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7 hours 57 minutesThe 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 reachFrom the 1920s to 1950 Georgia Tann ran a black market baby business at the Tennessee Children's Home Society in Memphis She offered up than 5000 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 diedThe 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 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


10 thoughts on “Before and After The Incredible Real Life Stories of Orphans Who Survived the Tennessee Children's Home Society

  1. says:

    I was so taken with Lisa Wingate’s moving novel Before We Were Yours so I was definitely drawn to reading this nonfiction account It focuses on real life stories of some adults who were victims of Georgia Tann’s corrupt money making operation the Tennessee Children’s Home Society that sold babies and young children from the 1920’s to 1950 Stolen children falsified records illegal adoptions that cost 500 vs 7 for the state cost at that time “An 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 euivalent of between five and ten million dollars” This book came to be when a woman contacted Wingate after reading the novel to say she was one of those babies Journalist Judy Christy was brought on board by Wingate to interview the people who had come forward as having been part of a Tann’s scheme They plan a reunion of some of the orphans Christy skillfully and tenderly interviews those who can come together for the reunion to share their storiesA desire to find siblings know their family history medical and otherwise find out the truth of what Georgia Tann did to them their mothers were motivating factors to search out their pasts The years they lost are poignantly reflected when a dying man meets his brother “We didn’t get to play as children but we can play in heaven” Some of the stories were joyful when they meet siblings they never knew they had or a mother who never wanted to give up them up There were some who didn’t want to be united with their relatives Some who didn’t want to share their stories Some were grateful for the people who adopted them knowing that they had a better life than they would have Some did not have that better life Their stories are moving You will meet all of these people here While this focuses on children that were adopted through Georgia Tann’s corrupt money making operation it speaks of the journey of many other adopted people to find their families I was particularly touched by these stories because last year through Ancesrtycom we discovered a niece who had been searching for her birth parents for years I won’t go into details here other than to say that her father was one of my brothers in law who had passed away The meetings with our family were emotional and the connection has continued Unfortunately it wasn’t the same when she found her birth mother They met shared information but her mother does not want to have a relationship going forward Sometimes making the connection after years doesn’t always work I highly recommended to those who were touched by Lisa Wingate’s novel and anyone who might be interested in the journeys of some adopted children to their adulthood and back to their roots I received an advanced copy of this book from Ballantine Books through NetGalley


  2. says:

    NOW AVAILABLEThis is the follow up non fiction book to “Before We Were Yours” by Lisa Wingate I would recommend that if you haven’t read that novel you investigate the story of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society from the 1920’s through 1950 before reading this book it doesn’t really work as a stand alone If you are looking for a lot information about Georgia Tann and the daily operations of the orphanage you won’t find a lot of that here This book is devoted to the adopteesMs Wingate teamed up with journalist Judy Christie and they were able to find and document 15 people who had been adopted from this orphanage Because of the time frame the adoptees that they found were all infants with one exception at the time they were adopted and had no knowledge of their time spent in the home most were probably only there for a few days or weeks Most of the abuse suffered in the home fell on the shoulders of the older children living there many of which were separated from their siblings during the adoptions and languished in the home for months or even yearsWhen Before We Were Yours was published some individuals who had known they were adopted started to dig deeper into their background uestioning grandparents aunts friends of their parents etc When they started to contact Ms Wingate she felt compelled to write this follow up telling their storiesTo uote from the blurb 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 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”As “Before We Were Yours” was one of my favorite books of 2018 I thoroughly enjoyed this followup and can highly recommend it If you are like many readers you will probably find yourself on the internet delving into the history of that terrible home that was allowed to exist for so many years and caused so much emotional and physical pain to childrenI received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through EdelweissThe book is set to publish October 22 2019


  3. says:

    How does someone choose to prey on the most vulnerable? Go against all the instincts we have to protect children and market them like products? How does a community turn a blind eye? What happens when you find out that your name was not always your name? That you might have been snatched from a front yard bought and sold taken from a young poor mother who could not afford to battle a corrupt woman Georgia Tann who ran the Tennessee Children's Home Society A black market adoption agency that operated for 30 years using bribes corrupt officials and sold children to those wanting to adopt with a policy that allowed new parents to return a child if it was not the right fit for them Many parents were duped coerced and bullied into giving up their children Other women were told their newborn died after birth only to have the newborn whisked away and sold Others had their children disappear from their front lawns Many infants and toddlers died while in the care of the Tennessee Children's Home Society while awaiting to be adopted” If you have read Before We Were Yours you will be familiar with Tann and her illegal adoption agency That work of fiction brought made many people aware of the horrors that Tann and the Tennessee Children's Home Society broughtWhile reading that book many who were affected sought out the Author to share their personal stories of how they learned they were adopted how this affected them their search for the truth and their reunions with siblings they never knew they had Wingate met with many of the adoptees and teamed up with Christie in order to tell their stories about their lives how learning they were adopted affected them and their relationships with their adoptive parents Fearing and yearning to know about their own personal history who their biological parents were if they had other siblings and the circumstances surrounding how Tann obtained themOne woman who was adopted was told by her adoptive father when she was an adult that Clearly you were beautiful but you were the saddest baby I had ever seen Another woman received a letter in the mail revealing that she had been adopted and shared When I got the letter it was such a shock I had lived a lie I wasn't who I thought I was These 15 individual stories are just a glimpse into the lives of the children who were affected Their search for answers and their reunion with relatives is movingWe never lose those whose stories remain with usThis was a wonderful follow up book to Before We Were Yours The 15 stories are the heart and soul of this book Their individual paths their search for truth and the affect it had on their lives once they learned about their own adoptions I'll let their individual stories talk for themselves If you enjoyed Before We Were Yours I highly recommend this book I think it is beneficial to read that book first but not necessary You can also learn about the Tennessee Children’s Home Society and Tann online Thank you to Random House Publishing Group Ballantine and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review All the thoughts and opinions are my own


  4. says:

    Evil comes in many shapes and sizes but as to gender the female sex is in the minority Not in this case though because Georgia Tann was pure evil in a women's body The harm she caused to so many women and children can not be underestimated Although she did not operate alone many make lawyers politicians and judges were active participant So evil had much helpMany of those involved first found about about the children's home in Tennessee when they read Wingates novel Before we were yours Sometimes in book groups sometimes by friends who alerted them to this scandalous and heartbreaking affair Some wanted a reunion of those who were left some just wanted their stories told which is what this book is aboutTheir stories are heartbreaking although some realize they were probably better off with their adopted families most felt a sense of not belonging something missing Some have sought out their birth information and in many cases this was not to be had easily Some sought out new family members finding brothers and sisters they never knew My lower than many readers rating reflects not their stories but the way this was written In between stories there is an italicized section which I felt was unnecessary lending drama to a situation that was dramatic enough on its own


  5. says:

    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 seeking to reunite the surviving adoptees with other surviving victims of Georgia Tann's Tennessee Children's Home Society who have suffered silently After travelling to Memphis Lisa and journalist Judy Christie 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 To this day I search Ancestrycom and use my DNA to discover if there is some familial connection somewhere If I could just learn the truth of my mother's story I might find some peace Email from an adoptee's child The chapters are organized by adoptee 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 photographsThis does not entail memories of Georgia Tann or the heinous acts that occurred at her orphanage There is only one adoptee 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 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 the advanced copy in exchange for my reviewFor information on the subjectAbout Georgia TannBaby Snatcher


  6. says:

    Parents were permitted to return a child like a piece of clothing that did not fit BEFORE AND AFTER is a real life seuel 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 Tennessee Children's Home Society TCHS child trafficking scandal of the self serving and untouchable Georgia Tannread excerpts of letters from the nasty monster Take him and try him for a weeksee baby pictures of those now grownhear stories of kidnapping from the now elderly children and relativesvisit the Elmwood Cemetery of those who were but are no longer forgottenattend the reunion of many brought together And OMGOSH hear the mystery behind the night the babies all died in the maternity wardof the nineteen children buried who died while in the so called care of Tannand 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 deceivedand ALL so a lower than lowlife woman with political clout could take in immense wealthSo sad and disheartening that such corruption could go unexposed for 30 long years 1924 1950 but then Tann knew all the tricksMany thanks for the early invite to read from PENGUIN Random House via NetGalley in exchange for review


  7. says:

    Busy and rushed with deadlines Judy Christie and Lisa Wingate's Before and After felt a bit disjointed Their hearts were in the right place and many fans of Wingate's Before We Were Yours including me were eager to read the personal stories of the many brave adoptees willing to be interviewed I am a proponent of open adoptions and feel keeping secrets does harm than good Recommended to all who have interest in what happened to some of the children caught up in Georgia Tann's many years of adoption fraud I can only hope that these adult victims will continue to meet and that others will seek the answers they need to have a clearer picture of their family history


  8. says:

    I loved Before They Were Yours by Lisa Wingate and looked forward to reading these ‘Before and After’ stories of real victims touched by the Georgia Tann black market adoption scandal Unfortunately I only made it halfway through the book Too much superfluous writing about the authors their efforts to put together a victims’ reunion and repeatedly plug Before They Were Yours with less focus on the victims I felt like I was left hanging at the end of each spotlighted victim’s narrative


  9. says:

    Honestly I’m a bit disappointed with this read At times the author’s voice opinions responses daily schedule book promotion and preparations for the reunion greatly overshadowed the voices of those affected by Georgia Tan and the Tennessee Children’s Home Society I was strangely unemotional for such an emotional topic I did love hearing the adoptee’s stories of their journeys to finding the truth of their childhood trauma and search for their birth families But ultimately I was left wanting a bit from this book


  10. says:

    Before and After by Judy Christie and Lisa Wingate is a non fiction follow up to Before We were Yours by Lisa WingateThe story of illegal adoptions and stolen children and the heartbreaking accounts of the terrible treatment of children and unmarried mothersThank you to NetGalley and uercus Books for my e copy in exchange for an honest review