CHICAGO (CBS4) – Oprah Winfrey has reunited countless people on her show over the last 25 years. But for the first time the talk show queen is walking in their shoes.
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.READ MORE: Facing South Florida: 1-On-1 With Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava
It was a secret Oprah’s mother kept from everyone for 47 years. Patricia was left at the hospital for nearly a month and then bounced around from foster home to foster home for nearly seven years.
“I had some disbelief that she didn’t mean to put me up for adoption,” said Patricia on the Oprah show Monday afternoon. “I just would always wish that my birth mother was gonna come back and get me.”
Pushed by her now adult children, Patricia started looking into her past. She poured over her adoption records and unlocked the mystery. Once she discovered Oprah’s mother, Vernita Lee was also her mother, Patricia tried to contact Vernita. Despite three attempts Vernita declined all of Patricia’s requests to connect. Patricia didn’t give up and found a cousin who then introduced her to the rest of the family after taking DNA tests.
“A bombshell of a family secret that left me speechless,” said Oprah on her show.
Oprah and Patricia met for the first time on Thanksgiving Day of 2010. “You feel whole you feel complete,” said Patricia describing the moment.READ MORE: Miami Gardens Faith Leaders, Officials & Community Members Come Together To Remember Lives Lost To Gun Violence
The two sisters then joined together to confront their mother about why she kept this a secret for so long.
“Because I thought it was a terrible thing for me to do,” said Vernita Lee.
She went on to explain that she later returned to the hospital hoping to get her little girl but it was too late the child was already gone.
“I always had a feeling that she didn’t mean to give me up and her saying that she came back to get me it means a lot,” said Patricia tearfully.
But the story doesn’t stop there. Patricia was one of four children that Vernita Lee had. In fact, Vernita had two daughters named Patricia. One died a few years ago. But Oprah and her relatives say the new half sister Patricia looks just like the Patricia who passed away.MORE NEWS: Orange County Officials Searching For 19-Year-Old Miya Marcano
Oprah said it was like a page out of the book “Beloved” where the dead comes back to life.