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

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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 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.


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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 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.

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

  1. 4 out of 5

    Angela M

    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 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 equivalent 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 stories. A 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 Ancesrty.com 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. 4 out of 5

    Dorie - Cats&Books :)

    ***NOW AVAILABLE*** This 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 more 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 adoptees. ***NOW AVAILABLE*** This 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 more 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 adoptees. Ms. 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 years. When Before We Were Yours was published some individuals who had known they were adopted started to dig deeper into their background, questioning grandparents, aunts, friends of their parents, etc. When they started to contact Ms. Wingate she felt compelled to write this follow up telling their stories. To quote 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 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.” 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 children. I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through Edelweiss. The book is set to publish October 22, 2019.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    " 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 " 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 brought. While 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 them. One 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 moving. "We never lose those whose stories remain with us." This 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 more 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. 4 out of 5

    Paige

    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 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 Ancestry.com 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 photographs. This 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 review. For more information on the subject: About Georgia Tann Baby Snatcher

  5. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    "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 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 "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 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 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 take in immense wealth.So sad and disheartening that such corruption could go unexposed for 30 long years (1924-1950) but then Tann knew all the tricks.Many thanks for the early invite to read from PENGUIN Random House via NetGalley in exchange for review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Pauline

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

  7. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    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 more harm than good. Recommended to all who have interest in what happened to some of the children caught up in Georgia Tann's many 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 more 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. 4 out of 5

    Mary Jackson _TheMaryReader

    Oh my where do I even start on this review. First did you all read Wingates fiction book Before We Were Yours? If you answered NO you need to go get a copy of it and read it first. Now on to the real life stories of the babys from Tennessee childrens home and how they are doing now. Wingate interviewed them and they share their stories. Wait until you read the chapter Seven- Dollar Baby. Wait until you get to the end of this book. Wingate has out done herself, this story telling getting to the Oh my where do I even start on this review. First did you all read Wingates fiction book Before We Were Yours? If you answered NO you need to go get a copy of it and read it first. Now on to the real life stories of the babys from Tennessee childrens home and how they are doing now. Wingate interviewed them and they share their stories. Wait until you read the chapter Seven- Dollar Baby. Wait until you get to the end of this book. Wingate has out done herself, this story telling getting to the heart of what happened and making many aware of what happened. Many had to idea about this until Wingate wrote her frist book Before We Were Yours. I HIGHLY recommend this 5 star book. I plan to share it with may people. The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

  9. 5 out of 5

    ♥ Sandi ❣

    4.5 stars Such a heartbreaking book. The non-fiction story behind the fictional book Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate. Same author, beside a co-writer, who follows up on the true story behind the horrific reign of Georgia Tann, owner and evil matron behind the Tennessee Children's Home Society. After the first book Before We Were Yours was published in 2017 the author was inundated with messages from people who were either part of the Tennessee Children's Home Society, or had loved ones who 4.5 stars Such a heartbreaking book. The non-fiction story behind the fictional book Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate. Same author, beside a co-writer, who follows up on the true story behind the horrific reign of Georgia Tann, owner and evil matron behind the Tennessee Children's Home Society. After the first book Before We Were Yours was published in 2017 the author was inundated with messages from people who were either part of the Tennessee Children's Home Society, or had loved ones who were. People who had been given up for adoption, people who were accidentally (but on purpose by Georgia Tann) signed away by parents, people who were out right stolen as babies with their parents then told that they died at birth. At that point, overwhelmed by the outpouring of people involved, Wingate sought the help of friend and author Judy Christie. With the help of others, Christie then put together a weekend conference for the people who were still looking for their natural birth parents and siblings. The conference was held in Memphis, the home of the now defunct Tennessee Children's Home Society. The adoptees themselves were in their 70's and 80's, but for many it was the family, some two and three generations later, that were looking for answers. It was around this Memphis weekend that Christie began talking one on one to the people who were passed off as orphans, and to the families of the adoptees to gather the sad, sorrowful stories of their lost identities. For even those who ended up with a great childhood and wonderful adoptive parents, felt a loss, a feeling of not belonging, an aloneness. This book is full of those stories, along with the greedy life and death of Georgia Tann, the way that laws and legislation blocked knowledge from the seekers, and the unfortunate deaths of so many children who were not strong enough to survive the Tennessee Children's Home Society.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Deanne Patterson

    The nonfiction follow up to Lisa Wingate's wildly popular "Before We Were Yours" . Lisa's book started the ball rolling in reuniting a lot of people with their families and it's still continuing today. The truth comes out as people that were adopted from The Tennessee Children's Home Society from the 1920's to 1950's tell their stories. So many of the children placed there were stolen when desperate mother's thought they were just placing their children there until they got back on their feet. The nonfiction follow up to Lisa Wingate's wildly popular "Before We Were Yours" . Lisa's book started the ball rolling in reuniting a lot of people with their families and it's still continuing today. The truth comes out as people that were adopted from The Tennessee Children's Home Society from the 1920's to 1950's tell their stories. So many of the children placed there were stolen when desperate mother's thought they were just placing their children there until they got back on their feet. Once the children were in the TCHS they were never returned to their parents. Georgia Tann ran the TCHS like a business, someone wanted a child, she made sure there was a child there with their specifications and believe me the adopting family paid dearly for them too, many times over the state adoption fee. Reading the stories in their own words, the people that were adopted tell their stories. Many remember their birth parents and being torn from siblings to never see them again. There are stories of people after decades of being apart how they came to be reunited with birth parents and siblings. Many though are still searching for their original families and it has affected their whole lives. It's truly heartbreaking what Georgia Tann has done to families, all in the name of greed! Expected publication: October 22nd 2019 by Ballantine Books. I was given a complimentary copy. Thank you. All opinions expressed are my own.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Staci

    Before and After is a good example of how a work of fiction can make an impact. The individual stories shared are a blend of heart breaking and heart warming. I cannot imagine the struggles these families have experienced.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tami

    Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate opened a Pandora’s box of emotions for many families that had an adoption touch their lives in some way. After publishing Before We were Yours, Wingate began to hear from adoptees or their family members who believed they were adopted out of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society in Memphis. Some of the adoptees, young as they were, even remember Georgia Tann. Feeling that the stories were important, Wingate enlisted the help of an author and friend, Judy Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate opened a Pandora’s box of emotions for many families that had an adoption touch their lives in some way. After publishing Before We were Yours, Wingate began to hear from adoptees or their family members who believed they were adopted out of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society in Memphis. Some of the adoptees, young as they were, even remember Georgia Tann. Feeling that the stories were important, Wingate enlisted the help of an author and friend, Judy Christie, and together they put together a collection of stories from several adoptees. Reading each individual’s account of their lives and the families involved was often bittersweet. While many of the adoptees felt that they did have a better or easier life because of the adoption, they also mourned for the parents they never got to know and the siblings they didn’t have growing up. Some of the sweetest stories were those of siblings who were reunited in their later life and kept their connection until they died. Most heartbreaking was reading about the babies and children that died under Tann’s care that are not named or recognized in any way. It was also sad to read about the few adoptees that have not been able to find anything about their family history. One thing I found fascinating was the role book clubs played in helping these stories come about and how a simple mention of Before We Were Yours moved an adoptee or a family member to read it and become encouraged to find out more. Before & After is a wonderful follow-up to Before We Were Yours and I’m happy to recommend it to readers who love genealogy, history and family relationships. Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine for allowing me to read an advance copy and offer an honest review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Karen Rush

    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.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Henderson

    The true stories behind the book "Before We Were Yours" by Lisa Wingate. Authors Lisa Wingate and Judy Christie share the heartbreaking truths of children who were used by the Tennessee Children's Home Society and Georgia Tann. Through research and conversations with family members of the TCHS children and at times, the actual children, truth is brought into the open. My heart aches for each person affected by the deceit and greed involved in selling and buying children. Thank you to Lisa and The true stories behind the book "Before We Were Yours" by Lisa Wingate. Authors Lisa Wingate and Judy Christie share the heartbreaking truths of children who were used by the Tennessee Children's Home Society and Georgia Tann. Through research and conversations with family members of the TCHS children and at times, the actual children, truth is brought into the open. My heart aches for each person affected by the deceit and greed involved in selling and buying children. Thank you to Lisa and Judy for taking the time and effort to share about these children. Excellent book. I received a complimentary copy of the book from the authors. No review was required.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Karen Kay

    I received this from Netgalley.com for a review. True stories from people who were victims of Tennessee Children’s Home Society, Georgia Tann. 3 I received this from Netgalley.com for a review. True stories from people who were victims of Tennessee Children’s Home Society, Georgia Tann. 3☆

  16. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I was heartbroken after reading Before We Were Yours and realized that that book was based on a true story. This book is a fascinating non-fiction follow-up to that book. After the book was published, Wingate got many e-mails from those who had been adopted through the TCHS and those who thought they might have been. She was able to facilitate some of those people to reunite and find family members that they didn't know they had or those that they couldn't find. The book follows the stories of I was heartbroken after reading Before We Were Yours and realized that that book was based on a true story. This book is a fascinating non-fiction follow-up to that book. After the book was published, Wingate got many e-mails from those who had been adopted through the TCHS and those who thought they might have been. She was able to facilitate some of those people to reunite and find family members that they didn't know they had or those that they couldn't find. The book follows the stories of some of those people. These are real people, this isn't fiction. The book is at times gut-wrenching, but also at times very uplifting and filled with hope. I am in awe of these people who survived this woman and her machinations. My own grandfather and his siblings were not sold through this society, but had similar circumstances being sold to different families because they were very poor. Eventually the siblings were able to find each other again, but the trauma of this carried through their whole lives. This made these stories hit a bit closer to home. If you haven't read Before We Were Yours, definitely read it before this book, because this will help you to get the full picture of how this affected real people. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Reading Mom.me

    For fans of Before we were yours you need to read this book! The companion novel shares real life stories told by children adopted through the TCHS. This book is heartbreaking but yet many stories are filled with joy and happy endings. This read like an episode of 60mins and I couldn’t put it down hearing the similarities between these strangers was unbelievable. Definitely give this book a read

  18. 5 out of 5

    Susan Snodgrass

    'Tann's empire at the Tennessee Children's Home Society has been built with a combustible blend of desperate pregnant women, shattered children, vulnerable poverty-stricken families, eager adoptive parents, powerful politicians, ego, and greed.' I read Lisa Wingate's 'Before We Were Yours' and it impacted me deeply. Based on the facts of the cruel and devious Georgia Tann, who stole and adopted out over 5000 children between 1924-1950, it was a powerful book! After the book came out, many came 'Tann's empire at the Tennessee Children's Home Society has been built with a combustible blend of desperate pregnant women, shattered children, vulnerable poverty-stricken families, eager adoptive parents, powerful politicians, ego, and greed.' I read Lisa Wingate's 'Before We Were Yours' and it impacted me deeply. Based on the facts of the cruel and devious Georgia Tann, who stole and adopted out over 5000 children between 1924-1950, it was a powerful book! After the book came out, many came forth because they knew they were part of that vicious story, taken from parents by Tann and sold to others, sometimes to a life of goodness and sometimes not. People began contacting Wingate about this and this book was born. Based on the true stories of these people who were victims, for that's what they can properly and truly be called, of Tann's evil empire, they now tell their stories. Stories of how they always felt 'something was missing' and how they never felt totally complete. And then through the work of Wingate and Judy Christie, these people searched and found siblings they never knew they had! Deeply moving and mind numbing, this book is a testament to the hearts of those that were abused so cruelly by a heinous woman whose crime rivaled that of any serial killer. These stories will break your heart and bring joy at the same time. I was very moved by this book. *My thanks to the publishers for a copy of this book via Net Galley. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Miriam Lozano

    II am a book ambassador for Author Lisa Wingate. She has sent me her newest book to read and review so I wanted to share my views on this page. The book is Before and After and I would call it a follow up, non-fiction to her number 1 best selling fiction book, Before We Were yours. In this historical novel Lisa Wingate and Judy Christie tell a touching story of children who were snatched from their homes, hospitals and unwed poor mothers from 1927 to 1950 by Miss Tann of the Tennessee Children’s II am a book ambassador for Author Lisa Wingate. She has sent me her newest book to read and review so I wanted to share my views on this page. The book is Before and After and I would call it a follow up, non-fiction to her number 1 best selling fiction book, Before We Were yours. In this historical novel Lisa Wingate and Judy Christie tell a touching story of children who were snatched from their homes, hospitals and unwed poor mothers from 1927 to 1950 by Miss Tann of the Tennessee Children’s Home for orphaned children. She is deceitful and evil and has politicians and police in her pockets that help her to continue actually selling children to people who can not adopt legally. In this follow up book, Before and After, Lisa and Judy tell the true stories of these real life children who have reached out to her after reading Before We Were Yours. When I read Before We Were Yours I cried and was in shock that this evil could take place in real life. My husband reminded me that it was fiction and was just enhanced to make it seem real. That calmed me down a bit, but now reading the real life true stories of the actual men and women that suffered at the hands of this evil woman, it’s brought back all these emotions. Yes, sometimes reality is a lot worse than fiction and both these authors do a great job of telling these stories. They are winners in my book. I give this new book Six Stars ⭐️ 🌟 ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️. She tells their stories with compassion and passion, retelling of stories that will touch you, make you cry, make you laugh and realize that even in the midst of evil and injustice there can be redemption and encouragement. Thank you again Lisa and Judy for a book well written and for taking us on this journey.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ahaaha4

    I’ll start by saying I absolutely loved Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate, it was one of my top favorite books. When I received this ARC I was anxious to get started reading, but I did not make it half way through. I found the writing style and use of names very hard to follow therefore finding it difficult to get emotionally involved with the people. The authors talk a lot about themselves and getting a reunion together, which was like, oh well. There is no doubt Georgia Tann was a horrific I’ll start by saying I absolutely loved Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate, it was one of my top favorite books. When I received this ARC I was anxious to get started reading, but I did not make it half way through. I found the writing style and use of names very hard to follow therefore finding it difficult to get emotionally involved with the people. The authors talk a lot about themselves and getting a reunion together, which was like, oh well. There is no doubt Georgia Tann was a horrific human being. I learned much more about her researching her on the internet then by reading this book. . After reading Before We Were Years I went on the internet and really enjoyed reading the stories of the adoptive men and women, I felt a much deeper connection to all the people involved and even needed to grab Kleenex. I think it is just the style in which this was written that left me void of emotion. It is not like me to not be weeping when I read a book like this. I am addicted to reading and always get lost emotionally in the books that I read. This one just did not do it for me. My recommendation is to research Georgia Tann and The Tennessee Childrens Home Society Orphanage rather than read Before and After by Judy Christie and Lisa Wingate. Thank you NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine for an ARC of this book in exchange for my review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Carla Stewart

    I’d long anticipated this non-fiction follow up to the blockbuster novel Before We Were Yours. When it arrived in the mail, my intention was to devour it in one day so I could post an early review. By page 18, I knew that was impossible. The stories—the real life stories—of the surviving adoptees of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society heralded in Lisa Wingate’s work of fiction slammed me with such emotion that I knew I could only read in short segments, a story or two, before I had to stop and I’d long anticipated this non-fiction follow up to the blockbuster novel Before We Were Yours. When it arrived in the mail, my intention was to devour it in one day so I could post an early review. By page 18, I knew that was impossible. The stories—the real life stories—of the surviving adoptees of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society heralded in Lisa Wingate’s work of fiction slammed me with such emotion that I knew I could only read in short segments, a story or two, before I had to stop and catch my breath. At once, I was struck by how being sent from the children’s home marked each of their lives: the constant feeling that something was different or that they’d been rejected. It didn’t stop there, though, as the effects trickled down to future generations. It made me reflect in a new way on adoption and its effects, the constant nagging that perhaps they had birth parents, siblings, cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles they knew nothing of. While this unsettling feeling of rejection was a uniting factor, there were myriad ways their lives panned out. Many believed they were better off being adopted, others had hard lives in dysfunctional families, and a large majority grew up as only children. It certainly made me grateful for my own two sisters and our first cousins—all thirty of them! Before and After, though, does more than just play on the emotions with poignant stories written so deftly by Judy and Lisa. The overarching theme is that of community, giving the adoptees a voice, and a venue to connect with other adoptees via a weekend hosted by the authors. There is joy and sadness, apprehension and hope, healing and camaraderie, and ultimately comfort in knowing they aren’t alone. I will be thinking of them for a long time. For readers, I would suggest reading Before We Were Yours first for context and a better understanding of the unspeakable acts Georgia Tann of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society inflicted on families and children for nearly three decades. Brava! to Judy and Lisa for this stellar work. This book is set to publish October 22, 2019. The publisher provided me a copy for an honest review.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Susan Peterson

    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 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.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Carolynn

    This was a shocking and heart breaking account to read. It is difficult to believe that this lady got away with stealing, buying, and selling children and just outright taking them from the hospital! She got away with it for over 30 years and her actions are still affecting families today. This story lead me to YouTube videos of news stories about the investigation from 1992. Very interesting and heart wrenching read, I highly recommend it.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    An early reading of what will be a popular companion to Lisa Wingate's Before we Were You from an Advanced Readers' Copy. Very sympathetic and lovely interviews with many who heard their own or family stories in the novel. While I understood it was the story of how the interviews came about, I did not favor the connecting sections. It felt too choppy. Overall,it was fascinating and hopeful in the ways that many lives have been changed by the novel.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    This novel is a non fiction follow up to the fiction novel Before We Were Yours. I honestly don’t read very much non fiction but this one was exceptionally well done with the telling of the real life stories of the survivors from the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. The reality is that some of these children were voluntarily given up by birth parents either because of extreme poverty or young unmarried women forced to give up their baby but there were many more that were stolen from their own This novel is a non fiction follow up to the fiction novel Before We Were Yours. I honestly don’t read very much non fiction but this one was exceptionally well done with the telling of the real life stories of the survivors from the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. The reality is that some of these children were voluntarily given up by birth parents either because of extreme poverty or young unmarried women forced to give up their baby but there were many more that were stolen from their own front yards or birth mothers being told their newborn baby died so that this woman, Georgia Tann, would profit by selling these children to desperate people that couldn’t adopt through regular channels. Chilling true stories shared with heartbreaking honesty.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    Having been captivated by the fictional story Before We Were Yours, I was very interested in picking up this follow-up nonfiction work. This book came about as a result of the author's book tour as the real life victims of Georgia Tann approached her with their stories. While some of the children were actually "helped" by their adoption, all of the children (now senior citizens) were remarkable impacted by the manner in which they entered the system. If you enjoyed the fictional account, this is Having been captivated by the fictional story Before We Were Yours, I was very interested in picking up this follow-up nonfiction work. This book came about as a result of the author's book tour as the real life victims of Georgia Tann approached her with their stories. While some of the children were actually "helped" by their adoption, all of the children (now senior citizens) were remarkable impacted by the manner in which they entered the system. If you enjoyed the fictional account, this is definitely a must read.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Christine Komandosky

    Before and After is just what I needed to have follow the book Before We Were Yours. I was so shocked by what Georgia Tann did. I needed to learn more about the children. Before and After helped create closure for me. Hearing true stories about adoptees, their biological parents and the parents that adopted them was truly heart warming! Lisa Wingate and Judy Christie did an excellent job bringing their stories to light. I know a few places I have to see next time I drive through Memphis!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra Coffey

    Thank you to Random House for the opportunity to read/review this piece prior to the publishing. "Before and After" is a follow-up to Lisa Wingate's novel Before We Were Yours and contains true stories about people and family members who were either adoptees or connected to adoptions orchestrated by Georgia Tann's Tennessee Children's Home Society, the subject of many an adoption scandal in the 1950s-1960s. This book was so moving. I particularly was drawn to the conflicting emotions many Thank you to Random House for the opportunity to read/review this piece prior to the publishing. "Before and After" is a follow-up to Lisa Wingate's novel Before We Were Yours and contains true stories about people and family members who were either adoptees or connected to adoptions orchestrated by Georgia Tann's Tennessee Children's Home Society, the subject of many an adoption scandal in the 1950s-1960s. This book was so moving. I particularly was drawn to the conflicting emotions many adoptees have surrounding the circumstances hat preceded and followed their adoptions: gratitude towards their adoptive parents, longing to know their biological families, emptiness, curiosity, satisfaction, etc. It's also interesting to see how these adoptions have affected multiple generations. Judy's writing style was the perfect fit for this book and really wove together the different accounts. Each story was unique and detailed. I would recommend this to the numerous people out there who have been lovers of Before We Were Yours, and to anyone interested in knowing more behind the dark history of the Tennessee Children's Home Society.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Joleen

    Before and After: The Incredible Real-Life Stories of Orphans Who Survived the Tennessee Children's Home Society By Judy Christie and Lisa Wingate Narrated by Emily Rankin Genre: Documentary, History Format: Audiobook Inspired by Lisa Wingate’s book Before we were Yours, Connie Wilson, herself a survivor of Tennessee Children’s Home Society, (run by the infamous Georgia Tann from 1920 to about 1950) (true story article) contacted Ms. Wingate to see if a reunion of victims, or adoptee's relatives, Before and After: The Incredible Real-Life Stories of Orphans Who Survived the Tennessee Children's Home Society By Judy Christie and Lisa Wingate Narrated by Emily Rankin Genre: Documentary, History Format: Audiobook Inspired by Lisa Wingate’s book Before we were Yours, Connie Wilson, herself a survivor of Tennessee Children’s Home Society, (run by the infamous Georgia Tann from 1920 to about 1950) (true story article) contacted Ms. Wingate to see if a reunion of victims, or adoptee's relatives, could be possible. Weeks later the ball starts rolling. As the reunion’s plans are underway, Ms. Wingate realizes such an undertaking needs to be documented. Judy Christie, a veteran journalist, author and longtime friend of Lisa Wingate, is asked to interview the known survivors, aka: core group, to chronicle their stories to be saved for the future. Mind you, the last of the adoptees from the Tennessee Children's Home Society were born in 1950...so we're not talking about a few years ago, and they were 68 years and older at the time of this reunion. But many children, even grandchildren of these survivors were still affected by what their parent or grandparent went through trying to have their adoption records opened to find siblings or parents for decades, or who simply needed answers about their past and origins. This book uncovers these stories, beautifully told in delightful, and often heartbreaking details. If the reader has read and been affected by Before We Were Yours as I was, these stories will touch your life. It’s about survivors learning their stories through the years, of meeting family members never known or nearly forgotten. It’s about journeys and healing. Memorable. *********************************** Oh, and kudos to Emily Rankin, the narrator. She did a brilliant job! I'm delighted the authors brought her back.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Patsye

    I had been eagerly awaiting this follow-up to Lisa Wingate’s best selling novel Before We Were Yours. That book captured the imagination of readers all over the world as it explored the world of the real life Georgia Tann but with fictitious characters depicting the children and families who were impacted by her. Georgia Tann was the Director of the Memphis-based adoption service which provided children for adoption who were procured by legitimate means as well as outright kidnapping in other I had been eagerly awaiting this follow-up to Lisa Wingate’s best selling novel Before We Were Yours. That book captured the imagination of readers all over the world as it explored the world of the real life Georgia Tann but with fictitious characters depicting the children and families who were impacted by her. Georgia Tann was the Director of the Memphis-based adoption service which provided children for adoption who were procured by legitimate means as well as outright kidnapping in other cases. This is the real life story of many of those children, and how their lives were affected. It uses a case history approach, and then fills in the gaps with the way in which the story came together, and how the interactions brought peace to many of the adoptees. Before and After does not disappoint! I think everyone should read this to understand the implications of adoption, and the way that many adoptees really hunger for their history. Christie and Wingate handle their stories with compassion and love, as they show both sides of the children’s stories. Both the birth parents and the adoptee parents receive a fair and sympathetic treatment, and the only blame is cast where it belongs, on Georgia Tann. If you loved Before We Were Yours, don’t miss Before and After. And if you somehow missed Before We Were Yours, run, don’t walk, for your copy of that one! Thanks to Ballantine Books for an ARC of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

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