014 and she said that she was interested, but not sure if 2014 would be her year. So, I started matching on our agency portal and found an awesome candidate whom I really like. We got through lots of emails, chat messages and 2 skype conversations. This girl is clearly thinking we are going to make her an offer and there is really no reason not to, except…..our old AP has now come back and said, actually yes, she does want to try for August 2014. But, the agency says they need 2-4 months to complete the screening and get her into the system once she submits her application. That could put us at the beginning of August before she can even go for her visa interview.

So, I’ve been agonizing over the decision. Do I just wait and hope for the best with an au pair whom we know, love and feel like we’ve invested a lot in already? Or just match with the girl we’ve been interviewing (who is “on hold” with us and cannot talk to other families until we release her). My husband thinks its kind of crazy that I’ve become attached to the candidate I’ve met only online. Any thoughts? Help so I can sleep at night? Thanks!

exaupair April 6, 2014 at 8:43 am

I think I would go with the new AP who will be in US when you need her, waiting for the old AP would make you book some back up childcare before she arrives.
Don’t worry you’d sabotage your old APs plan to come back, she sounds excellent, and she will find another family.

TexasHM April 6, 2014 at 8:56 am

I agree. Too much risk (what if old APs family gets sick, she had visa problems, etc). Has she been back in her country at least two years? IF your old AP get back to the US perhaps she can visit, match with a friend of yours in the same area (esp someone new to the program or on the fence) or maybe you end up getting her for an extension year or God forbid, rematch. Too many variables right now. I’d go with the new candidate but that’s just me.

TexasHM April 6, 2014 at 8:58 am

You might even be able to line it up so you get one year with new AP then have old AP come that way there’s plenty of time for her to get everything done and you’re not stressing. Then maybe you help your new AP extend locally with a friend or give her race reviews and help her get to another city she wants (extension APs are in high demand).

dcmomof3 April 6, 2014 at 9:55 am

Thank you all very much – I do feel obligated to the old AP, but I hate risk. The whole reason I want to match now for an Aug 2014 arrival is so I can RELAX and just enjoy the summer without having to stress about having care in the fall. Also, even though all of my boys are in school, my husband is a big firm lawyer and pretty much not available to help except on weekends and I work for a company based in the Middle East which means early mornings are my busiest time for conference calls, etc. and I need somebody living in my house to get those kids out of bed and moving each morning as they are all early elementary school and too young to do it by themselves.

NJmama April 6, 2014 at 8:33 am

I have a similar dilemma to dcmomof3.
After a horrible year of multiple rematches for a variety of reasons, we finally found a wonderful au pair in rematch who was extremely patient with our older daughter who has anxiety (and you can only imagine how hard the multiple rematches were on her).

My wonderful au pair extended and now plans to get married this fall, at the end of her time with us.
We’ve discussed her staying on for a few months, but she is older, has a degree and is excited to work in her field. So if she stays on with us it would be until about January– which is one of the worst times to match, at least in our experience.

So…. Do I start screening new candidates or stay with the current au pair as long as possible?
I am new to this site and have found valuable advice from reading through the comments (for ex., I would have never thought to try with multiple agencies at once – great tip!)

It’s such a difficult decision! I know the pool is a lot bigger now and I really want the best chance of getting a good match. My 10 year old has come a long way with her anxiety issues but I know the transition will be tough for her (she is very strong willed and bossy and the au pairs that didn’t work out always said they wanted rematch because she hurt their feelings). So I guess part 2 of my request for advice is…. When we do interview, how do we screen past the girls who will say anything to match with a family with older kids that lives close to NYC?

As for you dcmomof3, I think what I would weigh is, if you go with the former au pair and then a few weeks before she is due to come she says she can’t arrive for another few months, would you be able to find interim childcare? That’s a big issue for us. My H and I have long commutes and no family nearby. Finding someone for early mornings is tough. I think I’d go for the new one who going to arrive when you need her (and you can see how that issue is complicating my issue too!)

dcmomof3 April 6, 2014 at 3:57 pm

January is a good time to match if you are looking at candidates from South America, as it is the start of their summer. I had 2 excellent APs from South America – both came in January and both stayed with us for 2 years each. I would keep the good au pair as long as you can and then just match again for January. No sense in getting rid of a great AP early…

NJmama April 6, 2014 at 4:29 pm

Thanks – good to know about South America!

TexasHM April 6, 2014 at 4:38 pm

I was just about to say the same thing, different countries get different months of influx so if you wanted one country in particular I could see it might make a difference but if you’re open there’s always candidates going in the system.

SingleHM April 6, 2014 at 6:04 pm

Australia and South Africa also seek Jan dates…and a lot of my HF friends like candidates from those countries!!

AussiePair April 6, 2014 at 8:47 pm

The Australian school year ends about November/early December for high school and a lot if them would be looking to start gap years around the Dec/Jan/Feb period. So in general Aussie au pairs tend to want arrival dates around this time, definitely a good time to look for an Australian au pair.

Momma Gadget April 6, 2014 at 11:52 pm

NJmamma – I can empathize with you about finding good AP for a child with anxiety issues. My youngest has anxiety issues- we used to say he was channeling Mussolini. I think it is important to discuss this with any candidates by giving them examples, and asking them how they would handle different scenarios. It is important that they are mature enough to understand that these fears and fear responses are pathological not intentional, and to make sure they’ll be able to not take it personally. It is a hard thing to hear “you’re the worst au pair (or Mom)ever!” even when you know that it is the anxiety talking. It is also important that they know that keeping to schedules, being proactive, patient and calm will prevent/alleviate many anxiety induced episodes.

Are you in Bergen or Passaic county? If So you’ll have an awesome LC with Interexchange. She has been a great sounding board when we are seriously considering or stuck between candidates ( as well as any problems through out the year).

FTR We usually end up matching at off times and have never felt we did not have enough candidates to review, especially since they launched the online “Passport” matching system.

Good luck to you!

NJmama April 7, 2014 at 8:04 am

Mamagadget – I’m down in Monmouth Co.
What you say is very true. This is going to sound odd but when we were going through our year of rematch hell I never thought of my older daughter’s behavior as anxiety. Yes we were taking her to a psych but she never put it in those terms and the focus was all on impulse control. It’s related yes, but not the cause. It was only a few months ago that we got the proper diagnosis and hence we are on a much better treatment program.

What you say about the interview process is also very true, and we learned a lot. We did describe scenarios and ask how prospective au pairs would handle different situations and also if they ever had experience with difficult children. My daughter even had an epic meltdown in the middle of a Skype interview, with the au pair insisting it didn’t phase her and telling us her brother was similar and how she could handle it, and she got here and didn’t handle it at all.

But honestly I think it was a combo of us being in a desirable place – cute town, close to the beach, a train ride to NYC – and having older kids and the au pairs would say whatever to match, and I think in retrospect we weren’t as savvy in picking up on certain things bc we just needed someone. Not only do you get impatient but the process is so rushed – the good in country candidates go so quickly, and even with out of country candidates you don’t have them exclusive for very long. It can be hard to slow the process down. In the end I think the reason we found our current great au pair is bc we really did try to convince all the candidates that ours was a tough gig, with a kid who would be exasperating at times, and we had no tolerance for au pairs who would call our area director after a week and complain that our then 9 year old was “hurting their feelings.” Oddly in the end the au pair we got didn’t have tons of babysitting experience or specific experience dealing with difficult children – except with her first family here in the US. But she is incredibly patient and mature and has great insight into people, and I think she wanted to be with a nice family who would work with her through the difficult situations and not leave her in the lurch.

Ok I know I’m on ramble mode – and maybe I’ll pose this in a future open thread – but the other prob we encountered was the first au pair we rematched with would find each successive au pair we got through Facebook and tell them how horrible we were and how easy it would be to rematch. And after 2 weeks they would start making eerily similar complaints as the first rematch au pair. I got very good at documenting everything. And thank god I had an amazing area director who saw through it – she was the kind of woman who got rid of bad au pairs and bad families equally. So having her in our corner helped a lot.

And finally besides tracking my subsequent au pairs down through FB this au pair also trashed us on a closed au pair FB group, complete w full names, home towns and birth dates and names of my kids. I complained to the agency but they’re so lame. They say their hands are tied when it comes to social media and had the audacity to suggest that I speak w my current au pair about not posting family stuff… Which obvs is not the problem, nor is it the same as having someone post lies about your kids. Sorry to digress I’m still upset about that and frustrated that the agency wouldn’t even warn other families that this goes on.

Host Mom in the City April 7, 2014 at 8:27 am

NJmama – sorry for all you’ve been through! I just wanted to say though, that I actually thought January was the best month to match for everyone but European au pairs and the second best time to match other than summer even for Europeans. So I actually think that might be great timing, though I have no experience matching then as we have late summer arrivals ourselves. Best of luck to you!

TexasHM April 7, 2014 at 8:30 am

NJMama, thats horrible! A sidenote on Interexchange – they have a formal social media policy and if an AP does that they are sent home – period. Meaning she would be removed from her new family and sent home if she were to slander you on social media. They can also be sent home for posting pics of your kids on FB without your permission, etc. Its in their documentation and you have to give the APs written permission to use anything online or its grounds for a ticket home.

NJmama April 7, 2014 at 8:55 am

If I had thought to apply with multiple agencies I think I would have had a different view. Also I was in a huge battle w my agency and at the time – this was right around thanksgiving – and they offered me a credit, not a refund. I felt financially tied to them. They had very very few in-country candidates. And remember I had been on that site searching off and on since summer and it seemed like there were the same girls who had been on there for months. Girls that looked good on paper had very poor English or didn’t have the driving experience. I wonder now if I could have held on and started searching in mid January if a new crop would have popped up after Christmas. Hard to say. It just seemed like slim pickings in Nov/Dec. And then the girl we found came in January and she was soooo depressed and ultimately went home. So I think I just had such an awful experience all around, and it made me feel very hesitant about matching then. But it’s really good to hear from people who have had good experiences. So I feel more optimistic and also better prepared. Going through multiple rematches is truly a learning experience but also has made me dread the whole process even more. So having optimism is good!

I don’t screen for country per she but sometimes I will go country by country just as a starting point or sorting mechanism. Also re: age – two of the worst au pairs I’ve had were older than 21. Two of the best I’ve had were 19. The last 19 year old I had was the one that went home depressed. And my current amazing au pair is 26. Go figure! I’ve always wanted a Spanish-speaking au pair but so far haven’t had one! It’s a crap shoot! I wish we could all screen for maturity and patience!

Compared with APC interexchange seems to have a much better sorting feature.

Host Mom in the City April 7, 2014 at 9:11 am

Oh November/December is a world of difference from January. I think everyone is focused on the holidays. And anyone that is in school is finishing up their semester.

Momma Gadget April 7, 2014 at 9:52 am

NJmama-On a strictly being able to roll with the punches, you might consider a male au pair. The two I have had have been great with the “not take it personally” thing, and been pretty good at redirection. We have boys so it was an easy choice for us.

If the former AP is posting your kids, home town and birth dates on facebook, that is more than slander, it is malicious, and reckless endangerment of a minor. That is truly scary! I would seek legal advice/action against both the AP and the Agency . It is still a grey area, but with recent suicides due to cyber bullying law enforcement agencies are starting to take cyber crime, especially against kids, seriously. I know the police in my town will even loo into the Facebook accounts when it has been alleged that there is cyber bullying going on. Perhaps a strongly worded letter from a law firm might put a fire under your former agency’s butt to be “helpful” in at the very least getting the AP to take the info down. I wonder if her current family know what she is up to… I certainly would rematch if I found out that my AP were unstable enough to stalk and harass a former HF.

NJmama April 7, 2014 at 6:25 pm

Momma Gadget – you are right on all counts!

Here’s the thing. While I suspected that the ex AP was reaching out to my new APs – you could see this change in their attitudes, and the complaints about my child “hurting their feelings” would start – I couldn’t prove it until the au pair before my current au pair fessed up. At this point we were going into rematch – the 4th since the slanderer, in about 6 mos. yes I was furious.

The agency– Au Pair Care– took it’s lame “We can’t control what goes on FB stance,” which made me that much angrier. But.. Like you said while the law is more on my side than people think, it’s gray. And more importantly, I was so focused on patching together childcare yet again, and finding a replacement, and working, and taking care of the kids – I decided to just try to get past it. I was quickly running out of vacation time and even down time in general. And when we finally got our current au pair she was so much more mature and I knew quickly it would be a non-factor, and that slanderer AP’s year would soon be up, and she’d be going home and I wouldn’t have to think about her ever again. I also decided if I reached out to her and asked her to stop it would only rile her up. Clearly she was vindictive and immature – a lethal combo.

It was only a few months ago – maybe 7 mos after slanderer AP’s year was up – that I became aware of her vile post. I hit the roof, wrote to the agency, my congressman and Senator and to FB. I also reached out to my wonderful former au pairs, and together w my current ap they were able to find the site, gain access and remove the info. I don’t care what people think of me but she made my kid out to be a monster and posted personal details. That’s cyber bullying for sure.

Once it was removed I still pressed the agency to take action. They said that bc the slanderer was no longer in the program there was not a thing they could do (btw, I have a strong feeling if she was still in the program they again would have said they have no proof that she posted it bc while certain details pointed to her the post was anonymous). I asked if the agency could either ask FB to take the site down and/or ask their employees to click on the link and report it as an abusive site. They said that would be “inappropriate.” I asked could they please alert host families in their newsletter and they said they were working on their social media policy and bla bla bla. I asked if they could reach out to the state department – again, isn’t the voice of an agency more powerful than a lone host mom? And the response sounded something like the way adults speak on Charlie Brown cartoons – wa wa wa wa wa wa.

You know I think host families are among the busiest of working families. I love to fight the good fight but I was just worn out. But families need to know, if they had a bad experience with an au pair, the AP can anonymously post private details about your family and kids w all the lies they want to write, and bc these are closed groups – closed to us, but open to au pairs – anyone can post what they want and you’d have no idea unless another au pair sees it, recognizes that it sounds like the family of an au pair friend of hers and let’s you know (in my case it was literally a friend of a friend in another country. That’s how powerful it is).

5kids=aupair April 8, 2014 at 9:42 am

I have had re-match APs track down our new APs and feed them a load of garbage, too. It has happened more than once and in 2 instances, our rematch APs stayed in the cluster! I like the idea of a policy against FB/social media posting.

NJmama April 8, 2014 at 10:14 am

Yes it’s awful! While my rematch au pairs didn’t stay in our cluster there was a friend of one that met w my current AP in her first week and went on about how terrible we were. Thankfully this one just said – that hasn’t been my experience. After that the friend of the rematch ap was always v cold toward my AP.

It’s awful

A's Mama April 8, 2014 at 10:11 am

Posting names and DOBs of minors might be a violation of FB’d terms of use. Have you tried to get FB to take her posts down?

NJmama April 8, 2014 at 10:19 am

To take a post down you have to be able to send FB a link to the post. You can’t do that if it’s a closed group and there was no mechanism for me to send a screen shot.

You can report the whole group, which I did. But FB wrote back to say something like my request was insufficient. I think it’s bc while I could point out that my kids were being named and slandered no one else could bc families can’t get on the site. That’s why I thought if the agency also asked it would carry more weight. I’m on a late commute but I will find the link and post it and then people can follow the link to report abuse if they want. If enough people do it they’d take it down.

TexasHM April 6, 2014 at 9:06 am

NJmama, we have only had APs during the “worst” times – Feb, Jan and Dec to be exact and we got 3 great women, two extended and one we will find out in a few months but she’s already brought it up. I think there are great matches any time of year and remember that you only need one. I think it makes a bigger difference when you are in the rematch pool but even then I am seeing success in the off months as well. We came from a very large agency with a very big quantity and had a really hard time finding good candidates any time of year. We switched to interexchange (smaller than the big 2) and looked at a really bad time of year and found two of the most amazing profiles immediately so I don’t buy into the quantity argument.

I would take less candidates that are better screened and more qualified any day of the year. Me personally in this situation I would keep the current oh pair as long as she wants to stay and you can start interviewing as early as you want. Especially in your location I have no doubt you will be able to find a great candidate that would be willing to wait an extra few months to come. We have the opposite problem when it comes to location because au pairs know very little about Texas and many think that we ride horses to work!

I would look for specific cues that they want your family and not the location. Like I would ask them why they think you will be a good match for them and listen closely. If they give specifics you are probably fine if they are very generic then I would dig deeper. Good luck!

NJmama April 6, 2014 at 11:55 am

TexasHM – you give the best advice! After reading what you wrote about Interchange I just signed up with them (am currently w APC). And just as you said I have been very impressed with the transparency and with how much info they give you.
I think you are right about sticking with our current au pair for as long as possible. It will be a little tricky bc she won’t be living with us any more – and free to pick up other babysitting jobs during the day, so it may get tough if the kids get sick. But she will be living close by and I know she is there for us for when we need.
Thanks again!

TexasHM April 6, 2014 at 1:51 pm

NJ Mama – ping me at, I’d love to give you some quick tips for navigating Passport since I just went through all this a couple months ago. So glad that helped!

5kids=aupair April 6, 2014 at 9:49 am


Does anyone have any overlapping au pair tips for us? I’ve only done it twice and it was a long time ago. I typically don’t like to overlap my APs, like them to have their time and not be jealous of each other. Some behaviors I let an AP slide with but don’t want to let the new one slide on and having old AP train new AP might mess that up. My LCC is very pro having the old train the new, take her to school to register, get a bank account, acclimate her, introduce her to friends, etc. We are going to overlap for about 10-11 days. The first weekend we’re all going to our cottage for Memorial day weekend. The second weekend, we have a family party where old AP is my DDs confirmation sponsor. That same day new AP will be going on a big amusement park field trip w/2 clusters. So that will allow old AP her time w/us to say goodbye and be the only focus. It’s the middle week, I’m not sure how to handle. Tips??

HRHM April 6, 2014 at 2:30 pm

Obviously, you have ALOT going on that 11 days. I don’t agree with your LCC about having the two interact for all those “firsts” for new AP. From listening to my APs friends, the ones who overlapped hated the old AP and couldn’t wait for her to disappear. They felt like old AP was in the way and preventing the kids from moving on. (also how do you plan on handling car, cell phone, room etc?) I would plan on MAYBE having them “work together” for 2 days and then ask old AP to find something else to do with her days so that new AP has a chance to find her own groove.

Peachtree Mom April 6, 2014 at 1:15 pm

Real quick for Texas HM: Wow, I have been reading yours and other’s reviews of Interexchange and I applied with their program. I also started to review a few dossiers. Are we allowed to look at the two agencies at a time to find a great match. Do the agencies feel slighted when that happens? I love our LCC with Euraupair and two great matches and one rematch in 3.5 years but heard so many fabulous things about Interexchange I could not help but look. I am setting up our in house interview with the LCC with Interexchange now. Is there some sort of au pair agency etiquette that I should know about? :)

Should be working April 6, 2014 at 2:41 pm

I am curious about what “better screening” means. Does Interexchange reject candidates that the Big Three would not reject? Does some human being say at an in-country interview, “This girl doesn’t have her heart in it, we won’t take her”? Or do their candidates have more hours than the Big Three’s candidates?

TexasHM April 6, 2014 at 3:26 pm

It was very clear to me in looking at their profiles vs the Biggies (yes, I have read profiles in all of them, was with one for 3+ years, offered an LC position with another and have a close friend 7 years into the third) that the interview questions are more relative and do a much better job of expectation setting. For example, in the Interexchange interview form they asked the candidates “if you watched school age children what do you think your schedule and responsibilities would be?” Next question – “if you had very young children, what do you think your schedule and responsibilities would be?”

Might seem trivial but this tells me A LOT. Tells me what their expectations are, how far off we are from those expectations, how much they have researched the program, sometimes I can tell which schedule they prefer and these types of questions make me feel like I can hear their actual voice vs the canned answers I got off the big agency questions. They also ask several of my first round questions like “how does your family feel about you joining the AP program” and “how would you handle homesickness”. I find these much more useful than “AP had a neat appearance and seems very excited and I think she is a great candidate for the AP program.” BLAH.

Also, I know first hand that Interexchange tracks and has tight relationships with the agencies in the home countries and that burnout APs get sent home and the agency is counseled to prevent it from happening in the future. If an agency gets multiple strikes Interexchange stops taking their candidates. I don’t know any other agency that I have actually seen do this.

The AP contract is about 4 times longer than the one they sign at the large agency we left and makes VERY clear that this is employment first and foremost. There is no sugar coating. In reading it I actually kind of wished they made it sound a little more fun because I thought they might be a little too professional! LOL

Lastly, its a non-profit so they have no interest in passing around “problem” APs or families. They also have a platinum record with the state dept. They focus on effective screening (on both sides – I found the application and interview much harder for us as well) and expectation setting.

Does that make it bullet proof? No. But I promise it would be very difficult for an Interexchange AP to say she thought it was going to be a vacation after reading all their docs and looking at their interview questions. Everything is reiterated in orientation and the conversations between my big agencies ex-APs and current AP are really interesting. Current AP can’t believe how its marketed and how poorly APs are screened and previous APs don’t know that they would have made the cut with Interexchange! LOL

TexasHM April 6, 2014 at 3:33 pm

To answer your actual question (I am such a rambler!) no, I don’t think its a question of # of hours at all. Our current AMAZING AP had less than 500 hours and our first mediocre AP had 5000 so that doesn’t sell me. I can’t testify first hand that Interexchange turns down more candidates but I can tell you that I know for a fact at our large ex-agency there were several cases where the girls failed psych tests and were allowed to retake them (with coaching of course) and english tests (last answer is B). I asked our current AP if there were APs in her orientation that couldn’t speak English very well and she looked at me SHOCKED that it would be a possibility vs our first AP that showed up and couldn’t get a word out and we typed on an iPad with google translate for the first two weeks solid. Second AP from same big agency told me about 20% of the APs in her orientation couldn’t speak enough English to answer simple questions or have a conversation. Our current Interexchange AP thought they were kidding and couldn’t believe that was true. I think that has to tell me something about their screening process.

NJmama April 6, 2014 at 4:40 pm

You hit the nail on the head – my first amazing au pair had tons of babysitting hours, and that became the first thing I looked for. But then the girl we got at the start of our dreadful rematch year had 2-3000 hours on paper, but when she came it was so clear that was not the case. She was so nervous to be left alone with my kids – and my kids were not babies. She forgot EVERYTHING – even making a very detailed weekly schedule AND leaving reminders each morning didn’t always help – I literally had to remember to text her from work at certain times in the mornings and afternoons to remind her, and of course if I was in a meeting that didn’t happen.

I feel strongly that some of the agencies don’t even verify easy things like – did this au pair work for family X for eight hours a week for two years? Or was it 8 hours total over two weeks two years ago? And my current au pair told me that a lot of girls do lie on their applications because they want to match faster.

I’m keeping with my current agency for now to keep my options open and frankly if they had not recently transferred my area director I would have stayed with him bc the area director was that good. I am looking forward to going through the match process with interexchange but so far I like what I see.

Midwest Aupair April 7, 2014 at 12:02 am

Unfortunately this is true.. Many lie about their experiences, thats why I would ALWAYS call the refferences!! I know it isn’t always possible. About the english, I couldnt speak english at all…maybe 3 words. My agency said it wasn’t a problem, I should just memorize answers and questions that i could ask on the phone. I told my HF that I could not speak english, but that i will be taking some classes prior to the arival. It helped a little bit, but the language was hard for me at first. We worked out great! Stayed 2 years with them. But yes, lots of Aupairs lie..

Host Mom in the City April 7, 2014 at 8:29 am

We turned a seemingly wonderful candidate down because she couldn’t give me any references that could speak English other than a friend of hers from high school. I felt really badly about it, because maybe nobody did speak English, but we always check references. I even asked her if there was someone professional that she could sit with and translate for on Skype, but she said no.

Peachtree Mom April 6, 2014 at 1:22 pm

I would say set clear guidelines for both au pairs. We overlapped and it was a disaster. Our old au pair who was fabulous, wanted to extend beyond her two years suddenly became a bit snippy and smiling when the new au pair continued to oversleep. I had two au pairs here and no one would play with my daughter or give her a bath. I had not set many guidelines thinking it would work itself out. It didn’t and I had a meltdown.

Our outgoing au pair left and the new one went into rematch 4 weeks later. I am going to overlap again with our now great au pair but have clear guidelines.

My husband is leaving for an extended period of time for work and I need our out going au pair to get our new one to driving school for the first few weeks. Everyone goes to driving school when they hit our door (another learned lesson) and the school is several miles away and about a month long.

TexasHM April 6, 2014 at 2:10 pm

We did overlap this last round but you do have to manage it tightly, set expectations and I wouldn’t do it for an extended period of time. Our current AP got here on a Monday night, was trained by our previous Tues-Fri and then previous AP left on the following Tuesday. I honestly felt like those 8 days were too long.

I have several host mom friends that swear by a 5 day rule and I can see why. Assuming your new AP is a fast learner and can drive, she will likely have everything figured out in 3-4 days and then the 5th day is extra confirmation, beyond that the old AP is twiddling thumbs and ready to go and the new AP is doing the job with a shadow loitering around.

We had zero issues, but our old AP was clearly ready to get home and tucked herself away because she didn’t want to slow the kids bonding with new AP and us and she didn’t feel she had anything to do (she was no longer working) so she was just biding time. If you had a lot for her to do the second week you could try but for us its better to train quickly and rip the bandaid off.

If I had to do it over, I would do it exactly the same (I also made a training plan with old AP so she knew what to train each day and what to watch for) but I would have had the cutoff be that Saturday or Sunday rather than bleeding into the following work week if possible. Some of it depends on the agency because they book the flights but I would push to try to get within a day or so your desired cutoff date. Also, our APs really hit it off big time which was great but even in that scenario it made our old AP a little sad/jealous to see the kids bond with the new.

I think its natural and our old AP handled it great and didn’t act on it but I could see it in her eyes so you might need to do some reassuring (we remind them that no one will ever replace the time they spent with them, things they taught them, remind them of some of the special memories made, etc) the longer they are there, the more volatile the emotions will likely become.

Skny April 6, 2014 at 6:46 pm

New question:
We have our awesome favorite former Au pair back to help for a few months (until a few weeks after baby is born).
She is leaving the same date we are going to my home country (hers too) on vacation. We are loving having her here again.
Since she first came to our home we have met (by facebook) her family and we were invited to spend a week in her home (in a different area of the country known by its wonderful beaches, sceneries, etc). The invitation made by her mother seems genuine.
I am actually considering it. Wondering if it would be abusive to actually accept it.

hOstCDmom April 6, 2014 at 7:03 pm

I think if it is a sincere invitation, it would actually be a compliment to accept it. You have provided a home to her daughter for year(s)? She probably would like to extend the hospitality to you. And because you are fellow countrywomen, you will not have language issues that often make such visits a lot of “work”.

So I say, not abusive at all. If you feel that you might be imposing bc there are a lot of you (I recall you will have a 17yo daughter, 2 and 4 yos, and a baby, right?) or because you need to spend more time with your own family, then I would suggest going for 4 days or something rather than the full week. But I’m not saying the week IS imposing, just offering an alternative.

Good luck with the baby!

hOstCDmom April 6, 2014 at 7:05 pm

(a compliment to the APs mother I mean!)

skny April 6, 2014 at 10:04 pm

yes. 17yo is staying with husband due to school
I am traveling alone with 4yo, 2yo and NB. We are spending 5 weeks total in my home country (using my maternity leave). Reason why we did not want to get a new au pair before. So new au pair starts 1 week after I am back in the country (2 before maternity leave is over)

skny April 6, 2014 at 10:07 pm

she lives 3hs away by plane from my parents home (where we will be based). As I said she lives in a very different area of the country, with exotic beaches, great weather, etc. Would be like going from NY to Hawaii or California,
I have actually never been to that part of the country myself (reason why I am tempted now)

WestMom April 6, 2014 at 7:08 pm

Not sure which country she is from, but parents from past APs have invited us to stay with them and the offers seemed very genuine each time. I have never taken them up on it, because it’s just a bit too close for comfort for me. I would perhaps consider staying a night or two, but I would definitely not feel comfortable staying there for longer than that. Cultural difference I guess.

Should be working April 6, 2014 at 7:45 pm

One former beloved AP, when we are on our annual trip to her country (to visit DH’s relatives), comes to where we are and snatches the kids away and takes them to her house for a few days. We love this. Her family wants us parents to come too, but it is more fun to have it as time without the kids.

TexasHM April 6, 2014 at 11:29 pm

Did her family ever visit you? I don’t think if someone offers it is abusive, I think it’s great! If you haven’t met them and this is a beloved AP hopefully the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and it could be great, maybe leave your end date open so if you start to feel like you’re imposing you can cut back to your parents early?

Host Mom in the City April 7, 2014 at 8:36 am

I have a question – has anyone found a pattern of any kind to which au pairs extend? We’re back and forth on whether we want to find another au pair after our third leaves in mid-September. I have a lot of hesitations, but one of them is this starting fresh every year thing. I would be thrilled if I could find someone that wanted to stay two years and I would definitely be happy to make it worth their while by paying more, paying for extra classes, whatever. We’ve had two Germans and a Polish au pair now and all three have definitely seen this as a gap year and had something to go back for (two had jobs, one for University). I have heard that very few Germans stay for more than a year, and the ones that do stay to continue not to have responsibilities, but I don’t know if this is true.

Obviously, this is the holy grail of the au pair program – but any tips on what I might want to look for if I would ideally want someone that wants the opportunity to stay in the US for two years and wants to take more than those stupid weekend classes and actually learn something for her credits? We have a very flexible and split schedule and tons of colleges and universities nearby, so I think we would be perfect for someone more studious and less here to have a party year before starting adult life. I’m wondering if maybe just getting a live-in student nanny might be more what we’re looking for at this point rather than the au pair program. Any suggestions?

Momma Gadget April 7, 2014 at 1:32 pm

For extending APs I think maybe country of origin can be a factor (?). Of our APs, and their friends the percentage of APs who made it through the program and extended were – 75% South Africans , 50% Spaniards, 75% Brazilians/Southamericans, 75% Hungarians and other Eastern Europeans. The 1 AP from Belgium we’d ever heard of extended. Any Chinese APs who made it through extended (several were sent home).
None of the German APs extended.

exaupair April 7, 2014 at 1:44 pm

To all HPs with au pairs who extended – does their extention mean they are willing to remain in US? 75% of extending au pairs come from countries where it’s quite hard to get the US Visa, I do too. Right now I’m dual citizen (not US citizen though) but when I only had my home country passport I’ve applied for US tourist visa twice and got a negative twice. The embassy never gives closure to your application but I’m sure it was because overall “return rate” from some countries, including mine, is rather low.
Sorry if similar question was already posted somewhere else.

Momma Gadget April 7, 2014 at 3:14 pm

exap- au pairs who have successful completed their year have the option of extending 6,9 or 12 months in the US legally. After that they must go home, unless they get another kind of visa, or get married.

Host Mom in the City April 7, 2014 at 1:51 pm

Thanks Momma Gadget – I had suspected that Germans weren’t going to extend (can’t think of a single one that has, although I’m sure it happens occasionally). Has anyone put in their letter specifically that they were looking for someone who might be interested in staying more than a year? Or had that conversation during matching? Obviously no one wants to promise anything, but I’d like to at least screen for that option.

TexasHM April 7, 2014 at 2:01 pm

So we did this/do this. At first I thought I wanted 2 years because we had an infant and 2 year old. We told the candidates we aren’t promising anything but want to know if you have/would consider a second year if things went well? Both brazilians we were interviewing said yes. We matched, she extended (but looking back we probably should have thought harder) and then we finished a little early because she got engaged and things fell off.

Second AP I asked in interviewing just because I find some APs already seem to know plus if they have school or something queued up where it would never be an option to extend that would be nice to know upfront. We haven’t eliminated anyone for saying no but by chance the APs we matched with were open.

AP#2 extended (Brazil again) but then got massively homesick and family emergency made her total term with us 14 mos. Got rematch AP#3, she was 3 months into her year and has already told counselor and us she wants to extend in some capacity (at least for now) and she is French.

I think it totally depends on so many factors that its hard to screen which is why we don’t rule anyone out based on this. We haven’t had any Germans in our cluster (apparently they all must be with you in NY or CA :) so I can’t say on them but eastern european did anything to extend and then switched to student to stay longer and I do think there is a correlation with countries with hard to get visas.

Makes sense if you think about it. Harder it is to get a visa often means there are too many visa holders staying over. I also think there are other factors like their friends (watching an AP right now extend to match her best buddy – don’t get me started) and what they are trying to accomplish.

I think our issue with AP#2 was she didn’t have goals for year 2. I think if they are studying to take the TOEFL, get an associates degree or even just visit X cities and they have a defined goal it is much more likely. After our last round our APs are going to have to convince me that they have a reason to stay a second year.

TexasHM April 7, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Also should mention when AP#2 got homesick AP#1 told me I shouldn’t have “made her commit to staying two years upfront” and that I “shouldn’t ask the APs about it when interviewing”. First of all, with second AP we changed course (because WE didn’t want to commit to a second year after AP#1) so I still asked about it but made sure it was clear we were giving no commitment or preference, just asking what her plans were. I asked AP#2 if she felt pressured she said absolutely not and it was her pushing me to extend year 2. Current AP we asked in rematch but again, made it clear we weren’t committing just curious and that we would have to discuss – which we have and continue to until the time comes to make that decision. :)

Momma Gadget April 7, 2014 at 3:33 pm

We have a no commitments conversation about extension at the beginning too. When they start, I mention it again, that although its too soon to figure out if either of us want to commit to extending, they need to make sure their education requirements are met by X date (btw-interexchange lists all the deadline dates on their site) if they even want the option of extending with anyone come the end of their term.

I remember when our first Bropair said he wanted to extend I did a happy dance, and then stopped to make sure he meant with us.:-)

Should be working April 7, 2014 at 2:11 pm

Our German AP begged to extend, and then 4 months into her second year she wanted to leave, and did.

Should be working April 7, 2014 at 2:13 pm

I think it puts a lot of pressure on the match to discuss extension during matching. I would instead ask, “What do you plan to do after your AP year?” and “How firm are those plans?”

So much can happen in the first AP year, and an HF might also realize this AP isn’t worth 2 yrs. I wouldn’t bring it up, myself.

Host Mom in the City April 7, 2014 at 2:32 pm

Good points, all – thanks! Maybe not such a good idea to bring it up during matching. That said, I have always heard that anyone extending needs to have a PLAN and not just “this is so fun, let’s keep it going!!”

HRHM April 7, 2014 at 2:57 pm

I had Au Pairs from the former Yuoslavian countries (Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia) and also Czech who were very interested in staying. One got sent home for cause. One stayed and extended with another family, then student visa, still here. Another extended with another family, got married and is now an LCC (BTW – our worst AP ever!) I think countries with lousy economies are better shot at finding someone interested in staying. But, honestly, I’ve never actually had an AP I’d want to keep for the 2nd year. They all seem to peter out around the 6 month mark and then I spend the remainder of the year either pulling my hair out (old method) or micro-managing (new method). I’m happy for the fresh start in July. I get the work and frustration of a new AP but I feel like nothing beats the enthusiasm and energy level of those first few months.

TexasHM April 7, 2014 at 3:01 pm

I bring it up because every AP I have ever talked to had already thought about it. So if they already know what they think, why not ask? Yes of course you don’t commit, ours is hidden in our questions list. I will have to look but its something like “Do you plan to stay 1 year or 2? If two, would you try a different part of the country or stay in the same family?”

Every AP has answered this and many had concrete plans after 1 year. The ones that were thinking 2 years said things like “I would like to stay as long as possible because I want to study for and take the TOEFL and if things are good I would prefer to stay in the same family rather than trying to find another match” or “I have thought about extending for 6 or 9 months in the right situation because then I could do X and be back for the new school year”.

Just like you don’t want to commit to two years they also don’t want to commit so as long as its framed as a question about the program and their thoughts on it I think you are safe and it hasn’t been an issue for us. Plus, I love that its out there upfront so theres no wondering. Yes, things can change and we always have an extension conversation but I also know going into it 1 – if extension is even an option, 2 – if they would want to stay in one place or go to another family and 3 – why they were thinking about doing it or not doing it in the first place.

I watch fellow HMs wonder and guess and tiptoe around and I would go crazy. I also watch APs get worried, hurt feelings, not extend for dumb reasons (Im not SURE they really want me to stay), extend to match up with friends, you name it. I tend to know at any time of year what my AP is thinking on this because we chat about it casually and regularly. She tells me what the other APs are doing or thinking on their extensions (or lack thereof), I ask her what she thinks about that (they are nuts) and we chat about things like well IF you stayed 6 months that would mean you would be back home in summer but if you stay 12 then our schedule would change drastically, etc.

I also ask things like “is it better for your career if you return at a certain time of year” and “have you made a list of places to see/things to do? if so, how long do you think it would take you to do all those things” (5yrs ;) Its a discussion, no commitment either way.

WestMom April 8, 2014 at 8:16 am

We must be the anomaly. I specifically mention that we are looking for someone for one year only. I start with the idea that we do not extend. As HRHM experienced, the interest and motivation starts to wane towards the end of the first year, and I think fresh enthusiasm is worth the hassle of a new search/interview/match each year.

Culturally speaking, I have seen many French girls extend. We personally screen for girls with clear life objectives after their year abroad, and I think most are excited to go back to pursue their schooling/careers (one extended with another family). We do keep the option open though. Our upcoming AP asked us why we don’t extend, and I mention that I would be happy to extend, if the AP has compelling reasons to do so: take a special class, continue her travels, or perfect a skill which could only be learned here. But from experience, girls want to extend because a) they have a super easy gig/awesome benefits, 2) they want to continue to party with their friends, or 3) they have no plans for their future, or not ready to face adulthood…

WestMom April 8, 2014 at 8:19 am

I should also add that our APs are all above 21. It might make more sense for a 19-20yr old to stay two years. I don’t really see why a 25-26yr old would want to stay this long.
Oh, and I forgot the 4th reason to stay: BOYFRIEND!

Host Mom in the City April 8, 2014 at 8:45 am

WestMom – I totally agree that anyone I’ve ever known to extend does so because of a boyfriend or because they have no specific plans after they go back home and they’re having such a fun time here. Neither are reasons I would extend with someone. I guess I was hoping to figure out a way to find someone that wanted to stay here because of the opportunity – to take classes maybe. For a great au pair who was staying two years, I’d happily give her the extra money I’d save on the agency fee and more for course work. I think I’m getting the feeling that might be too lofty a goal though :)

TexasHM April 8, 2014 at 9:51 am

Our APs have extended and neither had those reasons (awesome gig – def not, partier – no, no future plans/not ready – not true and no boyfriends to motivate them to stay. Our first AP really wanted to improve her English and hoped to pass the TOEFL (if you do its a huge pay upgrade in Brazil) and she came hardly being able to say a word in English, we finished at 22.5 mos because she met and married an American. Second one had very specific travel goals and needed a high english level to apply for her career (international flight attendant) but got really homesick over the holidays and then had family emergency so left at 14 mos. Current AP also needs high English level for career so she is going to study for the TOEFL and she has a very specific list of places she wants to see/things to do that I don’t see how she can do in the next 7 months so she has already mentioned potentially at least a 6 month extension. None of these three lack ambition, all had careers and definitely didn’t have an easy gig with awesome perks as you all know I am frugal. :) Maybe thats why we have had good luck with extensions, because we look for APs that have very specific goals for coming to the US and that have real world work experience. I figured our current AP would be one year because as a nurse, you need to practice and taking 2 years off is tricky but the TOEFL is important to her and I am going to try and see if she can volunteer at a local clinic or something to keep her skills sharp until she returns. ;)

NNTexasHM April 8, 2014 at 2:47 pm

Should be working – that’s a great way to have the conversation. I have always struggled with it until I finally came to the suspicion that I don’t necessarily want an Au Pair to extend because I sort of enjoy the prospect of someone new. But your method would certainly be the way I’d approach it in the future (and I think the question could reveal a lot on it’s own).

NNTexasHM April 8, 2014 at 2:48 pm

Should be working – that’s a great way to have the conversation.

I always struggled with asking about extension because I thought it put too much pressure on both parties. I also finally came to the suspicion that I don’t necessarily want an Au Pair to extend because I enjoy the prospect of someone new.

But your method would certainly be the way I’d approach possible extension in the future (and I think the answer reveals a lot about their personality – is the Au Pair focused, do they have a plan, are they just drifting through life, etc.).

skny April 7, 2014 at 6:23 pm

I will tell you more Brazilians and south americans extend vs europeans

AussiePair April 7, 2014 at 7:59 pm

I know three German au pairs who have all extended for an extra year, but perhaps that’s the pull of the DC area?

I think it’s fine to ask about future plans/what the au pair plans to do when the year is up during matching, just make the question casual and don’t make it seem like you’re asking if they’ll stay longer with you. When I was matching and got asked if I would extend my response was that I would have to see how the year would go, but probably not as I had a job waiting back home. 5 months in and going into rematch I would have said almost definitely not, after 3 months with an amazing family I knew I would be extending for 9 months (gets me home in time for Christmas) with hopefully that amazing family or if they were posted in another location (which did happen), I would try to match somewhere on the west coast (funnily enough I only managed to make it to Kentucky, but matched for the right family rather than location).

As a side note, every Australian in my training school intake(5 of us) extended for some amount of time. In my experience the Australians that do extend are older as most of the 18/19 year olds are taking a gap year and will return home in time to accept their university placements.

TexasHM April 8, 2014 at 9:57 am

Oh and we are in Texas so while I guess its possible that the pull of DC keeps APs there a second year (vs rural America) I don’t know that I think it makes a difference vs other cities as long as you are close to certain amenities (med-large city, sizable airport, drivable to other cities or locations of interest, etc). Our APs can’t believe how cheap the flights are from here and how many options there are vs their friends on the E/W coast. I am sure that probably helps us. Lower cost of living plus cheap flights = more travel for our APs? At first I thought we really wanted APs to extend but now I am more neutral. We have had great experiences, no extension issues so if we have a great AP that has plans I would have a hard time telling her no but also, if she wanted to go at a year I would be thankful for the awesome year and be excited to meet the next family member. :)

Should be working April 7, 2014 at 11:17 am

A propos of nothing in this thread: book recommendation for parents (and APs) of teens: “I’d listen to my parents if they’d just shut up,” it’s sooo helpful!

Momma Gadget April 7, 2014 at 12:33 pm

SBW- I am so glad you found this book helpful! It literally saved my relationship with my son ( and kept him out of military boarding school).
“Getting to Calm” & ” Yes, Your Teen Is Crazy” were helpful/interesting teen books too.

Should be working April 7, 2014 at 1:22 pm

I bought the companion to “Yes, Your Teen is Crazy,” called something like “What to do when things get crazy”, it has entirely concrete scripts and recipes for how to react in particular situations. I like it a lot! But “I’d listen to my parents” is written in a less corny fashion and is somehow more useful to me. Still, these are GREAT books and much more “implementable” than “How to talk”. Wow on the story of how it kept him out of military boarding school!!! I’d love to hear more but it is I guess rather off-topic.

emileeAPtoBe April 7, 2014 at 11:53 am

Hello to all host mums and au pairs here, this site is wonderful and really informative. I don’t know if this is actually the right place to submit my question but I will do it because I’d really like to hear your suggestions.

I had a long Skype interview with a potential host family which went extremely well, I felt that we matched 100%. Mum followed up emailing me and we’ll have another Skype talk soon. Although the overall atmosphere is very positive, I don’t exactly know if they seriously consider me for the “position” and in the meantime, I get a lot of applications from other families who are interested in me and I don’t know what to tell them. Should I leave them in a “waiting list” (I don’t like this)… or should I proceed with an interview with every family that sends applications to me anyway?
I’d like to hear your comments.

Host Mom in the City April 7, 2014 at 1:27 pm

Hi Emilee – congrats on getting so much interest! If I were you, I would suggest interviewing with anyone you feel might be a good fit. At some point, you’ll feel like it’s too much, but there’s no reason you shouldn’t be talking to at least a few families. Take your time and really have lots of good discussions with them. You’ll get a clear idea of who might be a good fit versus who doesn’t seem like a good fit. The best scenario would be having at least a couple of families who sound perfect, and you’ll get to choose! If any family is rushing you, they may just be really excited about you or they may not be the right family for you.

I know that we will be interviewing 10-20 au pairs at a time. After the first interview, I usually narrow it down and there ends up being 3-4 that I would actually choose. I do further interviews and then finally make a selection. I’m always upfront that I interview extensively so that no one thinks they’re set and starts ignoring other families. I always feel better when au pairs are interviewing around too because it means they’re choosing our family because they want to, not because they have no other choices.

Good luck!

HRHM April 8, 2014 at 7:53 am

HMiC hits the nail on the head. Talk to as many families as you can. This is your chance to find a great match, not just a passable one. Think about what you want in a schedule: Do you want to work 9 hours straight M-F? Choose a family with toddlers at home all day. Do you want to have free time during the day? Look at families with kids in school. Do you want to be heavily involved in the “family” aspect or more like an employee? The first family should expect that you would compare all situations. I know I’m happier when I match with an AP who has seen multiple families and I always interview multiple APs

emileeAPtoBe April 8, 2014 at 4:42 pm

Thank you so much for your replies! I had a feeling that what I was doing wasn’t the best but I didn’t want to dissapoint a family that was, perhaps, counting on me. So from now on I’ll follow your advice and will be talking to every family that seems interesting.

exaupair April 7, 2014 at 1:26 pm

I have a question, would it be possible to add ‘edit” button next to “submit” button?
When I type fast I make mistakes, which I usually see after my comment has already been posted.

cv harquail April 7, 2014 at 6:27 pm

I haven’t figured out how to do that yet… The only tools that I’ve found that make editing (and some other fun stuff) possible are commenting systems that tie into Facebook or other social sites… and we can’t use these because they would display people’s real names. Which most host moms would prefer to keep anonymous. But it’s on my wish list when I hire a designer…. someday :-) cv

NNTexasHM April 8, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Ha! Exaupair I was just thinking the same thing :-)

Repeataupair April 8, 2014 at 11:35 am

First, thank you to those who answered me in the topic 2 weeks ago, i did not get a chance to reply in time.

Now, a new question ^^
My host kids love playdates and I try my best to give them as many as possible. The thing is with some I am the one taking care of the kid. One that we have a playdate everyweek if this is a their house, I am going too although I don’t have to work much but if it is here I have the kid by myself. Another kid comes to eat here every Tuesday and started to stay longer and now it is kind of every week for 2 hours. This week I said I’d rather him to leave after lunch and my host mom said to my host kid I must have planned something special for her.

Is it okay for me to refuse ? I mean, the kids are generally well behaved, they play pretty good with my host kid but sometimes I just don’t feel like watching another kid. (And so you have an idea, just for this host kid, yesterday I had organized a playdate although it got cancelled, today she had two, including the shortened one, wednesday one, Thursday two). Some are with other au pairs, so yes I get to chat a little and so but sometimes I just would love to go to the park just with my host kid or an a walk the two of us.

It made me feel bad about my decision but at the same time I am not the au pair of those kids, I don’t think I have to watch them.

NJmama April 8, 2014 at 11:51 am

Definitely talk to your host mom about this. You can tell her that the playdates are starting to get to be a lot and that you want some time to just play with your host child. I’m a pretty blunt person so I would also say that some of the regular play dates are starting to feel more like an additional babysitting job for you and suggest that maybe you could alternate houses with the other family so it doesn’t feel that way anymore. I don’t know if you would feel comfortable saying that but from what you wrote it sounds like that is the case.

I tell my au pairs to clear all play dates with me first for the sole reason that I don’t want people just dumping off their kids for free babysitting (It was amazing to me how many people tried to do that when I first got an au pair). Also as my kids got older they didn’t always want playdates. Sometimes they got tired of playing with the kids, and sometimes they just wanted their own downtime. So this way I can check with the kids and the au pair before we agree. I also tell all the friends of my kids to please contact me first. Some people still don’t do that but most will. And for the ones that don’t my au pairs just refer them to me, and then we discuss it first.

I have also had au pairs offer to help out other families but I really hate it when families take advantage of au pairs that way.

exaupair April 8, 2014 at 1:32 pm

If the AP feels that the amount of play dates slowly turns into a habit of using her as free childcare, maybe she could start charging for it? No idea if this is even within the rules in the US as the AP is assigned to only one family?!?just something I’ve experienced with my host child and his friend. The friends Mum said that whenever I take them both for a walk or to the park to play she should pay me X amount per hr, so that she can be sure that her sons health and safety would have been the priority too.

Host Mom in the City April 8, 2014 at 2:00 pm

This is a tricky situation and one I’m struggling with as my kids get older. No, you legally cannot earn additional money from anything, including babysitting other kids, as an au pair in the US. It actually says in our agency contract that the au pair cannot be left in charge of other children during the year either. Essentially, what this means though is that there can be no playdates unless the other au pair or parent stays there the entire time.

In reality, though, this doesn’t seem feasible. And in fact, my au pair will frequently arrange playdates herself, both with other au pairs and with friends of my kids. She says it actually makes her job easier generally because the kids all occupy themselves (though I completely understand how some playdates end up feeling like double the work – I’ve had those kids over for playdates too!). Especially during the summer, playdates kind of come with the territory of watching kids. I can’t imagine caring for children nine hours a day Monday to Friday and never incorporating other children.

But of course, on the flip side, I can see parents taking advantage of “free babysitting” and not thinking a thing of dropping their kids off at our house with our au pair, which is abhorrent to me. I have also experienced an au pair who would routinely set up playdates at other people’s houses, drop my kids off, and then basically not have to work for hours every day – she was doing it because it was easier for her, not because my kids liked it.

I have also experienced an au pair who was making playdates with her au pair friends that again, weren’t for my kids, but were because she wanted to hang out with her friends. She would take my then-five-year-old over to her friend’s house who had a nine and ten year old under the guise of it being a playdate, and then acted like I was saying I wasn’t ok with playdates at all when I tried to explain to her that my kids need to be her focus during her work hours, which meant that playdates need to be for THEIR benefit, not hers.

Anyway, I would be put off by an au pair who refused to do playdates with all kids or who asked to be paid extra for any additional kids that were coming over. Playdates seem to come with the territory, particularly after a certain age. Hopefully, you can find some children who actually make it easier for you because all the kids are occupied rather than feeling like you’re just doing extra free babysitting.

I guide my au pairs that playdates should be about equal – if you go to their house, they should come to our house next – and that if she ever feels taken advantage of, that she should report it to me. In the beginning, I ask my au pairs to let me know about every single playdate she plans, but then I’ve loosened that as I get to know and trust her and where she and the kids are going.

Hope you find a balance that works for you! Definitely something to talk to your host parents about.

caring hp April 8, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Please remember there are a few sides to every story in rematch situations. The agencies sometimes write “a” reason the ap is in rematch but the rematching HF and AP might not know (or agree with) what reason is written in what you, the new potential HF see. Listen to all sides of story, keep an open mind and make informed decision.

Momma Gadget April 8, 2014 at 3:08 pm

You are 100% right! Agencies will always “spin” the reason .

Sometimes a bad match is just that, a bad match.
What is a problem for one HF or AP, may be a plus for another.

spanishaupair April 8, 2014 at 3:19 pm

I 100% agree sometimes a bad match is great for others. I went to rematch because my HF was moving out of country, but we absolutelly agreed after leaving we were a horrible personality match, that doesnt mean they were bad they had great aupairs in past and future; and im almost finishing my second year with this family and had a great experience with another with who after 3 years keep talking and feel they are my second family
People somtimes just dont match

Should be working April 8, 2014 at 3:18 pm

Most agencies don’t let HFs talk to previous HFs when considering a rematch candidate, however (CCAP does allow and give contact info). So then you might only have the agency’s spin and the AP’s spin. Definitely try to get the LCC’s spin in that case, or push to contact the previous HF. Sometimes the previous HF is cuckoo, or just plain unreliable. Then you make the call yourself. Two APs we took out of rematch came from CUCKOO families, and we were so lucky to get them. And having had the experiences they had, they knew they were lucky to get us.

TexasHM April 8, 2014 at 3:40 pm

We got an awesome AP from cuckoo family and I had no desire to talk to them after getting the scoop from the LC there. This same LC had housed my AP for the previous 3 weeks and knew her well. After talking almost two hours I had no doubts and no desire to talk to previous host mom and our AP is fantastic so no regrets. I understand why some want to talk to the previous HF but after seeing what I have seen in the last 4 years I don’t have any desire. I have never seen a call with previous HF be constructive. They either recommend the AP or they don’t and if they do you usually get canned answers often because they just want them gone. Unfortunately, there aren’t many HF like those on this blog that can be impartial and separate emotion and be completely honest. Lots of problems get passed off to the next.

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