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The City Journals

Riverton family chosen as top 10 host family in the nation

May 07, 2018 01:31PM ● By Jet Burnham

The Meaders have been an incredible host family for Gaelle Labrun, au pair from France. (Photo courtesy Adrianne Meaders)

By Jet Burnham | [email protected]

Au Pair Gaelle Lebrun was hosted by one of the top host families in the nation for her two-year experience in the U.S.

“We got along really well, really fast,” said the 22 year old from Champagne, France. “I’m not just an employee and taking care of the kids—it’s way more than that. We’ve become a family.” 

She said the two years she has lived in Riverton with Jason and Adrianne Meaders and their two boys Steven and Jackson, aged 2 and 4, has been the best experience of her life.

Lebrun nominated the Meaders for Culture Care Au Pair’s Host Family of the Year Award. They were chosen as a top 10 finalist out of 700 nominations nationwide.

 “They do everything they can to make me happy and do what I want to do and to see. They give me as much as they can give me,” said Lebrun. 

Culture Care Au Pair provides young people with cultural experiences in addition to jobs in childcare. Lebrun said the best part was the relationships she built with her hosts.

“I found two other brothers and I found my best friend and the best mom I could have,” she said.

She said the Meaders made her feel comfortable and cared for.

“I believe that it is the little things that count the most,” she said. “It’s them moving heaven and earth to find me a Buche de Noel, them running downtown to buy me a brioche when I’m sick because that’s the only food I want. It’s me on the Christmas cards, them craving my crepes for breakfast and so many more things.” 

Most au pairs don’t have much opportunity to travel but the Meaders were very supportive of Lebrun’s interest in traveling. 

“We have taken her to see as much of the U.S. as we can in her time with us,” said Adrianne Meaders. As a family, they traveled to Hawaii, Chicago, San Diego, Los Angeles, Arizona, Las Vegas and Texas. They also encouraged Lebrun to develop her independence as she explored Florida, Canada, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C. on her own. They also visited as many National Parks in Utah as they could.

When her official time as an au pair ended in late April, Lebrun had one month before her visa expired. The Meaders planned one last family trip—a month-long RV trip to visit a few more National Parks including Yellowstone, Yosemite and Sequoia.

Lebrun said her favorite place to visit was Hawaii but that she loves Utah most of all.

Meaders said she had no idea hosting an au pair would be such a great experience for her family.

“I just thought I’d have someone crashing in my basement, helping with the kids when I needed it—but it’s so much more than that,” she said. “She is the sister my boys never had. I can’t imagine our lives going forward without her being in it in some capacity.”

The Meaders chose to have an au pair because they needed flexibility and last-minute availability in their childcare. Lebrun arrived just two months before Jackson was born and provided much needed help to care for the newborn and two year old.

“Truly my boys have the big sister they never had,” said Meaders. “For us it’s just been an amazing cultural experience.” The boys have learned to appreciate French food [they love Lebrun’s crepes[TB1] ] and the language. They have grown up with Lebrun singing songs to them in French.

“My baby speaks more French than English,” said Meaders.

After one year with the family, Lebrun extended for an additional year, the maximum amount allowed. As much as it breaks her heart to leave, she must return to France by the end of May. She loves children and traveling and hopes to continue her au pair experience in another country. But she will not forget the Meaders.

“I believe that home is more of a feeling than a place and they really made me feel like this—they are my home,” she said.