Join us at Speer Memorial Library in Mission on Tuesday, May 14, 2019, for a discussion of Before We Were Yours, to take place in the library’s Community Room at 5:30 p.m. in Spanish, and at 6:30 p.m. in English. Everyone is welcome to attend and discuss the book.

In 1939, an impoverished family lives on a Mississippi River shantyboat in Memphis. One night, when the mother is about to give birth and develops complications, the father rushes her to a hospital, leaving 12-year-old Rill to care for her younger siblings.

While the parents are at the hospital, policemen come and take the children to an orphanage. At first, the children expect to be taken to their parents, but they soon realize that they may never see their mother and father again.

In 2016, in Aiken, South Carolina, young federal prosecutor Avery Stafford has returned to her home state to help her father, Senator Wells Stafford, who is being treated for cancer and is running for re-election.

Accompanying her father to a political event at a local nursing home, Avery has a chance encounter with an elderly woman who insists that Avery is someone named Fern, and that she knows Avery’s grandmother. Curious, Avery looks into her grandmother’s past and, finding some ambiguous leads, decides to investigate.

Written by Lisa Wingate, and first published in 2017, Before We Were Yours is a historical novel based on the almost unbelievable but true story of an adoption organization in Memphis that kidnapped children from poor families and sold them to wealthy ones. Although most birth families never learned the fate of their missing children, some families were reunited after many years.

We will have some copies of the book available for check out to those who sign up for the book discussion, or you can stop by our Reference Desk, or call at 580-8754, and we will try to obtain a copy for you via Interlibrary Loan. This title is also available as an eBook and eAudiobook at

For more information, or to sign up for the book discussion, please call William Renner at 580-8754. You can also register at the Reference Desk, or by email at