In January 2011, Patricia and Oprah met up at Vernita's home in Milwaukee to get more answers from their mother. Vernita, who recently suffered a stroke, says she was shocked—but not afraid—when Patricia first tried to contact her. She was, however, struggling with feelings of shame. "I thought it was a terrible thing for me to do, that I had done, gave up my daughter when she was born," Vernita says.

The adoption records say Vernita gave up Patricia because she wanted to get off of welfare. "I made the decision to give her up because I wasn't able to take care of her," Vernita says. "So when I left the hospital, I told the nurse that I wasn't going to keep the baby. She said, 'Oh, but she's such a cute little girl. Why not?'"

After leaving the hospital, Vernita says she continued thinking about her baby and even went back looking for her. "They told me that she had left," she says. "I don't know if someone had adopted her or what."

Patricia is stunned by her mother's words. "I'm just trying to take it all in right now," she says. "I never heard that I was a pretty baby, so I didn't know. I always had a feeling that she didn't mean to give me up. Her saying that she came back to get me, it means a lot."

Now that Patricia is a part of Vernita's life again, Vernita says it makes her "feel wonderful."


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