Host Family of the Year: Carroll Family
We received such amazing entries for our Host Family of the Year contest. Thank you for sharing your stories with us. Our contest committee had a very difficult time choosing from such wonderful entries because all your submissions are winners! We want everyone who was nominated to be recognised for how special they are!
I nominate my host family as “host family of the year” because I truly believe they deserve it!
My host mom, Tahnee, is a young loving mother of an 11-month-old girl, a wonderful sister to her autistic brother, a talented business-owner and an amazing host to me.
Wade, her fiancé, is a very engaged father and a skilled carpenter, who has built the house we live in almost by himself.
My host kid, Charlton, is 12-year-old and has autism. He is nonverbal and needs guidance to manage his daily life. He is a very sweet boy and is extremely well behaved, thanks to Tahnee’s and Wade’s support and help.
One of the reasons that I believe my host family deserves the title is, the fact that they take the very best care of Charlton. Tahnee‘s and Charlton‘s mother passed away two years ago. Tahnee took Charlton in and adjusted her own life and plans to the new situation in Charlton’s best interest. At the same time, she found out that she was pregnant. The couple just recently bought a house in a town 7 hours away from where they live now. They renovated her mother’s house and moved on, so Charlton could stay in his school and home.
I personally have the biggest respect for them and I am sure not everyone would have made the same decision to “adopt“ a special needs child that requires 24-hours supervision.
They did a lot of research into autism and were able to create a routine for Charlton, that he can benefit from. When I arrived in the family, as their first occupational therapist live-in carer, I was impressed. The way they interact with the boy and support him is “by the book“. They teach him independence, include him in everything, interact with him, offer him learning activities and fun activities. They changed Charlton’s diet, which had a very big impact of his learning abilities and behaviours.
When I started working with Charlie it was a blessing to me that I could pick up on their great work and that me and my host family work as team. In my 2 years as a professional Au-pair in America I learned that it’s not always like that. My ideas regarding Charlton‘s therapy and my work with him are heard and if I ask for material or something he needs they will make sure I get it asap.
They gave me the chance to join Charlton’s speech therapy once a week. I am very happy about this, because I get the chance to learn and we also can provide a great therapy plan for the boy.
Tahnee and Wade are amazing hosts to me. I have a wonderful flat that provides everything I need. My accommodation was brand new and perfectly clean. I was able to feel “home“ from the very first moment. They made sure I am not missing anything. For example, they gave me a cosy bathrobe, a hairdryer and a speaker to play music on.
I am always welcome to hang out with them and join family events, but at the same time they respect my privacy a lot.
They also share their car with me, so I have no trouble getting to places and save money for transportation.
Whenever I go on a road trip or visit places, they give me recommendations and good advice. Tahnee also has given me rides to the train station, so I didn’t have to carry my luggage.
I also get paid way more than the minimum salary.
I really appreciate that they are flexible with my workhouse, in case I have plans to go somewhere. This family makes me feel welcome and appreciated every day. I enjoy the good and easy communication and the respectful tone. The atmosphere in their house is so relaxed and calm, even though there is a baby, a special needs boy and ongoing renovations.
I am very thankful, that I can have friends over from and that visitors from Germany are welcome to stay with us. Again, I feel like I am home and not like a guest.
I admire how this family has managed their circumstances and how you can feel their strength and love, once you get to know them. I couldn’t have asked for a better host family and I write this to show them my appreciation. I am extremely thankful for this wonderful Australian experience I am having with them.