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Ultimate Au Pair 2018 Finalist: Jenna from Germany

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Jenna joined our family in early December and our world would be forever changed. While we were new to the idea of welcoming an au pair into our family, we knew that we had to make a change to our current childcare situation and that our newly adopted 15 month old, Charlie, desperately needed and deserved a special 1-on-1 dynamic to help him continue to develop and catch up from everything he'd been through early on.

Having had incredible challenges being able to have children naturally, my husband Brian and I, together almost 20 years, were blessed to adopt Charlie this past year. We both knew this may be the only opportunity Charlie would ever have to experience having a "sibling" in his life - these were high expectations for a new au pair. But, we knew right away that there was a special bond with Jenna. From our first interview, there was an undeniable spark and we were certain she would fit right in - and boy has she! 

At the airport, Charlie, jumped right into her lap (something unique for his current stranger danger phase) and immediately sparked to Jenna - it was like she was the baby whisperer! Soon, we brought her home and she gave him a small stuffed animal - it's as if they're kindred spirits and became fast friends! Recently, Jenna bravely embarked on a long road trip up north to Kansas City over the Christmas break to celebrate the holidays with our family. Charlie and Jenna had the best time in the back seat and she even was able to comfort him when he was scared or tired. Having Jenna with us over the holidays gave us much-needed quality time to bond as a family and have a lot of fun together! Jenna immediately jumped right in from helping with Charlie to helping with dinner any time she can. She established quickly that she wasn't just here to "work" or "do a job" but to truly immerse herself into a unique situation, have an incredible attitude and really embrace the new!

The impact Jenna has made in such a short time is immeasurable. We've seen incredible strides with our child in terms of language development, curiosity of trying new foods, general play and activities, confidence in himself and overall happiness! Charlie has progressed and learned more in the past month than he has in the past 6 months before Jenna joined us. Jenna's internal light shines through in all she does and her happiness is contagious. This is what makes her impact on our family indispensable. The first weekend she arrived in Dallas, she spent hours baking literally hundreds of special German sugar cookies from scratch! She shared them with us and with our neighbors as a gift from her country - and they were delicious! Jenna has also begun teaching our family German and welcomes us each morning with a cheery, "Guten Morgen!" which means, good morning! Charlie is already responding to "Neine" which means "no" and "Danke" which means "thank you", so it's wonderful to see him sparking to a new culture and language so easily! Jenna makes it fun to learn and to explore new things!

Beyond all of this, Jenna has gone above and beyond the typical au pair duties and responsibilities. She's truly become a devoted and loved member of our family and a big sister to Charlie. We weren't expecting this experience to be so incredible so soon, but so far it's been the absolute best decision we've ever made for us and for Charlie. We're truly lucky to be a part of the au pair program and especially honored to have such an amazing young lady, such as Jenna, as part of our family.

 

The Henderson Family

Dallas, Texas

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