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Stranger Care: A Memoir of Loving What Isn't Ours Hardcover – 1 January 1900

4.7 out of 5 stars 37 ratings

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Random House (1 January 1900)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 432 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593230035
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593230039
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 14.55 x 3.3 x 21.54 cm
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 37 ratings

Product description


"In prose so gripping it reads like a thriller, Sentilles describes the choices that led to the moment when she and her husband are on the phone with a social worker, saying yes to fostering a three-day-old girl. . . What makes this book so powerful is that by experiencing motherhood through the lens of fostering, Sentilles is able to look at the wrenching and worn-out topics of parenting in a new way."--San Francisco Chronicle

"A heartbreaking memoir that, if you let it, will change the way you understand love and loyalty and family and caretaking and belonging."--Chicago Tribune

"An astonishing account of motherhood experienced through the complex lens of foster parenting."--Shelf Awareness

"Beautiful, harrowing, and profound . . . With sensitivity and insight, Sarah Sentilles takes readers with her on her tender and wrenching path to motherhood while grappling with the complexities, contradictions, and injustices of a system meant to protect the most vulnerable. I love this book so much it hurts."--Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild

"This is a memoir for anyone who has ever loved a child--or a whale or a bird or a tree, or indeed any part of this hard, beautiful world we all share, which is to say everyone. It is a memoir for everyone."--Laurie Frankel, author of This Is How It Always Is

"Stranger Care is an illuminating and heart-wrenching look at the foster care system in America, which includes half a million children and disproportionately impacts parents and kids of color. It is a transformative revelation."--Piper Kerman, author of Orange Is the New Black

"Stranger Care is a book about loving a child without boundaries, without bloodlines, without limits. This is the only book about parenting that I would recommend to anyone, because it strikes at the essential, complicated, and heartbreaking core of what parents do every moment of every day: love, love, love, love. No matter what."--Emily Rapp Black, author of The Still Point of the Turning World

"Stranger Care is a gripping and beautiful memoir. Sarah Sentilles shares a personal story that is also a story about how we live in America today--and why we must find new ways to love and care for one another."--Ben Rhodes, author of The World As It Is

"Stranger Care is a work of radical moral philosophy as much as a memoir of one family's journey through the foster care system. Their story has changed me--it broke my heart wide open in the best possible way--and I don't think I'll ever be same."--Lacy M. Johnson, author of The Reckonings

". . . Sentilles uses the sheer power of her writing to lift their story above the failures of flawed adults and to remind us of the human heart's limitless capacity for hope."--BookPage (starred review)

"Essential reading for those hoping to be foster parents."--Library Journal (starred review)

"Memoir lovers and book groups will be enthralled."--Booklist (starred review)

About the Author

Sarah Sentilles is the author of Draw Your Weapons, Breaking Up with God, A Church of Her Own, and Taught by America. A graduate of Yale University and Harvard Divinity School, she lives in Idaho's Wood River Valley.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Eye opening journey through trying to adopt through the foster care system
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 23 May 2021
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R. Barry
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, loving, moving, must-read book for anyone who cares about at-risk children!
Reviewed in the United States on 8 May 2021
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5.0 out of 5 stars I’m weeping. A love letter to Coco a foster daughter
Reviewed in the United States on 13 May 2021
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5.0 out of 5 stars I’m weeping. A love letter to Coco a foster daughter
Reviewed in the United States on 13 May 2021
I found Sarah Sentilles through the A Cup of Jo blog. I read Sarah's "My Foster Daughter's First Birthday" and cried three times while reading it. It spoke to me so deeply and moved me so much I immediately looked her up on Instagram and pre-ordered her book.

My youngest child is 6 months old, so I haven't slept much or showered much in the last 6 months. But every night, for the hour or so I have to myself, I will curl up on the couch and read this book. I got it on May 6 and tonight on May 12 I finished it.

I have 2 beautiful, biological boys and I work part time at a nonprofit. Since I was very young, I've always thought about adoption and recently, I've been thinking more and more about adopting through foster care. 

We don't get to "meet" Coco until we're well into the book, probably half way. She details the entire process that she and her husband Eric, go through to become certified foster parents in the state of Idaho. I appreciated all the details she included, the conversations with the social workers, the rollercoaster of emotions during this often frustrating and tedious process, the gut-wrenching placement calls, the check-ins with her therapist....I'm so glad she had the support of family, loving friends and a therapist. I can't imagine doing this without a support system.

I thought her writing so brave and so honest...I admired her ability to love Evelyn, Coco's bio mom, despite enemy lines being drawn. It was hard to finish the last 50 pages of this book because I knew what was coming and I couldn't bear it. I had to pause from all the weeping. I didn't want to let Coco go. Oh, I felt the pain physically in my stomach. I felt the visceral palpable love of a mama bear desperate, clawing and clinging to get to her daughter. Where is Coco?! Why can’t we get her out of the trailer with no electricity and no running water?! Why can’t all these people who know what’s going on, not intervene? I wasn't only crying with Sarah, I was crying for all the children in the world like Coco, who don't get to laugh and to giggle and play because they're so busy worried about keeping safe, protecting themselves from danger.

I will go to bed crying tonight for Coco, but I will pray for her. I will pray that wherever she is, she will know she is loved.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Cheryl Strayed nailed it! This book is a masterpiece.
Reviewed in the United States on 8 May 2021
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4 people found this helpful
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d bhatt
5.0 out of 5 stars Brought my reading life back to life
Reviewed in the United States on 15 May 2021
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