Though Patricia was adopted as a baby, she couldn’t help but wonder about her biological family. After decades of wondering, Patricia was finally able to track down her relatives. One of them turned out to be a huge star! Read on to find out how Patricia connected with her extremely famous sister.
A Struggling Mother
Patricia’s mother already had children when she found out she was pregnant once again. The woman was on welfare and struggling to provide for the kids she already had. Another child would make their money even tighter and make it even harder to care for the children.
Rather than complicate the situation further, Patricia’s mother decided to make a tough decision. She decided to place the baby up for adoption so that another family could give Patricia a better life.
A Difficult Start In Life
Patricia’s mother made the difficult decision of putting her baby up for adoption as soon as she was born. The goal was to find a family for Patricia who could provide for her better than her biological mother could.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen for some time. Instead, Patricia moved around foster homes for several years. When Patricia was seven years old, something wonderful happened. A family decided to adopt Patricia, providing her with a loving family.
Curiosity Weighed On Her
Though Patricia was adopted, she felt disconnected from the family to an extent. She would go on to describe her childhood as “difficult.” Without a true sense of belonging, Patricia’s curiosity grew even more.
She wondered about her biological mother and had a gut instinct that she ought to reach out to the woman. The desire to meet her mother didn’t fade with time but continued to linger so that Patricia couldn’t help but do something.
A New Challenge
Patricia didn’t just wonder about her birth mother. She also thought about the rest of her biological family. Patricia didn’t even know if she had other siblings out there. For years, questions spun around her mind.
As an adult, Patricia would, at last, have the legal right to search for her parents if she wanted. She just had to wait a little longer and her questions might actually be answered. But then, something even more pressing happened. Patricia got pregnant.
A Teen Mom
Patricia was very young when she got pregnant, but she knew she wanted to raise the baby. Having been through all she had, Patricia couldn’t bear the thought of putting her child up for adoption.
Still, she knew it would be a huge challenge raising this baby at such a young age. It would require making difficult sacrifices. When Patricia’s baby girl was born, it only increased her longing to meet her own birth mother.
Pausing Her Search
Being ill-equipped to raise her daughter only made Patricia relate to her mother more. It would have been helpful to be comforted by her mother who could truly understand. Patricia’s longing for her mother continued to grow past her teenhood and into her 20s.
Still, she would have to put her search on indefinite hold. The demands of parenthood made it too challenging to find her family while raising a child. It was a matter of time before Patricia would continue the search.
Baby Number Two
Patricia became pregnant again when her daughter was six years old. As with her firstborn, Patricia knew that she wanted to raise her baby. Still, this would again prolong her ability to search for her biological family.
With two children to care for now, Patricia took on two jobs to support her family by herself. This left her with virtually no downtime, let alone time to continue her search. It was worth it to raise her kids, though.
Decades Later, Patricia Restarted The Search
By the time Patricia was in her 40s, her children were already grown. Decades had passed since she had last attempted to find her biological family. Still, she longed to pursue a relationship with them.
Now that Patricia had more time on her hands, she knew it was time to restart her search. Though years had passed, Patricia was as motivated as ever to find the people she was genetically connected to. She started by diving into her adoption records.
Finding Her Birth Mother
Patricia was able to find out who her birth mother was and reached out to her. Over the years, she hoped there might be some connection there that would be salvageable. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case.
Patricia reached out to her birth mother, but she didn’t get a response. The woman she’d spent so much time wondering about didn’t seem to be interested in starting a relationship. Though the news was devastating, something incredible was about to happen.
A Strangely Familiar News Segment
After reaching out to her biological mother to no avail, Patricia put on the news. As fate would have it, the segment was something that seemed strangely familiar to Patricia. A woman named Vernita Lee was relaying her story about her son Jeffrey passing in 1989.
Vernita went on to explain that she’d also lost her daughter, Pat, in 2003. Patricia got the eery feeling that she somehow knew these people. It was like the story had triggered a memory.
Clues In The Adoption Papers
It turns out that Patricia had a familiar feeling about the news segment for a reason. She recognized the dates, names, and location of these people because she’d just read about them! Pat and Jefferey were individuals mentioned in Patricia’s adoption papers!
When she realized who they were, Patricia couldn’t believe it. But why were they of all people on the news? It turns out, there was someone incredibly famous in the family who Patricia was about to discover.
Trying To Get In Touch With Vernita Lee
Seeing that the people mentioned in the news segment matched Patricia’s adoption papers, they seemed to be the ones she’d been looking for. Patricia’s son Andre was also interested in discovering the truth.
He was an adult now and wanted to help his mom, so he began searching for information related to Vernita Lee. Since everything added up, Patricia decided to reach out to Vernita several more times. She even tried to get in touch with Vernita’s pastor, but nothing worked.
A Famous Sister
If Vernita Lee was indeed Patricia’s biological mother, then that meant that Vernita’s children were Patricia’s siblings. She knew that two of the children were deceased, but there was another sibling that landed them on the news in the first place.
The media was interested in Vernita’s story because she was the mother of the famous Oprah Winfrey! When Patricia and her son Andre discovered this news, they couldn’t believe it. Patricia might be Oprah’s half-sister!
Wanting To Be Sure
Though Patricia’s adoption papers combined with the news segment suggested that she may be the sister of Oprah Winfrey, she wanted to be sure. Patricia couldn’t confirm anything with Vernita if she wouldn’t respond to her messages.
That meant she had to dig a little deeper to get some answers. Patricia did some research and found out that Oprah’s niece owned a Wisconsin restaurant. Patricia traveled to the restaurant in hopes she could speak with the owner.
Meeting Oprah’s Niece
Patricia managed to get to the restaurant in Wisconsin and meet Oprah’s niece. The niece was understandably skeptical at first, but Patricia came prepared with proof. She showed her the adoption papers, but the niece still had her reservations.
That’s when Patricia realized that the best way to confirm that they were family would be through a DNA test. She went through with the test and discovered that she and Oprah’s biological families were, indeed, the same!
Keeping It In The Family
When Oprah’s niece discovered that she was, in fact, related to Patricia, she couldn’t keep the news to herself. More and more family members discovered what had happened, but they didn’t want the new information to hit the media just yet.
They kept it in the family so that Oprah could find out before the tabloids did. Patricia believed that it was Vernita Lee’s responsibility to break the news to Oprah. Until she did, Patricia wouldn’t say a word to the press.
Oprah Dug For The Truth
Oprah ended up hearing the news from someone other than her mother. Still, she went straight to Vernita Lee to confirm the news. Surprisingly, Vernita denied the whole thing!
Still, Oprah wanted to know for sure. She had reunited plenty of families over the years and had the resources to find out the truth about her own family. Oprah asked her assistant to delve into Patricia’s claims to see if they might be true.
Vernita Finally Admitted The Truth
Oprah’s assistant confirmed that Patricia was indeed her sister. The news was bittersweet since Oprah immediately had to wonder why her mother would lie about such a thing.
She confronted Vernita about the ordeal, who finally admitted it was the truth. Vernita confessed that she gave up Patricia for adoption shortly after she was born in 1963. Oprah was surprised at the news, but she also was eager to meet the sister she didn’t know she had.
Though Oprah was willing to meet Patricia, there was something that needed to be done first. Patricia still longed to meet her biological mother, Vernita Lee. So, she reached out to Vernita one last time.
For some reason, Vernita was finally willing to respond to Patricia. Now that everything was out in the open, there was nothing left to hide. Vernita even agreed to meet Patricia in person. It would be their first reunion since Patricia was an infant.
A Family Reunion
Oprah and Patricia both drove to Vernita’s home so that everyone could reunite. They had the emotional get-together on Thanksgiving, no less. When Oprah saw Patricia, she remarked how similar Patricia looked to her late sister, Pat.
It was clear right away that they all shared genes. They all spent the day together and caught up on their entire lives. The sisters shared a genuine connection even though they had led two completely separate lives.
Going On Oprah’s Show
A few months after their meeting, Oprah brought Patricia onto her show to introduce her sister to the world. It was a dream come true and then some for Patricia.
Not only did she get to meet her family, but she shared a genuine connection with her sister, who was a cultural icon! Oprah was moved by her sister’s loyalty. The fact that Patricia didn’t go running to the press said a lot about her integrity.
Vernita Admitted Why She Lied
Oprah explained that she had been sold out before. She was grateful to have someone new in her life who wouldn’t betray her for money or attention from the press.
Patricia’s kindness made it even more difficult to understand why Vernita Lee would try so hard to keep her a secret. Vernita eventually opened up about why she withheld the truth. She embarrassed about her decision to put Patricia up for adoption. She felt terrible about it.
Vernita Said What Patricia Always Wanted To Hear
Vernita went on to call Patricia a “cute little girl.” The compliment seems like no big deal, but to Patricia, it had meant the world. Patricia explained that she had never been called a pretty baby.
Hearing it from her biological mother was the cherry on top. Patricia became overwhelmed with emotion and started to cry tears of joy. She was starting to feel the love she had so craved. But that was nothing compared to what Oprah did.
Oprah Bought Patricia A House!
Three years after they met, Oprah decided to do something huge for her half-sister, Patricia. She bought Patricia a house in Wisconsin worth half a million dollars!
After all that Patricia had sacrificed for her children, she was finally getting something for herself. Oprah topped off her gift with a monthly allowance so that Patricia could go back to school. Patricia would finally have the opportunity to pursue a career in social work.
Graduating At 53
Thanks to Oprah’s generosity, Patricia was able to attain her college degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Oprah attended her sister’s graduation and tweeted about the event.
Patricia didn’t think she’d ever be able to go to college, so it was a special celebration. She was 53-years-old with two grown children, a college degree, and a big extended family. All that Patricia had longed for in life she finally had, and Oprah couldn’t be more proud.
Saying Goodbye To Their Mother
Several years after Patricia reunited with her biological family, Vernita Lee passed away. Though they missed out on many years together, they were at least able to develop a relationship in those final years.
Patricia and Oprah were able to be there for one another through the tragedy. Oprah addressed Vernita’s passing in an Instagram post. It read, “It gives our family great comfort knowing she lived a good life and is now at peace.”