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‘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.’—Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild
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?
‘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.’—Lacy M. Johnson, author of The Reckonings
‘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.’—Laurie Frankel, author of This Is How It Always Is
‘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.’—Piper Kerman, author of Orange Is the New Black
‘This book is sublime in its craft and its heart. Sentilles’ power is not only that her message about our shared humanity comes as revelation—that our personal and collective survival depends on converting pain into love. Her power is that she leads by example in this stunning book.’—Sarah Krasnostein, author of The Trauma Cleaner
‘Be warned: your heart will be altered by Stranger Care. Sarah Sentilles has written a book that the whole damn world needs to read—a book on caring, on radical empathy, on how to hold rage and grief and pure love simultaneously within the body. In language that strikes and soars and sings, Sentilles honours the child at the centre of Stranger Care. In doing so, she shows us all how we might better look after each other.’—Kate Mildenhall, author of The Mother Fault
‘How far can we extend our care and compassion? What does it take to love people who stand in the way of our desires? Full of the urgency of mother-love, Stranger Care is heartrending: at once harrowing and tender, bruising and wise.’—Jessie Cole, author of Staying
‘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.’—Emily Rapp Black, author of The Still Point of the Turning World