Before and After The Incredible Real Life Stories of

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


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    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 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