1 Before you read Before We Were Yours, did you know the historical side of adoption and that there was a black market for babies back then?
2. Do you think Queenie and Briny were at fault for losing their children? Was it viable for them to have more children?
3. Were you surprised about the living conditions of young children in the orphanage as revealed in Rill’s story?
4. How did you feel about Rill as you see her struggle against the abduction and then at the orphanage? Do you think she was brave? What does it reveal about her character that she goes back to the Sevier’s after her attempt to leave them to get back to Acadia?
5. Why did the Sevier’s adopt the Foss girls, Rill and Fern? Do you think they knew that the orphanage was corrupt? What incident happened that may have opened their eyes?
6. Rill and her sister Fern’s adoption turned out well in the end. Were you surprised about that Rill learned her love for music from Mr. Sevier? What are your thoughts about her upbringing after she was adopted?
7. Miss Tann is the fictionalized character of real life Georgia Tann who ran the Tenessee Children’s Home Society. Do you agree or disagree with Georgia Tann’s remark below? What does it reveal about Miss Tann’s character? How do you feel about Miss Tann?
“They are, [Georgia Tann] said repeatedly, blank slates. They are born untainted, and if you adopt them at an early age and surround them with beauty and culture, they will become anything you wish them to be.”
8. Before We Were Yours swings between the history of the Foss children and Avery Stafford’s story. Did you find that style appealing, or did you prefer one over the other?
9. Why do you think that the sisters kept their reunion and their secret away from their family? Do you agree with their decision?
10. Were you expecting a happy ending given Rill’s sad story at the beginning?
11. Do you think that Avery and Trent make a good couple? Why do you think they are compatible? How do you think it will end up for them?
12. Avery digs deep into her family history. Did you notice the change in her as the story moved along? How did Avery change as she journeyed into her family’s past?
13. “The love of sisters needs no words. It does not depend on memories, or mementos, or proof. It runs as deep as a heartbeat. It is as ever present as a pulse.”
Do you think that the book cover ties in well with the quote?
14. There are many themes in Before We Were Yours, (family, adoption, sisterly love, family secrets, dementia, child trafficking etc.), which theme spoke out to you the most?
15. After reading Before We Were Yours, did you want to find out how much of the book was true? Did you want to find out more about Georgia Tann and the Tennessee Children’s Home Society?
16. Who would you recommend this book to?
Enhance your book club:
Check out the study guide for Before We Were Yours. This discussion aid contains plot synopsis, analysis of themes and symbolism, and character analysis.
For more information on Georgia Tann, read the non-fiction The Baby Thief: The Untold Story of Georgia Tann, The Baby Seller Who corrupted Adoption.
Make some delicious southern fried catfish.