After their decision not to have a biological child, Sarah Sentilles and her husband, Eric, decide to adopt via the foster care system. Despite knowing that the system's goal is the child's reunification with the birth family, Sarah opens their home to a flurry of social workers who question them, evaluate them, and ultimately prepare them to welcome a child into their lives--even if it means most likely having to give the child back.
... 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.