Aaron Edwards and Sarah Reker have a long history as foster parents and started working with Amara in 2015. Since then, they have adopted three children from foster care, provided respite care to six children, helped one child reunify with their birth family, and are currently fostering another child. They have experienced the full variety of outcomes when taking in a child in foster care, and in 2018 renewed their fostering license once again so they can continue.

Aaron and Sarah have demonstrated openness to helping children in need, regardless of circumstance. They worked with their foster care team to prepare for each possible legal outcome and remained open to anything. They are committed to caring for and supporting each child in their care, for no matter how long. They work hard to have sometimes difficult conversations with children to validate the feeling of just how hard it is to deal with the unknown, while still offering them a positive outlook.

Aaron and Sarah go above and beyond so that the children in their care can maintain connections with their birth families and siblings. For example, they have a Google Voice account for each child placed in their home and share this number with the child’s social worker and birth family so there’s always a way to be in touch with that child. They have also maintained ongoing contact and visits with the birth families of their three adopted children and made long-distance visits so that the children in their home can see their families.

In addition, Aaron and Sarah are very involved in advocacy work around foster care and act as resources to other foster parents in the community. They lead their local Fostering Together Support Group and are available to both Amara and non-Amara parents for advice, respite care, and to lend a helping hand. They’ve also been representatives to help pass legislation that provides extended care to children in need.

Their commitment to putting the well-being of children first is so great that they are not only foster parents but persistent advocates for systemic change in the foster care system!

Aaron and Sarah embody what it means to be outstanding foster parents. It is not only the children who have passed through their home who have benefited from their dedication, love, and leadership – but children and families across the Washington State.

In light of this extraordinary commitment and ongoing work, we were honored to present the 12th Annual Stella Mae Carmichael award at Amara’s 2019 Seattle Luncheon, From Hope to Home, to Aaron Edwards and Sarah Reker.

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.