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

Random. May 2021. 432p. ISBN 9780593230039. $28. SOC SCI
Sentilles (Draw Your Weapons) describes her experience of adoption and foster care in this memoir of grief and beauty. She and her husband become foster parents in Idaho to a baby girl named Coco. The baby’s mother, Evelyn, had left her hometown and crossed state lines to give birth; she had a son in foster care and struggled with addiction, unemployment, and homelessness. Meanwhile, the baby’s father, Cody, is in prison. Sentilles learns that the goal of Idaho’s foster care system is to eventually reunite biological parents and children, but the family and welfare services are woefully underfunded, and Sentilles and Evelyn agree that Coco lacks the advocate she is legally entitled to. The author sheds light on the system’s racial inequity and its bias toward wealthy parents, and she writes with compassion about Evelyn’s and Cody’s lives. Sentilles and her husband fall in love with Coco, and she describes being agonized to relinquish her after nine months.
VERDICT 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.
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