... Sentilles shines a light — or beams a heat lamp — on all the ways there are to love, be a parent and experience loss ... 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 3-day-old girl ... Sentilles describes the experience of becoming a parent exactly. Your love for your child feels infinite, but what binds you to them is their infinite need, their helplessness ... That this love story feels doomed from the start is what makes this memoir so devastating ... 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.
Not far into [Sentilles's] heart-searing memoir, Stranger Care: A Memoir of Loving What Isn’t Ours, the complications begin ... If Stranger Care were merely a horrific indictment of the foster care system, it would be a hard read to endure. But there are deeper lessons here, as Sentilles navigates an intractable system managed by overwhelmed, all-too-human souls ... With a sharp eye for the details that fill their days with joy, counterweighted by the sorrows that bring the couple to their knees, 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.
... gut-wrenching ... The book is interspersed with lovely scenes and odd facts from the natural world — Sentilles’s efforts to make sense of her fierce attachment to this tiny stranger. Some may bristle at the incessant comparisons of a mother-child bond with trees and insects and whales and ostriches and parrots ... Unfortunately, Sentilles is dismissive of foster parents who look elsewhere for guidance and don’t share her worldview.
With nimble prose spanning many brief, titled chapters, Sentilles shares the practical, transcendent, and disheartening realities of fostering, alongside evocative descriptions of various forms of stranger care in nature, among trees, birds, and whales ... Sentilles also questions the ethics and inequities of the overburdened, underfunded foster system. Her story seems to expose the possibility that maybe the only thing we humans can control is how we take care of one another and our world. Memoir lovers and book groups will be enthralled.
Sentilles (Draw Your Weapons) describes her experience of adoption and foster care in this memoir of grief and beauty ... The author sheds light on the system’s racial inequity and its bias toward wealthy parents, and she writes with compassion ... Sentilles writes candidly and humanely about her experience of building a family beyond immediate kin and discovering the depths of love and protection. Essential reading for those hoping to be foster parents.