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Without a hint of alarm, the doctor told me to go ahead and sit up on the exam table. The procedure was finished. I stared at the white and gray image on the X-ray monitor. The physician tried to gently explain what was wrong with me.

In our cozy guest room, I tucked the quilt around the 9-year-old boy I had just met. He looked up at me frightened, his blue eyes wide, a spattering of freckles across his nose.

The baby was sleeping in a cradle, flush against my bed. I could easily reach in and feel her tiny chest, rising and falling with each breath.

3,841 kids were in foster care in Maryland in the 2016 federal fiscal year. Where did they end up?

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