Oprah Winfrey finds sister she didn't know she had
Oprah Winfrey recently learned she has a half-sister — a Milwaukee woman who was put up for adoption by Winfrey’s mother nearly 50 years ago.
On “The Oprah Winfrey Show” that aired Monday, a sometimes-emotional Winfrey introduced a woman she identified only as Patricia, explaining how the woman’s years-long search for her family culminated in a meeting with Winfrey on Thanksgiving Day of last year.
The discovery is “the miracle of all miracles,” Winfrey told her audience.
Winfrey said she was stunned to learn about the sibling, telling her audience that when Patricia was born in 1963, Winfrey was 8 years old and living with her father. She did not even know her mother was pregnant.
Patricia said she had tried years ago to learn the identity of the woman who gave her up for adoption, and only started to try again a few years ago at the insistence of her two adult children, who also appeared on Monday’s show.
Patricia said she feared her search would be fruitless after she got a telephone call from the state adoption agency, which reported that her birth mother had been contacted and did not wish to meet her.
But, coincidentally, on the local news that day, she saw a story about Winfrey’s mother, who described how two of her children had died. Those details matched information Patricia had seen in adoption papers, which indicated she had two sisters and a brother, and that only the older sister was alive.
Winfrey’s mother, Vernita Lee, also disclosed that one of the deceased children was named Patricia.
“The hairs on the back of my neck stood up,” Patricia said. “Because I knew one of my siblings and I shared the same name.”
Later, she found more details that matched, including the fact that Winfrey was born in 1954, the same year as the woman Patricia knew was her surviving sibling.
Winfrey, who said DNA tests confirmed that the two are half-sisters, met with Patricia and their mother in a pre-recorded segment of the show.
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