Before and After: The Incredible Real-Life Stories of Orphans Who Survived the Tennessee Children's Home Society (Hardcover)
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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 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.
Advance praise for Before and After
“In Before and After, authors Judy Christie and Lisa Wingate tackle the true stories behind Wingate’s blockbuster Before We Were Yours, of the orphans who survived the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. With a journalist’s keen eye and a novelist’s elegant prose, Christie and Wingate weave together the stories that inspired Before We Were Yours with the lives that were changed as a result of reading the novel. Readers will be educated, enlightened, and enraptured by this important and flawlessly executed book.”—Pam Jenoff, author of The Orphan’s Tale and The Lost Girls of Paris
About the Author
Judy Christie is an award-winning journalist and the author of eighteen books of both fiction and nonfiction. A former editor at daily newspapers in Tennessee, Louisiana, Florida, and Indiana, she holds a master’s degree in literature from Louisiana State University in Shreveport. She and her husband live in rural Colorado.
Lisa Wingate is a former journalist, an inspirational speaker, and the author of numerous novels, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Before We Were Yours, which has sold more than 2.2 million copies. The co-author, with Judy Christie, of the nonfiction book, Before and After, Wingate is a two-time ACFW Carol Award winner, a Christy Award nominee, an Oklahoma Book Award finalist, and a Southern Book Prize winner. She lives with her husband in North Texas.
Advance praise for Before and After
“In Before and After, authors Judy Christie and Lisa Wingate tackle the true stories behind Wingate’s blockbuster Before We Were Yours, of the orphans who survived the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. With a journalist’s keen eye and a novelist’s elegant prose, Christie and Wingate weave together the stories that inspired Before We Were Yours with the lives that were changed as a result of reading the novel. Readers will be educated, enlightened, and enraptured by this important and flawlessly executed book.”
—Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan’s Tale and The Lost Girls of Paris
“Lisa Wingate’s #1 New York Times bestselling novel Before We Were Yours brought worldwide attention to a shocking scandal of lost and stolen children. What she couldn’t know was that her novel would also become the catalyst for survivors, now in old age, to share their stories. Before and After, while at times a very sad and shocking read, is ultimately a collection of astonishing real-life stories of strength, hope, and resilience in the face of the cruelest circumstances. If you read Before We Were Yours, you will devour Before and After.”
—Amy Hill Hearth, New York Times bestselling author of Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years
“Fans who couldn’t get enough of Before We Were Yours will devour this book in a single sitting. In Before and After, Judy Christie and Lisa Wingate gracefully chronicle the experiences of survivors forever affected by a corrupt Tennessee orphanage, leading many to a life-altering reunion in search of healing. . . . Not only a heart-wrenching and inspiring read but also a testament to the incredible power of storytelling.”
—Kristina McMorris, author of Sold on a Monday and The Edge of Lost
“Truly fascinating accounts of relatives lost and found, and of the reverberations through generations of countless families caused by a single person’s greed, these stories of strength, hope, and uncertainty will remain with me.”
—Cea Sunrise Person, author of North of Normal: A Memoir of My Wilderness Childhood, My Unusual Family, and How I Survived Both
“An uplifting exploration of what family truly means. Most of the stories are touching tales of discovering one’s true history and reuniting with biological relatives. This title is an excellent companion to Wingate’s novel and will surely be a hit on the book club circuit.”
“Judy Christie and Lisa Wingate have given readers a precious gift in this book, in these haunting stories filled with both heartache and hope. What you hold in your hands is a testament to the power of family, faith, and the love that binds our human hearts. You will race through Before and After, but you will keep thinking about it long after the final page.”
—Allison Pataki, author of Beauty in the Broken Places