Before We Were Yours
by Lisa Wingate
I listened to the Audiobook version.
This is a story of family, loss, letting go, and moving on. It revolves around a fictional family in the 1930s. The children fall into the hands of Georgia Tann and the Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage. There is suffering and heartache but there is also an abundance of fiery love and determination. Woven between the chapters is a second story. It centers on a modern day woman struggling with her place in life and who she is. She too is protective of her family and very determined. The two stories wind around each other and tie together at the end.
The characters in this story are very relatable and thoroughly developed. Not only is the storytelling fantastic, but the suspense and the descriptions are very well crafted. This story evokes emotions from it’s readers. (I know my I had an emotional response to it.) Especially helpful is the author’s notes at the end clarifying fact from fiction and why she created the story the way she did.
Even though it hurt my heart, I enjoyed this book immensely. Because I am an adoptive mom, this story strikes deep in my soul. Adoptions like this used to be an legal – and that is heartbreaking. I love my son more than anything, but I cannot imagine the guilt I’d feel if his birthmother had not willingly participated in the adoption. Of course, Georgia Tann fabricates a web of lies to alleviate that guilt; mainly that the kids are so much better off.
The effect the adoptions have on the parents is glossed over. Undoubtedly there are many emotions on that side of the story as well. Adopting is not an easy choice and often, parents are lead to adopting due to lousy circumstances, not because it’s their first choice for growing their family. Regardless, this is a story that needs to be told so we do not repeat our mistakes.
If you enjoy historical fiction, adoption stories, themes of relationship and perseverance, then Before We Were Yours is a book you will likely enjoy. I recommend it because it’s so well written and it’s not just a fanciful fun story – there’s much to be learned from it. Be aware though – you likely won’t be able to help the tears as you read. Although it was the first, this will definitely not be the last book I read by Lisa Wingate. I look forward to exploring more if her writing.
The real-life story behind Before We Were Yours. Adoptees whose lives were altered by Georgia Tann's unregulated system of adoptions-for-profit under the Tennessee Childrens Home Society gathered last June in Memphis to share their truth. This is what happened.
Posted by Lisa Wingate on Sunday, December 16, 2018
Lisa was inspired to become a writer by a first-grade teacher who said she expected to see Lisa’s name in a magazine one day. Lisa also entertained childhood dreams of being an Olympic gymnast and winning the National Finals Rodeo but was stalled by a mental block against backflips on the balance beam and by parents who stubbornly refused to finance a rodeo career. Before We Were Yours has sold over two million copies. Visit her website to learn more at:
Are you an Lisa Wingate fan? Have you read this one? Tell me your thoughts below.