Join The Community Library for a virtual conversation with Hailey-based author, Sarah Sentilles, for the launch of her new book, Stranger Care: A Memoir of Loving What Isn’t Ours, the moving story of what one woman learned from fostering a newborn—about injustice, about making mistakes, about how to better love and protect people beyond our immediate kin. The book releases May 4, 2021, from Random House.
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. After years of starts and stops, and endless navigation of the complexities and injustices of the foster care system, a phone call finally comes: a three-day-old baby girl named Coco, in immediate need of a foster family. Sarah and Eric bring this newborn stranger home. “You were never ours,” Sarah tells Coco, “yet we belong to each other.”
A love letter to Coco and to the countless children like her, Stranger Care chronicles Sarah’s discovery of what it means to mother—in this case, not just a vulnerable infant but the birth mother who loves her, too. Ultimately, Coco’s story reminds us that we depend on family, and that family can take different forms. Sentilles lays bare an intimate, powerful story with universal concerns: How can we care for and protect one another? How do we ensure a more hopeful future for life on this planet? And if we’re all related—tree, bird, star, person—how might we better live?
Sentilles will share readings from the new book during this conversation with the Library’s executive director, Jenny Emery Davidson.
Sarah Sentilles is a writer, teacher, critical theorist, scholar of religion, and author of many books, including Draw Your Weapons, which won the 2018 PEN Award for Creative Nonfiction. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Oprah Magazine, Ms., Religion Dispatches, Oregon ArtsWatch, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among other publications. She’s had residencies at Hedgebrook and Yaddo. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Yale and master’s and doctoral degrees at Harvard. She is the co-founder of the Alliance of Idaho, which works to protect the basic human rights of immigrants by engaging in education, outreach, and advocacy at local, state, and national levels.