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Co-Winners: Gieseke Family and Au Pair Hendry

A Loving Experience that Changed My World

My journey with my host family started a long time before I become their Au Pair. I was friends with their 2 last Au Pairs and started to get to know the Gieseke family through them. My host mom being the generous and caring person that she is, she always invited me to their family dinners and birthday parties.
So when she heard that I was going through rematch she wanted to help me and decided she would change to my agency and match with me. That is how I become Amy and her 2 beautiful girls, Scout and Rocky’s Au Pair.
Au Pair and host kids
I had so many examples and stories I wanted to talk about because my host family has changed my life in every way possible but I’ve decided to share how they helped me to accept myself and be comfortable and confident who I am and how it changed my relationships with my friends and my family, but mostly myself.
In the 13 months that I was in America prior to matching with my host family, I saw how most of the community and culture is accepting and supportive towards LGBTQ people. But that wasn’t enough for me to be open about being gay. I wasn’t comfortable telling any of my friends, my host family and definitely not my family back home. Nobody knew. Its was an incredible lonely part of my life as I felt people won’t be accepting of me and that I can’t be in any relationship cause I would have to hide it.
From the start my host family made me feel loved and as part of their family, almost as if I have been there all my life. Amy raises her daughters to be accepting of people and their differences. To be open minded and non-judgmental to how people’s life styles, cultures and views are diverse. It only took me 3 months being with my host family to feel comfortable enough to tell them I’m gay. It didn’t make any difference to them and they still loved me as much as they always did. Amy encouraged me to tell my friends. She made me realize that if people where really my friends and if they care about me it wouldn’t matter. And she was RIGHT! I started by telling my best friends and they kind of already knew. As I came out to more friends, I saw that they were all suspecting as much already. Thats when I was able to understand that even though people knew, it never changed the way they viewed me or how they feel about me.
I realized the problem was never if people would accept me or not, but that I was never accepting of myself and I assumed everybody would feel the same way. If people who were strangers to me a year ago can love me, then I should be able too.
It completely changed my perspective. I was able to develop new believes and out grow the ones I was taught by society as a child.
Au Pair and host kids
If it wasn’t for my host family, I probably wouldn’t have had this liberating experience. This is something not a lot of people are lucky enough to have. My host family showed  me a level of love, trust and support that I was able to be completely vulnerable and it changed my life forever. This put so many other changes in my life in motion. My relationships with my friends became stronger as I could be myself. I started make healthier life style choices regarding what I eat and about exercising. I felt more confidant which led me to be comfortable with exploring romantic relationships.
For me this is more than just a cultural exchange program. I gained 3 more family members and they gave me what I needed to change my life. I will forever be grateful for them and what they did for me. Their kind heartedness and love is changing the world.

Au Pair and host family

Shonna Anderson


Shonna has worked for Go Au Pair for 9+ years. She started as a Placement Coordinator creating connections between Host Families and Au Pairs. Then moved in to the Au Pair and International space working with Au Pairs from all over the world. Now she writes helpful, inspiring, and fun content for Go Au Pair. If you are interested in sharing your experience, or if you have questions or would like assistance, please reach out to @ShonnaAuPairSis on Facebook or email sanderson@goaupair.com.

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Go Au Pair is one of the best Au Pair agencies in the United States, providing quality child care for over 30 years. Beginning as a nanny company in 1984, we soon expanded to include Au Pairs. We were one of the original Au Pair Program sponsors designated by the department of State in 1989.

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