Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate: A Book Review

I can sneak in bits of time to read while one of my children is doing schoolwork while the other two are at ABA, so finally, I can start writing book reviews again!

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We like to work at the library, and I just saw Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate sitting on the shelf.  Intrigued, I picked it up and began reading, and each day I was eager to get back to the book.

This story follows the Foss family, headed up by parents Briny and Queenie.  They have five children, Rill, Camellia, Lark, Fern and Gabion.  When the story opens, Queenie is pregnant with twins, and after laboring hard at home, the midwife declares she can’t help her anymore and that Queenie needs to get to the hospital quickly before she and the twins both die.

The problem is that this is during the Great Depression, and Briny and Queenie are already struggling–they live on a boat tied to the river, getting by as best they can.  Still, Briny takes her to the hospital.  While they are gone, the children, all 5 of them, are removed from the boat by a policeman and handed over to Georgia Tann who runs a large adoption agency.

Briny and Queenie are told at the hospital that their twin babies died and that if they just signed certain forms, the hospital would bury them for free.  What they don’t know is that they’re actually signing a paper that gives away their rights to their own children.

Sound incredulous?  This story is actually based on a real life situation at the Tennessee Children’s Home Society run by Georgia Tann.  Georgia Tann tricked people into signing over their children, as Briny and Queenie are tricked in this story, but some children were just outright abducted.  Tann then “sold” the children to wealthy celebrities and others.  (Actress Joan Crawford adopted some of her children from Tann.)

This story shows the repercussions of such deception and how it affects generations of family members.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.

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