Diana and Sergey Chudak are changing children’s lives every day. They began working with Amara in 2015 and, over the course of three years, they have welcomed 12 children into their lives, caring for them and supporting them for however long is needed. One child has been with them two years. Another just arrived last week.
Diana and Sergey have also provided short-term care for many children, often with little notice or on an emergent basis. That means saying yes within minutes or hours of learning about a child in need of a home.
The Chudaks understand that the children entering their home may well return to their family of origin, once a parents’ home is deemed safe or another relative is found who can care for the child. They expect that reunification will be part of fostering and are willing members of each child’s team. So they work to establish relationships with the birth family as soon as possible and make themselves accessible to birth families. Diana and Sergey have supported six reunifications.
The Chudaks demonstrate unconditional love to children: exhibiting patience, calm, and strong parenting skills even when met with challenging behaviors. They have a way of talking and listening to children that eases behavioral challenges. They have realistic expectations of kids with trauma and know how to communicate with and love these children in a way that makes them feel safe and supported.
Diana and Sergey embody what it means to be outstanding foster parents: lavishing love and support on children during an unstable, uncertain time in their lives; providing safety and security with no expectation or personal agenda; remaining open to the unknowns and not attached to outcome.
And if all that weren’t enough, the Chudaks are in the process of expanding their license to care for up to three children at a time – one child more than their current license allows!
We are grateful for the Chudak’s willingness to commit to kids in foster care, no matter what. For their service to these children, Amara honored Diana and Sergey Chudak with the 2018 Stella Mae Carmichael Award at the annual luncheon on March 12, 2018.
About the Stella Mae Carmichael Award: Stella Mae Carmichael was a Bellingham foster parent who cared for hundreds of children in her lifetime. Amara established the Award in 2008 in honor of Stella Mae and the inspiring dedication, selflessness, and love of foster parents.