Cover Image: Before and After

Before and After

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Member Reviews

After reading Before We Were Yours, when I saw this book, I had to read it. This is the followup non-fiction book written by Judy Christie as she follows Lisa Wingate in her meetings, interviews and phone calls with actual adoptees or their families. We learn how some of them ended up in the system, things their birth and adoptive families (some never knew about other siblings) and get the opportunity to follow them when they meet their birth siblings and other family members. Some lived better lives than they would have if not adopted, some did not.

When Before We Were Yours was published some of the now adults who knew they were adopted, read the book and identified with it. They started to dig deeper into their background, questioning grandparents, aunts, friends of their parents, etc. Some took DNA tests and matches were found int he database. When Lisa Wingate started getting letters and phone calls, she felt compelled to tell their stories. That was when she contacted journalist and friend Judy Christie to tell this story. This was a very interesting and uplifting story. Before We were Yours was rather depressing and even though this only highlighted 15 orphans and their stories, but it was nice to hear that there were some happily ever afters out there. I do recommend this story, especially to those who read Before We Were Yours. As well, if you like learning about what happens after an historic event (in this case the emotional and tragic upheaval of being stolen from your family) then this is a book for you. If you are not familiar with The Tennessee Children's Home scandal or Georgia Tann, then take a look on the internet, you will be surprised and shocked about what you find.
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If you enjoyed Lisa Wingate's novel ‘Before we were Yours’ then you absolutely have to read this book! This is where fiction meets fact, and uncovers the real stories of some of the children adopted under the Tennessee Children’s Home society and the sad fate of some of those who did not survive the experience. Incredible stories of people, their lives and their search for truth and ultimately family. Absolutely fascinating and heart-rending.
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Before and After,  The Incredible Real-Life Stories of Orphans Who Survived the Tennessee Children's Home Society, Judy Christie, Lisa Wingate

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

Genre: biography and memoirs 

I loved Lisa's Before We Were Yours, a heartbreaking story, and after publishing it she was contacted by people who until they read it didn't realise they were part of the huge scandal, the selling of children. What an awful thing to learn. 
Lisa decided to research more into the real stories, the awful business Tann ran, stealing children and selling them as orphans.....over 5,000 children stolen, often to a tailored description of the child wanted. We saw in the first book how those poor kids were taken, treated so harshly, how many of them died, and those that survived were treated as part of a for profit business by Tann. Its a horrific story, shocking how easy iot was for her to get away with it, how many people must have suspected even if they didn't know, just what was going on. The poor kids too, taken from parents they loved, and treated as objects, no thoughts to how they felt, just how much money they would fetch. Families split up, so not only did they lose parents but siblings too. 
Its makes heartbreaking reading, some of these real life stories, but at least many of those folk who'd always felt “outside” their families now have a sense of understanding why, and some were able to trace siblings. I still find it hard to get my head around the scale of the business, how it went on for so many years. As Edmund Burke says “All that is needed for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing.”
Its a hard story to read at times, but with moments of lightness when things go right, and hopefully shining a light on this atrocity will help prevent future ones. Those children though, will never get that time with their parents back, had their lives changed irrevocably. They may have had good lives, but it still wasn't the life they were meant to live. I had to read this in sections, it was just so emotional in parts. 
Stars: Three, an emotional read, the story behind the story. I had to read in stages, I found it incredibly moving and I just kept thinking “what if?” what if someone had said something when it first started. We can't change the past though, only hope it influences the future. 

Arc via Netgalley and publishers
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The novel ‘Before we were yours’ was fiction but it represented the many children who stolen and were then put up for adoption by the Tennessee Children’s Home Society (TCHS) and it’s founder Georgia Tann.
This book also by Lisa Wingate (together with Judy Christie) is about the reunion of the children and their families that follows that novel.
Wingate and Christie bring together survivors - often they were stolen from their birth parents and sold to new families. 
They interview them and tell their stories, many of which are heartbreaking. Some - like Stanley - are still searching for a lost sibling. Some - like the four sisters - have been indelibly marked by their mother’s suffering at the hands of TCHS and can finally lay her to rest.
Roscoe and Ella - a poor couple - spend far more money than they can afford hiring lawyers to try and find and get back their stolen children.
One of the most shocking tales is of the maternity ward where new mothers were lied to and told that their babies had died in the night and duped into signing adoption papers. 
The legacy of the cruel Georgia Tann and her home has deep roots and this book is moving and well-written. It is hard to believe these stories are true. Recommended for anyone with an interest in this part of history - you don’t need to have read the original novel.
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Such a sad book in some ways but uplifting in others. It makes me so mad that one woman can affect so many lives, in the past, present and future. A story of heartache and resilience that is necessary to be told so that the same mistakes are not repeated again.
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If you didn't know that the events collated here actually happened you would think this story was too far-fetched to be believable. That a combination of greed and a few amoral people created effects that has rippled down through generations made me both angry and incredibly sad. A harrowing but totally compelling read.
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‘Before and After’ is the companion book to ‘Before We Were Yours’, which really needs to be read first to set this one into context. What a powerful story, one where truth is even stranger than fiction, & a reminder of the ripple effect – so many people being affected, continuing on down through the generations. The silver lining is that at least some of the children involved were able to reunite with at least some family members, albeit often many decades later. Could such an ongoing injustice happen today? There had to be more than one person complicit. Others must have had suspicions. Can money still talk loudly enough to cover such inhumane actions? ‘Mighty oaks from little acorns grow’, & this can apply to evil as much as to good. We must all be vigilant on behalf of the voiceless : this is the challenge we, as readers, are presented with. Thankyou, Lisa, for allowing yourself to become a catalyst.
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What a heartbreaking story - but also one of resilience, courage and hope.  While all the adoptees were victims of Georgia Tann, their experiences were all different. The authors wove their stories beautifully.

Highly recommended.
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Although I saw it all over the internet towards the end of last year (and notably on the Goodreads Choice Awards), I did not get around to reading Before We Were Yours. In fact, I did not realise that Before and After had anything to do with that book until I started reading. Suffice it to say, this non-fiction companion book has pushed last years Historical Fiction winner up on my TBR list! 

While dealing with the same basic situation, from what I understand Before and After is a very different beast. Opening with Lisa Wingate's booktour, this non-fiction almost memoir shows the effect that the book has had on the people who were personally affected by Georgia Tann and Tennessee Children's Home Society in Memphis. After giving a summary of the horrific actions of the woman and what can only be called her enablers in the business, politics and entertainement industries, Wingate passes the torch on to Judy Christie who presents us a number of life stories of the adults who, as children, were basically sold off to families. 

It is both heartwarming and heartbreaking to read these stories. For many of them, their adoptions were probably a good thing, taking them from families who were unable or unwilling to look after them and putting them into the bosoms of families who were able to give them a better life, from a purely material point of view. None of that, though, could make up for the pain and mental anguish caused by discovering that they were adopted. For many of them, the actions of their parents, Georgia Tann and even their adopted families have left them with scars. This is put across amazingly, with a huge amount of empathy, by Judy Christie as a narrator. 

As said above, I knew nothing about the book that started all of this going in. I loved Before and After so much, though, that I will be trying to get to that book sooner rather than later. Lisa Wingate and Judy Christie have pulled off an amazing feat, here, pulling together families and sharing stories that raise awareness of a subject that people may not know a lot about but should definitely learn more about.
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A real tear jerker read. The story of “before we were yours “ is now one stage further with real people describing what happened to them and/or the family.  Such emotions came over me that I had tears  as I was reading in many places. Trying to imagine how people knew that something was not right in their lives even before they knew they were adopted. Many had much much better lives after adoption and so it could be said that Tann was doing an admirable thing for unwanted children - however most were not unwanted, adoptee homes were never cleared before adoption and Tann became ultra rich from people’s desire to be parents.
Highly recommend this book .
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This book is a non fiction follow up to the based-on-fact novel "Before We were Yours" by Lisa Wingate. When Lisa wrote that novel, she didn't realise just how many children were affected and that the book would give adoptees, who knew little about their pasts, an insight and an entry point into discovering more about their background and ultimately their family histories.

Due to the subject matter, this book is a difficult, but compelling read, telling the real life stories of some of the children who were "processed" by the Tennessee Children's Home Society from the 1930s to the 1950s, where over 5000 children were offered to eager adoptive parents. Often presented as orphans or children from "good homes" who were no longer able to be looked after by their parents (eg a mother who died), the truth later emerged that many of the children were stolen - either directly from thier poor families, from desperate single mothers, and in some cases even from a maternity hospital where the mothers were simply told that their child had died overnight.

This is not a book to enjoy, it's a book that is painful, heart-wrenching, and yet somehow full of hope. The photographs add a poignancy and a reality to the stories

Disclosure: I received this book as an advance reader copy free from NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
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This book is interesting and heartbreaking, full of food for thought and it move me to tears.
It's a great read and I strongly recommend it.
Many thanks to Quercus Books and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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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.
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