Before and After: The Incredible Real-Life Stories of Orphans Who Survived the Tennessee Children's Home Society

Before and After: The Incredible Real-Life Stories of Orphans Who Survived the Tennessee Children's Home Society

by Judy Christie, Lisa Wingate

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Overview

The compelling, 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. Christie and Wingate 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, many of the long-silent victims of the tragically corrupt system return to Memphis with the authors to reclaim their stories at a Tennessee Children’s Home Society reunion . . . with extraordinary results.

Advance praise for Before and After

“In Before and After, authors Judy Christie and Lisa Wingate tackle the true stories behind Wingate’s blockbuster Before We Were Yours, of the orphans who survived the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. With a journalist’s keen eye and a novelist’s elegant prose, Christie and Wingate weave together the stories that inspired Before We Were Yours with the lives that were changed as a result of reading the novel. Readers will be educated, enlightened, and enraptured by this important and flawlessly executed book.”—Pam Jenoff, author of The Orphan’s Tale and The Lost Girls of Paris

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780593130155
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/22/2019
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 5,973
File size: 16 MB
Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

About the Author

Judy Christie is an award-winning journalist and the author of eighteen books of both fiction and nonfiction. A former editor at daily newspapers in Tennessee, Louisiana, Florida, and Indiana, she holds a master’s degree in literature from Louisiana State University in Shreveport. She and her husband live in rural Colorado.

Lisa Wingate is a former journalist, an inspirational speaker, and the author of numerous novels, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Before We Were Yours, which has sold more than 2.2 million copies. The co-author, with Judy Christie, of the nonfiction book, Before and After, Wingate is a two-time ACFW Carol Award winner, a Christy Award nominee, an Oklahoma Book Award finalist, and a Southern Book Prize winner. She lives with her husband in North Texas.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Real-Life Adoptees

“Have you considered a reunion?”

Connie Wilson is relaxing in her condo in Southern California with her beloved Labradoodle, Jackson, when the email arrives.

“Oh my gosh, Connie!” a book-club friend from Arizona writes. “Have you read Before We Were Yours?”

It’s June 2017, and the novel by Lisa Wingate is brand-new. Connie has not heard of it. But faster than her pup can nudge her to play tug-of-war, she downloads a digital copy. In only forty-eight hours, she devours it, tamping down emotions as she reads. The fictionalized story about children adopted through the Tennessee Children’s Home Society is oh so familiar to her.

Connie’s life is historic in a way she would rather have avoided: she is one of the last babies placed by the scandal-ridden orphanage. In her late sixties when she, Lisa, and I meet, Connie is one of the youngest members of a unique and uncomfortable club—living adoptees connected to TCHS. People whose lives were irrevocably altered at the hands of Georgia Tann. For Connie and thousands like her, events that took place decades ago are difficult to place in the past. The effects remain ever present.

On September 11, 1950, just two months after Connie’s birth, a criminal investigation into Tann’s adoption practices was announced. Orphanage funds were cut, and the babies on hand were left in limbo. Connie’s adoption was held up, and her guardianship was transferred from TCHS to the Tennessee Department of Public Welfare. That was when she joined the tail end of a decades-long line of sad statistics.

Under the autocratic control of Georgia Tann, and thanks to her effective grip on look-the-other-way political and civic leaders, TCHS managed to operate in Memphis from 1924 to 1950 without scrutiny or interference. Approximately five thousand children, many of whom were not actually orphaned, passed through the agency’s doors. An unknown number, estimated at five hundred, perished in unregulated, often squalid, holding facilities. Others were delivered into homes that faced little to no scrutiny, to parents who, for a host of reasons, could not adopt conventionally.

These real-life stories left their mark on ordinary people, now in the final season of their lives, as they pass along their experiences with TCHS and Tann’s deeds to future generations through their personal accounts of what happened . . . and through their DNA.

A blend of what was happening in the world, from the Great Depression to World War II and the Holocaust, and including the stigma of unwed motherhood, led to the growth of Tann’s network for obtaining and placing children. Poverty-stricken mothers gave up babies out of desperation; unmarried young women were not allowed to keep their newborns because of the taint of illegitimacy; and poor parents, hard at work, often unable to afford babysitters, found their children lured from front yards and into Tann’s chauffeur-driven black limousine as it glided around Tennessee and Arkansas. With her paid network of doctors, social workers, and even boardinghouse owners, Tann snatched babies up as soon as they became available.

Some frantic birth parents—along with the occasional physician—attempted to challenge Tann, a stern-looking woman with short hair and glasses. Tann, however, had political clout and immense wealth, built on the backs of children sold for profit, some of it from checks made out to her personally. With the help of her connections via Memphis mayor E. H. “Boss” Crump, a political kingpin with powerful ties throughout the state, and others in positions of authority, she deflected inquiries with the ease of swatting a mosquito on a Tennessee summer afternoon.

But now, in 1950, the year of Connie’s birth, the end of Tann’s reign of terror nears. Tennessee politics are changing. Crump is out. The new Tennessee governor, Gordon Browning, appoints attorney Robert Taylor to ferret out the grisly truth of TCHS’s Memphis operations. He has already discovered damning evidence. Only a small network of co-conspirators know the truth. With the investigation under way, they flee into the crevasses of Memphis and disappear like rats running into the city’s sewers. Although some community leaders—powerful, wealthy, political—have undoubtedly been complicit, all the blame is conveniently assigned to Tann.

She holes up in her home, reportedly in the last stages of uterine cancer—too ill, it is said, to respond to the charges or face the public. Governor Browning releases Taylor’s shocking initial report, which details Tann’s years of nefarious dealings in the adoption market. She has, the governor reveals, made herself rich and completed an unknown number of horrendous deals involving flesh-and-blood products.

Within days, on September 15, 1950, it is announced that she has died. Tann, fifty-nine, never married, leaves her estate to her mother, an adopted daughter, and an adopted sister. The orphanage is not mentioned. The Tennessee State Legislature quickly and quietly seals the paperwork of thousands of TCHS children, which will leave adoptees desperately searching for decades to uncover the truth about their heritage. The investigation concludes that Tann profited from the operation of TCHS in Memphis in excess of five hundred thousand dollars in the last ten years of her life—taking in today’s equivalent of between five and ten million dollars.

During that period, the investigation found, she placed more than a thousand children for adoption outside the state of Tennessee, principally in New York and California, the exact number not known.

If Connie, the baby girl born just two months before Tann’s death, and these thousands of other children were characters in a novel, justice as well as blame might have landed squarely on Tann’s head. Police would swoop into her Memphis Receiving Home, rescue her remaining charges, shackle Tann, and whisk her off to jail. She would endure a trial and be forced to stand eye to eye with children she procured in the 1920s or 1930s or 1940s, or with parents whose babies were snatched, or with people in California and New York who paid extra for children because they sensed that if they didn’t, their in-process adoptions might suddenly go wrong.

But real life does not happen that way.

Tann dies, never having admitted to her crimes and, supposedly, never having known that she has finally been exposed, and certainly not having paid back the money that supported her lavish lifestyle. She is never made to face families she misused, those good and kind people who will spend a lifetime unraveling the knots she tied, a lifetime trying to heal the hearts she broke.

But finally, all these years later, her name is ruined, her power gone. Now the triumph belongs to quiet conquerors, who are ready to tell their stories.

In a piece of history with so many villains, they are the heroes.

Still in the throes of reading Before We Were Yours, Connie is intrigued when her book-club friend surfaces again with an invitation: “Would you mind talking about you and the book?”

A seasoned traveler after years in the business world, Connie happily makes plans to hop a plane to Arizona a couple of months later. Spurred on by this interest in her past, she emails the author of the novel, a woman she has never met.

09/12/17 at 4:06 p.m.

Dear Lisa Wingate,

Reading your new book Before We Were Yours inspired me to go back through all the records, articles, and information I have gathered about my adoption . . .

I was reunited with my natural brother after 40 years of not knowing I even had one (same for him). It is a wonderful story if you are interested. I also think you would find interesting all the letters from Georgia Tann and the research for the 40 years that followed.

I’d also love to know how the other victims are today. What emotional impact this had on them.

Please let me know if you’d like me to come speak with you, bring any records, or just have a phone call.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Connie

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Before and After: The Incredible Real-Life Stories of Orphans Who Survived the Tennessee Children's Home Society 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 41 reviews.
paigereadsthepage 29 days ago
Wow, this what I like to call a good “coffee table” book. It’s one of those books to have sitting on your coffee table that you can pick up and use as a conversation starter. This is the nonfiction follow up to the novel "Before We Were Yours". The book starts with Lisa Wingate and Judy Christie seeking to reunite the surviving children with other victims of Georgia Tann's Tennessee Children's Home Society who have suffered silently. After travelling to Memphis, Lisa and Judy gather with the adoptees and their families who tell their adoption story. This book is the recollection, memories, and artifacts of children who were adopted through Tennessee Children’s Home Society that was run by the nefarious Georgia Tann. The stories told are the stories of hope when life has been stolen. While some of the adoption stories deeply benefited the child, the cards dealt to other children were not always in their favor. Sometimes sweet and sometimes appalling, each separate account gives the adoptees a voice that will not be forgotten. The chapters are organized by child, and each chapter tells the story of a child who was adopted through the Tennessee Children’s Home Society in Memphis. It revolves around their adoption, what happened to them in their adopted home, and the reunion with their birth family much later in life (if one occurred). The book is full of supportive photocopies and photographs. This does not entail memories of Georgia Tann or the heinous acts that occurred at her orphanage. There is only one child in this book who can account for remembering Georgia Tann, but it does not focus on Tann or the orphanage environment; rather it centers around the adoption, her new adopted family, and the reunion with the biological family. I recommend this to readers interested in true crime and adoption, and for readers that enjoyed "Before We Were Yours". If you have not read "Before We Were Yours", I recommend knowing a bit about Georgia Tann and the Tennessee Children's Home Society beforehand. Many thanks to Random House- Ballantine, Lisa Wingate, Judy Christie, and NetGalley for an advanced copy. Opinions are my own.
Anonymous 4 days ago
I absolutely loved this book. This is a must read for anyone who previously read Lisa Wingate's book "Before We Were Yours." Judy Christie handles the poignant, true stories of numerous victims of Georgia Tann and the Tennessee Children's Home Society with tact and sensitivity. I'm so thankful these folks and their families had an opportunity to tell their stories before they were forgotten.
Anonymous 8 days ago
Have you read Before We Were Yours? If the answer to that is no, you need to drop whatever it is you are doing, go get yourself a copy, and start reading. Then come back to read this review. If the answer is yes, then you know all about Georgia Tann and the horrific things she did while running the Tennessee Children’s Home Society in Memphis Tennessee. Selling children, stealing babies and putting them up for adoption, letting the kids in her care live in filth and die from sickness and lack of care. She made millions off of selling children in adoptions, all while having the legal system players in her back pocket. Where are those children today? This book is their story. It’s the story of those adopted out by Georgia Tann, or of their families as they searched to find out more about the adoption that lead them to where they are today. These stories are heartbreaking, but also hopeful. I am so glad that so many people were able to find out more about their family and get to visit with others that had been through a similar adoption process. This book is truly beautiful.
suereadsit 10 days ago
Thank you to Net Galley and Random House for this ARC in exchange for my honest review. I also read Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate, and it left me wanting more information on this terrible period. To buy and sell children, to determine which are more desirable, to treat some horribly, and to have enough power to keep this going is heartbreaking. This book talks about some of the families, the children (now senior citizens), and how this affected them. In many cases, the family with whom they were placed were wonderful for them, but anyway you look at it, this was a piece of history that should never have been allowed to happen. Kudos to the authors because this is exactly the book I needed after the first.
Gatorgirl8 11 days ago
This is the true stories of adoption victims of Georgia Tann and the Tennessee Children's Home Society. Lisa Wingate saw a show about Georgia Tann and the TCHS and she felt compelled to write a book about what had happened but using fictional characters. That book is titled "Before We Were Yours" and you should read that book first. It's very compelling and you will be hearbroken but you won't be able to put the book down. Adoptees read the book and realized it told their story!! They contacted Lisa Wingate and to make a long story short, Lisa and Judy Christie decided to write a book titled "Before and After". This book tells the true life stories of adoptees and their children/grandchildren who want to know what happened, how were they adopted, do they have other biological siblings and what about their biological parents? What had Georgia Tann done to have them adopted? Were they stolen at birth, kidnapped out of their own yard? Why did their birth mom and dad give them away so easily? It is ultimately heart breaking and joyful. I had a hard time putting the book down. I suggest you read this book, you won't be able to put it down either!
swissgranny 12 days ago
After reading Lisa Wingate’s Before We Were Yours, a moving story based on the tragic real-life Tennessee Children’s Home Society adoption scheme headed by Georgia Tann, I was very interested in reading more about the adoptees. Before and After is a nonfiction account of some of the victims of Tann’s greed and corruption. It was interesting to read their stories and thoughts about their lives and how they were affected by the adoptions. Many of them were able to connect with siblings and other members of their birth families with varying results. The book is well written and kept my interest throughout. It’s a fitting and touching follow-up to Wingate’s story. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
Joanna Ellis 14 days ago
This follow-up book is great for fans of Lisa Wingate's previous book "Before We Were Yours". This is however a non-fiction account of families who have similar experiences that were addressed in the author's earlier book - surrounding adoptions facilitated by Georgia Tann as a part of the Tennessee Children's Home Society (TCHS). It centers on a group of (now adult) people who are gathering together for a reunion - to gather and tell their stories. Heartbreaking accounts of children stolen from their families, deception and corruption occurring in these adoptions breaks my heart. Having read the previous book I had hoped that the accounts were purely fictional, and as such possibly somewhat sensationalized. But after reading the retellings of real people's experiences I see that though Wingate's previous book was fiction, it was absolutely based in the true stories that took place in the TCHS. As I read I asked myself if I had been placed for adoption through this situation would I want to search out the truth? How would I have reacted to finding a whole other family history that I had carried with me in my genetic makeup....? It made me really think about what makes us who we are? Is it the genetic makeup we come to earth with or the environment we are raised in? I did enjoy reading the accounts of finding these people who had previously been adopted, and I'm grateful for them to have these experiences to link them to others like them. Finding a common bond, and to connect through hard experiences is a gift. The #1 thing I took away from this book is the importance of recording our own stories - whatever they are. "This is the message Lisa emphasized throughout the weekend. "The saddest thing is when our stories die with us." she says. "People so often say to me, 'I wish we'd written the family stories down.'" I will say, I enjoyed the story-telling aspect of the fictional accounts a little better....but in taking this in as a non-fiction account, I still enjoyed reading it.
Christinekline 14 days ago
If you loved “Before We Were Yours”, you will love this non fiction follow up! This non fiction follow up to “Before We Were Yours”, which was a fictionalized account of Georgia Tann and the Tennessee Children’s Home Society, tells the real life stories of many of the adoptees, now in their 70’s and 80’s and their journeys to find their roots. There are so many heart wrenching stories of reunions with siblings they never knew and so much time lost. Some of the stories involved the next generation, the children of the adoptees, trying to find out more about their backgrounds. Although the memories all have Georgia Tann in common, the way that the individual stories played out in their lives are many and varied. Many of the adoptees, while recognizing that their lives were much improved by the adoption, shared a common feeling of never feeling completely whole. The reunions that were held with the “survivors” and their new found siblings were uplifting, sometimes sad, but also joyous. A very emotional read! I have read and enjoyed many of Lisa Wingate’s books, and received an advanced copy of this one as one of her Book Ambassadors. I highly recommend reading “Before We Were Yours” before reading “Before and After” by Lisa Wingate and Judy Christie. Both books will touch your heart!
Shoeguru 15 days ago
I have not had a chance to read Before We Were Yours and I thought this book did an amazing job outlining the reality of what happened and the actual impact to many of the survivors in the history of the children's home. It is unfathomable what occurred with all of the people that Tann networked with. There was a story of how children were taken from uneducated teenagers and told that their child had passed away that really hit me hard. I am now going to have to go back and read the book that this piece originated from soon. Thanks for the ARC, Net Galley.
PattiLWA 18 days ago
"Before and After" is the sequel to "Before We Were Yours" and tells the real-life stories of the adoptees that were victims of the adoption scandal run by Georgia Tann at the Tennessee Children’s Home Society in Memphis. The interviews of the adoptees and their family members are heartbreaking, but filled with hope and, in many cases, healing. The "reunion" was spawned by many of the adoptees reading Lisa's "Before We Were Yours" and contacting her to tell her they were one of the many children affected by Georgia's deceptive adoption practices. The stories behind each interview are amazing. The connections and friendships made by the adoptees and their families during the "reunion" give hope for healing and for finding lost relatives. I definitely recommend this book, especially after reading "Before We Were Yours." This is a part of history that I don't think many people were aware of. I received this book free from Ballentine Books in exchange for my honest opinion.
Anonymous 19 days ago
I found this book very powerful and moving which is why I am giving this book five stars a major flaw in the book. The flaw was I did not read Lisa Wingate's novel, Before We Were Yours, and I knew nothing of the scandal that the surrounded Georgia Tann and The Tennessee Children's Home(It may be that the scandal is not as familiar to people from the Northeast of the United States as from the South. FYI, my mother was a social worker who for many years worked in legal adoption in Massachusetts and she was not aware of George Tann scandal). The book would have been much better if the book had an introduction about the history of The Tennessee Children's Home rather than having to find out about it piecemeal in the book. However, once I got into the book and the story of the adult children who were sold by Georgia Tann, I felt very moved. Georgia Tann bought and stole children from poor people and single mothers and sold them to wealthy parents many of whom would not be eligible to adopt children through the conventional methods. The true stories of the children who were adopted from Georgia Tann seem to get sadder as the book progresses. Many of the initial stories reminded me of conventional some stories of children who were adopted by more conventional means in that the children feel different from their adoptive family and feel there have been family secrets. Many of the children that were adopted by through Tamm were adopted by parents who by the standards of the time were too old to have children. Many of these children suffered from having older parents who died when they were young. Since George Tamm bought/stole children from the poor and sold them to the rich, many of these children appear to have benefitted economically from the adoption. Perhaps that the children "benefited" financially is what enabled Tamm to continue her practices for about twenty years. Some pictures of the adopted children were included in the book and many of them are very cute(some people felt that Tamm went after good looking children). The stories of the children who were adopted through Tamm seem to get grimmer as the book progresses. Some remembered their previous families and one was given improper medical care from The Tennessee Children's Home run by Georgia Tann and may have been died if her adoptive parents did not find her in the home and want to adopt her. The book is very powerful and moving but it can be hard to get into if one does not have a background in the subject matter. I was given a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
sandralb 19 days ago
The best story I read in 2018 was Lisa Wingate's Before We Were Yours. I was blown away when I read about the Tennessee Children's Home Society and Georgia Tanns. From the 1920's until 1950 Georgia Tanns ran a so called adaption home. In 1950, once the truth came out, she was closed down. When I finished Lisa's book, I spent the next several days reading everything I could find on this subject. When I heard there would be another book, I could not wait to get my hands on it. This nonfiction follow up story by Judy Christie and Lisa is very well done and quit interesting. These incredible real life stories told by the survivors or their loved ones are incredible. Many people read Lisa's book and the story she told resonated with them. With all the emails and people talking with her after a book signing, it was realized that the adoptees story needed to be told. It is hard to believe that this could have happened and continued for thirty years. Bringing forth these accounts and getting the truth out there, let's pray this will never happen again. I recommend this book as well as Before We Were Yours, if you haven't already read it. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Random House Publishing through NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
Mozie 20 days ago
Compelling true story by Lisa Wingate and Judy Christie focusing on the surviving children, now adults, who lived through the horror of Georgia Tann and the Tennessee Children's Home Society. After reading Lisa Wingate's historical fiction account of this infamous time in our American history, I knew I had to read the true account of babies and children being stolen and sold.
Anonymous 23 days ago
Lisa Wingate's fictional tale, Before We Were Yours, captivated my heart completely. Then I read Before and After... the real stories of the real people who lives were forever changed. Compelling in every way, these stories speak hope and strength with inspiring raw truth in this real-life sequel.
Sheila Keeler 23 days ago
It’s difficult to write a review about Before and After without first mentioning Before We Were Yours. Before We Were Yours brought to our attention the shocking scandal of lost and stolen children who were taken in by the Tennessee Children’s Home Society and then sold for adoption. I had personally never heard of the scandal until I read the book. It was heart-wrenching to realize that this had actually taken place (I know parts were fiction) and it haunted me for days and weeks after reading. I wasn’t sure I was ready to read Before and After, but I’m so glad I did. Yes, it’s still heart breaking but I was truly amazed how Before We Were Yours opened the door for so many orphans who had survived to step forward and tell their story. Their story, which in telling, releases part of their anguish, loss, and frustration but also leans toward their faith, family, hope, peace and the love that binds all hearts. Before and After provides a sense of healing, peace and hope. It’s truly inspiring to learn from such heartache love abounds. I’m so thankful for the two gifted authors, Judy Christie and Lisa Wingate for your wonderful gift of storytelling and bringing a sense of hope to all who suffered. I would definitely recommend this book! If you haven’t read Before We Were Yours, you might want to read it first, but Before and After will definitely touch your heart. GrannablessedX4
Anonymous 23 days ago
You will be moved to tears, overcome with emotion, and at times feel a bit of rage as you read through these stories of the survivors of the system of political crookedness. It's difficult to read or understand how humanity can stoop so low and go so far unchecked and unattended as lives are destroyed. It's also interesting to read how God can take the most tragic circumstances and many times turn them into something positive and good for those who believe. In a way it reminds me of the story of Joseph, although who sold into slavery as a young man, held tight to his faith, until God turned his circumstances around for good! Has any good been brought out of all this? Only God really knows, but one thing is for sure, there is a lesson here to be learned about too much power and control in the hands of the wrong people, about love and forgiveness for those who are able to find it in their hearts to forgive. Will justice every truly be served... One thing is for certain, this book, these stories shared, are eye opening. They are reminders not to forget, to honor those who have struggled, suffered and experienced heartache. To do our best to prevent this from happening again. Thank you Lisa and Judy for writing this story! Thank you to those who shared their stories so we could be more informed. Thank you to Ballentine Books for publishing these stories. I received a copy of this book courtesy of the author and publisher. I was not asked to review positively and all opinions are my own.
bookluvr35SL 23 days ago
This is the non-fiction follow-up to Lisa Wingate's "Before We Were Yours". I don't read a lot of non-fiction, but since I read that book, I was interested in reading the real life version of events. The book details the lives of several of Georgia Tann's victims if you will, from her Tennessee Children’s Home Society in Memphis. The circumstances of how they got there all varied as did their adoptions and their lives growing up. Many of them did not know they were adopted, and those that did knew nothing about their birth parent until Lisa's book came out. It was really interesting reading all of the different stories. Some were heart-breaking, some were heart-warming. If you read "Before We Were Yours" you will want to read this, and even if you didn't, if you enjoy non-fiction you will want to grab a copy.
Anonymous 23 days ago
If you read Before We Were Yours then this book is a must read for you ! So many people contacted the author after it came out that she felt she needed to do something. And do something she did. She didn't have to do anything, but she was so moved and touched by everyoone and their stories that this book came to be. And how lucky are we that we get to share in it. It is at times heartbreaking, sad, tragic, maddening but in the end, there is hope. It is beautifully written and told in a way we can all relate to the unimaginable events that really happened. Another book that will stay with me for quite some time after reading it.
PattyD77 24 days ago
When I first learned about this new book which would tell the stories of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society (TCHS) adoptees and their families, I was intrigued and curious. As my family's historian and genealogist, I have experienced the difficulty of telling a delicate family story and giving it justice. As I started to read Before and After, I was thrilled. Judy and Lisa got it so beautifully right!!! They found the balance in telling these families' stories with sensitivity and truth the way that these stories should be told. Lisa’s first book, Before We Were Yours, has touched the lives of so many people in such a positive way of bringing together families and, I believe, has helped bring resolution for many of these folks. Judy and Lisa are both amazingly, talented authors and together they have joined forces to write this a sequel with creativity and thoughtfulness. Congratulations ladies!
dlvandruff 24 days ago
This is an account of the children that passed through the Tennessee Children's Home Society, that was run by Georgia Tann. Georgia Tann had many people in office that were more than happy to turn a bling eye to her adoption agency. She had a network of doctors, social workers, boarding house owners and even a governor. Through this she was able to adopt out or sell children out of the TCHS. These children were either legitimately obtained or kidnapped. Their names were changed and parents names were changed. Due to the chaos of all the paperwork, when the adoption records were finally opened, factual information was hard to come by. The children too sick to adopt out were buried in the Homes grounds after death. This book tells of the struggles some children had growing. The difficulty in knowing who their family were and even a sense of belonging in their adopted family. These are stories told in their own words.
357800 24 days ago
"Parents were permitted to return a child like a piece of clothing that did not fit." BEFORE AND AFTER is a real life sequel to BEFORE WE WERE YOURS as Julie Christie teams up with Lisa Wingate to bring us mind-boggling stories and family secrets as we revisit the Memphis Tennessee Children's Home Society (TCHS) child trafficking scandal of the self-serving and untouchable Georgia Tann. .......read excerpts of letters from the nasty monster: "Take him and try him for a week." .......see baby pictures of those now grown. .......hear stories of kidnapping from the now elderly children and relatives. .......visit the historic Elmwood cemetery of those who were, but are no longer forgotten. .......attend the reunion of many brought together. And OMGOSH, hear the mystery behind the night the babies all died in the maternity ward....of the nineteen children buried who died while in the so-called care of Tann....and of a little "undesirable" born tongue-tied who had a savior. So much good has resulted from Lisa Wingate writing BEFORE WE WERE YOURS, and although some adoptions actually worked out well, so many children went to poor homes with troubled marriages, so many lost contact with siblings, so many young mothers were deceived....and ALL so a "lower than lowlife" woman with political clout could rake in immense wealth. So sad and disheartening such corruption could go unexposed for 30 long years, 1924-1950, but then Tann knew all the tricks. Many thanks for the invite to read from Penguin Random House via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
luvnjesus 25 days ago
“Before and After” is a follow to “Before We Were Yours” by authors Judy Christie and Lisa Wingate tells the story of Georgia Tann and her scandal with the black-market baby business at the Tennessee Children’s Home Society in Memphis. Tann talked mothers into giving up their babies permanently instead of putting them in foster care. Shame on Georgia and those associated with her that took part in a huge scandal that involved orphans who were tailored to the wish list of eager parents-those and hid the fact that many were not orphans at all, but stolen children of poor families, desperate single mothers, and women told in maternity words that their babies died. The children were stolen or kidnapped for Tann to sell them for profit. I fell in love with each of the adoptees. It is beyond comprehension the lives affected by a woman who thought she was God and made money from her scheme. As I turned the last page of the book my heart felt heavy wondering how I could help. Lisa Wingate and Judy Christie did an outstanding job capturing the words and stories of all the families especially the four sisters. I highly recommend “Before and After.” I received a copy of the book from the author’s in exchange for an honest review.
Nannymac215 25 days ago
If you have read Before We Were Yours, you must read Before and After. The book tells the stories of children who were in the same situation as Rill and her siblings. It is heartwarming to read their true stories and also the reunions with their biological families. If you haven’t read Before We Were Yours, run, don’t walk and get it for yourself. Such a wonderful story you will want to read over and over again.
Nicnac63 25 days ago
Every now and then I like to take a break from emotional fiction books, so I’ll switch to something non-fiction to put my heart on reset. Well, that wasn’t the case with Before and After. The real-life stories in this book are incredibly moving, memorable, and emotional. I can’t fathom how Georgia Tann’s soul and heart was hardened so bristly that she dispassionately and mechanically stole and traded babies. I truly can’t fathom it. And I can only imagine the fear of the children as they were snatched away, and the desperation, pain, and lifelong heartbreak of the birth parents. Her heartlessness and carelessness, and authorities turning a blind eye to her money-making horrendous “business” resulted in broken families, shattered parents, many children dying and being mistreated before finding a home, and others suffering awful upbringings once they did. Despite her evil schemes, some of the adoptees were raised by loving families. * If you’ve read Lisa Wingate’s Before We Were Yours, I highly recommend this non-fiction addition. It tells the real-life survival stories of victims of Georgia Tann and her Tennessee Children’s Home Society. ** If you haven’t read Lisa Wingate’s Before We Were Yours, it would be highly beneficial to read it first. You won’t regret it. It caused every nerve ending in my body to prickle, and gave my soul the major f-e-e-l-s. With vivid scenes, remarkable characters, a momentous historical scandal, and lessons of faith, family, friendship, and freedom, it’s on my list of the most memorable, heart-searing books I’ve read. Source: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley.
SusanMPeterson 25 days ago
Even though Before We Were Yours was a work of fiction, I couldn’t help but wonder what happened to the real families who were the victims of Georgia Tann and the Tennessee Children’s Home society. Were any of the siblings reunited, were any of the parents able to see their children again? What kinds of scars were left behind? When Before We Were Yours was published, it garnered a lot of attention from the public, and it also provided insight to adoptees regarding their personal stories. Judy Christie and Lisa Wingate met with some of these families, listening to their stories, documenting their family histories, and bringing some of these families together. Their accounts are sad, as you’d expect, but they also show resilience and determination. I loved reading these stories...I was incredibly moved and often brought to tears by not only what the adoptees endured, but what was learned about the birth mothers as well. Before and After is the perfect follow up to Before We Were Yours, and I applaud the authors for their compassion and persistence in sharing these poignant stories with us.