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Stranger Care

Stranger Care: A Memoir of Loving What Isn’t Ours

Sarah Sentilles

May you always feel at home.

After deciding not to have a biological child, Sarah Sentilles and her husband, Eric, try to adopt a baby through foster care. Knowing that the system aims for reunification with the birth family, they open their home to a flurry of social workers who question, evaluate, and prepare them to welcome a child into their family—even if it most likely means giving that child up.

After years of starts and stops, the phone call finally comes: a three-day-old baby girl, in urgent need of a foster family. Sarah and Eric bring this newborn stranger home.

‘You were never ours,’ Sarah writes, ‘yet we belong to each other.’

An extraordinary account of love and belonging, Stranger Care shares her discovery of what it means to take care of someone beyond our immediate kin: not just a vulnerable infant, but also the birth mother who loves her too. Sarah Sentilles brings her trademark fearless prose and compassion to an intimate story with universal concerns: What does it mean to mother? How can we care for and protect each other? And how do we ensure a better future for life on this planet?

Sarah Sentilles
About the Author

A former theologian, Sarah Sentilles completed her undergraduate degree at Yale and both a Masters and a Doctorate at Harvard. She was a college professor for over a decade before becoming a full time writer and is now a passionate advocate for life lived by peace and principle. Her previous books are Taught by America: A Story of Struggle and...

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Text publication date:
4 May 2021
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Praise for Sarah Sentilles
andStranger Care

‘A beautiful, harrowing, and profound memoir about what it means to love and to mother, to belong and let go…I found myself holding my breath as I read…I love this book so much it hurts. It’s a powerful, heartbreaking, necessary masterpiece.’

‘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…No matter what.’

‘A gripping and beautiful memoir about marriage, family, bureaucracy, community, heartbreak and hope. With wisdom and honesty, Sarah Sentilles shares a personal story that is also a story about how we live…and why we must find new ways to love and care for one another.’

‘A book that calls us to redefine what it means to have and make a family, to expand our understanding of what and who belongs, and to care more and better for those around us…It broke my heart wide open in the best possible way.’

‘Breathtaking and heartbreaking and smart and hopeful…I less read Stranger Care than inhaled it, in the first place because I genuinely could not put it down but mostly because it felt like this story entered my bloodstream and changed me…This is a memoir for everyone.’

‘An illuminating and heart-wrenching look at the foster-care system…Sarah’s personal experience as a foster parent, combined with her reportorial examination of a deeply flawed system, makes Stranger Care a transformative revelation.’

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