Before and After: the Incredible Real-Life Stories of Orphans Who Survived the Tennessee Children’s Home Society is co-written by Judy Christie and Lisa Wingate. Before reading this factual novel, make sure to read the fictional story that set this book in motion – Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate! By reading both books, you will get a better idea of the lives that were changed as children were adopted, many under deceitful circumstances, during the years 1920-1950 through the Tennessee Children’s Home Society in Memphis.
Georgia Tann put over 5,000 children into adoptive homes during her 30 years as director of the TCHS. She hid the fact that many of these children were stolen from their birth parents, or gotten through blackmail or coercion. The adoptive parents, unable to have children or unable to adopt through traditional agencies, knew nothing of Georgia Tann’s activities until an investigation was launched in 1950 by a new Tennessee governor. Before and After tells the actual stories recounted by some of these children and the effects the adoptions had on their lives, both good and bad. It was really heartwarming to see how families were connected after years of separation!
In Before We Were Yours, Rill Foss and her four siblings are kidnapped from their Mississippi shantyboat one evening while their parents are attending to an emergency. They end up as wards of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society and their lives are changed forever. This is a terrific historical fiction novel!
I hope you get a chance to read both of these books! They are not terribly long, but the stories are filled with hope and the answering of questions for so many of these families. I am so glad that Lisa Wingate and Judy Christie have documented this story!