Losing a Foster Sister

At the age of six, Susan Silverman learned how to accept with open arms — and eventually say goodbye to — a child without a home.

| January 2017

  • “Even adopting one child would be a beautiful thing.”
    Photo by Fotolia/kichigin19
  • “Casting Lots: Creating a Family in a Beautiful, Broken World” by Susan Silverman.
    Cover courtesy Da Capo Press

Susan Silverman grew up surrounded by a loving family and devoted parents. But she learned early on in life that this wasn’t the case for every child, here or abroad. She made it her mission to even the odds when it came to the children who needed homes versus those who were given one. In her memoir, Casting Lots (Da Capo Press, 2016), Silverman chronicles her journey from child to mother to adopter and, eventually, founder of the nonprofit JustAdopt. Her book is one on belonging, on faith, and on finding an identity and a home.

For more books that pique our interest, visit the Utne Reader Bookshelf.


I have always wanted to adopt, even when I was a child with a penchant for writing poetry instead of going out for recess.

She looked to the stars / And wondered / Someday / Will I find my mother?

“Who is the little girl in your poem?” asked Miss Loros as I hovered beside her desk, where she was focused on correcting a pile of math quizzes.

“She’s an orphan,” I said. “Someday I want to be the mother of orphans.”

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