Before We Were Yours

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate was a gripping historical fiction novel about the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. The organization would abduct children from poor family’s and then have the children adopted by wealthy or famous families. They would charge families huge sums of money to adopt children who were ‘given up’ by families who could not care for them. They would create a fake paper trail or trick parents.

The book is fictional story that follows a family of four children who are abducted by the organization when their parents leave them to go to the hospital to have a child. One child is adopted out immediately. The other three struggle to survive. the story jumps to present day where a woman is discovering her own families ties to The Tennessee Children’s Home Society. While the story is fiction, all stories are based on things that have been documented to have happened to children in the home and the lasting effects after they left.

The book was very engaging. It was very interesting to read the fictionalized account and then research what actually happened. It made me think about how we have repeated this scenario again. The children of immigrants who have been deported are being adopted out because the government didn’t keep good enough records to reunite families. Instead of an organization being the bad actor, it’s now the government. It’s actually horrifying that this is happening again.

As fate would have it, as I was voting on my Goodreads best books – Before and After is up for the best history book. It is an actual research book that tells the stories of real victims of the Tennessee Children’s Society Home.

Who has read this book? I loved talking about it with my book club. I’d recommend adding this to your book club list. It’s a great discussion book and has a lot different topics for the group to examine.

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