Before and After: The Incredible Real-Life Stories of Orphans Who Survived the Tennessee Children’s Home Society by Judy Christie, Lisa Wingate
Published October 22nd 2019 by Ballantine Books, Random House Audio
After reading Before We Were Yours, when I saw this book, I had to read it. This is the followup non-fiction book written by Judy Christie as she follows Lisa Wingate in her meetings, interviews and phone calls with actual adoptees or their families. We learn how some of them ended up in the system, things their birth and adoptive families (some never knew about other siblings) and get the opportunity to follow them when they meet their birth siblings and other family members. Some lived better lives than they would have if not adopted, some did not.
When Before We Were Yours was published some of the now adults who knew they were adopted, read the book and identified with it. They started to dig deeper into their background, questioning grandparents, aunts, friends of their parents, etc. Some took DNA tests and matches were found int he database. When Lisa Wingate started getting letters and phone calls, she felt compelled to tell their stories. That was when she contacted journalist and friend Judy Christie to tell this story. This was a very interesting and uplifting story. Before We were Yours was rather depressing and even though this only highlighted 15 orphans and their stories, but it was nice to hear that there were some happily ever afters out there. I do recommend this story, especially to those who read Before We Were Yours. As well, if you like learning about what happens after an historic event (in this case the emotional and tragic upheaval of being stolen from your family) then this is a book for you. If you are not familiar with The Tennessee Children’s Home scandal or Georgia Tann, then take a look on the internet, you will be surprised and shocked about what you find.
Synopsis: The incredible, poignant true stories of victims of a notorious adoption scandal–some of whom learned the truth from Lisa Wingate’s bestselling novel Before We Were Yours and were reunited with birth family members as a result of its wide reach
From the 1920s to 1950, Georgia Tann ran a black-market baby business at the Tennessee Children’s Home Society in Memphis. She offered up more than 5,000 orphans tailored to the wish lists of eager parents–hiding the fact that many weren’t orphans at all, but stolen sons and daughters of poor families, desperate single mothers, and women told in maternity wards that their babies had died.
The publication of Lisa Wingate’s novel Before We Were Yours brought new awareness of Tann’s lucrative career in child trafficking. Adoptees who knew little about their pasts gained insight into the startling facts behind their family histories. Encouraged by their contact with Wingate and award-winning journalist Judy Christie, who documented the stories of fifteen adoptees in this book, many determined Tann survivors set out to trace their roots and find their birth families.
Before and After includes moving and sometimes shocking accounts of the ways in which adoptees were separated from their first families. Often raised as only children, many have joyfully reunited with siblings in the final decades of their lives. In Before and After, Wingate and Christie tell of first meetings that are all the sweeter and more intense for time missed and of families from very different social backgrounds reaching out to embrace better-late-than-never brothers, sisters, and cousins. In a poignant culmination of art meeting life, long-silent victims of the tragically corrupt system return to Memphis with Wingate and Christie to reclaim their stories at a Tennessee Children’s Home Society reunion . . . with extraordinary results.