Cast of Characters: Madeline

Madeline is finishing up her nursing training in Germany in September 2020 and coming bravely to Seattle to join the VanLaanen household as our au pair. We are so pleased!

Madeline stayed brave and loyal throughout the unfolding of the COVID-19 global pandemic. We matched in March 2020, and then when the presidential proclamation shuttered all J-1 visa plans, she stayed optimistic. When the ability to pursue a NIE, she was game to make the trip without a guarentee. Her visa appointment was rescheduled once. We loaded her up with documents and she went on faith. Her faith in us and the process. Even while many of us were questioning if our country was acting in our best interest, she had an unshakable love for America.

When she arrived, we were convinced she was going to go straight on back, just as our au pair from the previous summer had–leaving us in the lurch after a month of tears. Madeline gritted her teeth through the incessant crying of our 7 month old during the day, and then would cry every evening of her stay. Did she leave, even though COIVID restrictions kept her from making a single new friend? No, she withstood our many meetings and coaching and questionings, and stayed strong and loyal throughout the transition period. Her homesickness was intense, if it were morning sickness she would have been hospitalized on IV Zofran, but then just as swiftly as morning sickness subsides when that proverbial corner is turned. And just when we were at an all time low, our daughter started to smile and wave just for her– and Madeline did glow.

Our son is a goofy handful as most 4 year olds are, and she stays calm while he goes berserk. We pile on the kids’ laundry, endless drying of dishes and more; still she does not skirk.

As we waited in the ferry line for a holiday weekend, I breastfed our daughter, now 11 months old. My how she does thrive! When the boarding began in earnst, I tossed her quickly in her carseat and got ready to drive. Madeline made sure she was secured in her harnsess times five. Luckily she did, (though that’s just the type of person she is), we were suddenly hit from behind, and the second did split. Our car was pushed forward by a full 15 feet, the monster truck driver said he couldn’t see over his dash. He thought he hit some bump in the road, so he really pushed on the gas.

She would have gone flying, if Madeline hadn’t buckled her in. Just as our family would have gone out of orbit if Madeline hadn’t come to herein.