Before We Were Yours is a book by Lisa Wingate. The book is a dramatic story of sisters separated from their family and each other at a very young age by the infamous Georgia Tann. Mrs. Tann ran a corrupt baby business at the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. Her job was to provide children tailored to the demands of desperate parents. All this while the parents did not know the fact that the children being provided to them for adoption were not orphans, but stolen sons and daughters of poor families who were lied that their babies had died. Her business ran successfully for three long decades from 1920 to 1950.
The present story is a fiction inspired by true events of children separated at the hands of Mrs. Tann from their parents. The story is about five little children who live with their parents as river gypsies. On one unfortunate stormy night, when their mother goes into a difficult labor and has to be taken to the hospital, the children are left alone on the boat under the watch of the eldest daughter Rill Ross, aged 12. It is the very next morning that these five siblings are captured by a group of people and transferred to the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. The children face horror behind those stone walls, the sisters look for each other as a unit but not for very long. It pains ones heart to read the ordeals and further more to know that this did happen to many kids in the past.
But the story celebrates the power of love and bonding. How the sisters find themselves and years later when they are old, the bond is still as strong as it was on that stormy night. The book is a survival story and celebrates the love sisters share with each other.
Having two elder sister of mine, I could relate with how we always look out for eachother. And so did Mary, Judy, Fern and Camilia, the river gypsies.