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Ultimate Au Pair 2019 Finalist: Alejandra from Colombia

2019 Ultimate Au Pair Finalist: Alejandra from Colombia

From day one Alejandra has been a part of our family. My children do not adjust to new people easily, so I was prepared for a period of transition. What I was not prepared for was for all of my children to run to Alejandra from the moment she entered our home. Our family is transracial, adoptive, and foster, with 3 adopted children and foster children who come and go. I have been impressed with how seamlessly Alejandra has become part of our family. I am so proud of her initiative, her dedication, her communication style, her calm demeanor, her joy of life, and her love of family. My family is hers and her family is mine. She welcomes my foster loves such that you cannot tell the difference between her charges and our visitors! And when we visit with family, you would be hard pressed to tell that Alejandra is the au pair and not a distant cousin as she interacts with my college and young adult family members.

As a single mother, it is such a relief to fully trust your children's well-being into another's hands, and Alejandra's hands are very capable. There have been several substantially difficult and unforeseen circumstances since her arrival that has warranted sudden shifts in Alejandra's schedule and general responsibilities. Had Alejandra not been versatile or willing to adjust and accommodate at the level she has, our family would not be thriving during this crisis. Her gentleness and compassion is contagious and has helped reassure the children that they are safe and everything will be ok. Even on her days off when my daughter was in the hospital she was requesting updates and offering to change her schedule to be there for her. I was sending her pictures to ensure her that everything was okay so that she could enjoy her day off!

Alejandra has expanded their love of other cultures and other people. In just 3 short months, my oldest daughter is learning to read in Spanish, my son has several words, and my 3-year-old can sing colloquial songs! She has shown them braveness, traveling and learning Baltimore City on the bus and subway system. She has shown them compassion, treating each foster child as an immediate part of the family. She has shown them flexibility. She has shown them joy - each day is full of laughter and excitement. She has shown them love; she is not just their au pair, she is their heart. They love her and she loves them, and it radiates from all of them.

My daughter (10) also wanted to share why Alejandra is so amazing. "Alejandra is an awesome big sister. She helps us get ready for church. She helps me of teaching big words in Spanish. Alejandra takes us for walks every day and plays outside with us. Alejandra plays with me in my room. I love Alejandra, and so does my brother and sister." In one of our joint chats I asked her mother for tips on how to ensure that my daughters are just as beautiful, talented, and poised as Alejandra is when they reach adulthood. She is such a great role model for my children, and an answered prayer to me. I hope that my words have conveyed just how she has added and enriched our lives, and how blessed I am that "Aleja" chose us to be her American family.

The Elder Family

Maryland

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