by Lisa Wingate

This is a novel of intrigue and heartbreaking injustice, based on the real-life scandal of a Memphis, TN adoption organization that kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the United States. It involves a family of wealth and privilege coming to terms with a buried secret that is revealed when the daughter of a US Senator has a chance encounter with an elderly woman she’s never met before. This encounter leaves her deeply shaken and takes her on a journey through a history of stolen children and illegal adoptions. This is both a sad and uplifting tale that reminds us that the heart never forgets where we belong.


Disclaimer: I have taken the time to read both these books as far as was possible online. The first book does expose a particularly evil adoption scheme out of Knoxville, Tennessee, and I would agree that those children would have memories that make them love and want to reunite with biological family.

However, there are other ways of adopting children. About a year and a half into our marriage, we adopted Denise, a young Native American girl, when she was almost ten.  Because of the filth and disease found where she lived, Government welfare officials had raided the family home and actually burned it to the ground while a fire marshal and the police chief watched. Our son Brett was just six months old at that time. The welfare representative who asked for help with Denise said she must live separately from her siblings because of her cruelty to and domination of them.  She was third in line of seven. Did we or DSS even consider that she might also be cruel to Brett? We had asked to adopt at least one other sibling to make her adjustment to our family easier.  Being almost ten that summer, she had learned many things from the “streets.” Besides having a severe personality disorder and low IQ, she and several siblings tested positive for TB and more than one STD.  She gave us joy at times, but also made our lives miserable at other times. We endured because we wanted to fulfil our part of helping her to grow and change if we could. We were young and naïve back then.

Other children came to us via the Welfare system— several hundred different ones over the years, as I remember.  We never took money to take care of them.  What we did, we did for the love of children.  Some stayed two or three days until they could find a mother or someone else in charge, while others stayed longer. We got along well with all of them. We even kept a teen-aged boy named Harley, who was convicted of attempted murder of his father and uncle. The welfare system wanted him to stay until he graduated from 12th grade so he could have “good school memories.” Because he was an Episcopal child, he would later go from us to another state to live with an Episcopal Priest. That was a while before there was much controversy about such arrangements.

Then after our daughter Ferah was born, I miscarried four babies during my third month of pregnancy. One doctor counseled us to wait for seven years and then perhaps my body would have recovered enough to carry another child.  Meantime a doctor friend of ours in India, P.J. Alexander, said that a baby boy had been born in his hospital and was available for adoption. He asked if we wanted him. His mother was a friend of their family and had become pregnant while she was away in college. The family was RCC, so there was no thought of abortion like Hindu families do. He became our Matthew of course. We accepted him sight unseen, knowing that we would trust God to give us a child that would be for our good and his. Courts in India approved the adoption and a Texas Senator helped us to secure a visa for your entry into the United States.  I was already a few months pregnant with Isharah when we agreed to adopt him, but that did not deter our resolve to continue. Several tried to discourage us in that decision, but my answer was always, “How would I be different than the first mother who rejected him?” We have never been sorry for that decision.

Can you see why I would be so opposed to having any child read only one side of the adoption story?  Nevertheless, there are those who will whisper in an adopted child’s ear and say, “They really are not your people.”

Even though some may have said that to our Matthew, I think he knew he belonged forever. Colin Kaepernick is an example of an adopted child who rejected his Caucasian parents for fame and for “the current cause.”

The second book, STORY OF LOST FRIENDS, fosters hatred and prejudice against one ethnic group in particular like nothing else I have seen. It also encourages the uneducated and ignorant woke culture and their mentors today to keep on beating that same drum. Humanist authors are chosen well and are great at presenting one side of a story in order to convert—much like the liberal media does.

No matter what the topic, there are always at least two sides. My Facebook entry about slavery ( shows that there were other nations and other ethnic groups that endured unmerciful treatment as slaves at the hands of evil men.

It would be good to research Texas history and a man named Colin McKinney (see also that Colin McKinney is listed in Restoration Leaders) as a possible slave owner. There seems to be ample proof that his slaves begged to come back to his home place to live and work for wages, after the war (testimony that he was not a brutal boss). There were others in Texas who related accounts of the same arrangement.  You might research poverty in general, after the Civil War. In addition, there is plenty of history to say the South withdrew from the Union, NOT because of slavery, but because of States Rights.  Study about Fort Sumter in South Carolina and the first shots fired there. Slavery was really not the issue as many in the Union army owned slaves.

Child labor laws were not a southern issue. Those laws were passed for two primary reasons:

  1. Manufacturing companies in the North offered cheap labor for immigrants and their families, but most Americans considered long hours of child labor abusive.
  2. John Dewey wanted kids in public schools all day for their humanist indoctrination.

Study the inventions of Eli Whitney and see how the form (dye) for making guns in assembly line fashion plus his invention of the cotton gin really set up the country for a Civil War.

So much more could be said about all this, but I’m working on ADOPTION (part two), which is based in scripture.


3 thoughts on “BEFORE WE WERE YOURS

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I enjoyed learning more about your life and your family’s adoption journey. I appreciate and value your insight so much. I know that you and Dennis have been a blessing to many people, young and old alike.


    1. Joy, you are such an encouragement. There is no way to express how much I appreciate you and your family’s journeys too. Tomorrow there should be one more phase of how and why adoption affects us all.


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