Dear Oprah…

May 20, 2011

Dear Oprah,

Your show is ending next week and so I wanted to write and tell you about the role that you and The Oprah Winfrey Show played in my life.  It was an important one.

I wrote you a letter once. It was a long time ago. It may have been way back when you were just starting out.  You did a show about adoption. Maybe it was one of your early reunion shows.

Whatever aspect of adoption you talked about on that show, it made me decide to write to you.

I remember I chose my writing paper carefully.  It was a lovely, cream-coloured note card, embossed with my name.  I think I picked it because I wanted to look well – classy.

I picked up my favourite pen and I began to write. And Oprah, once I started to write to you about adoption, I couldn’t seem to stop.  I filled the card’s inside space and then I started writing on the back. When the back was full, I started writing on the front where the embossing was.  When the front was full I started writing in the margins.

Now I am a lawyer and I have been the recipient of lots of correspondence in my professional life, both on paper and electronically.  I was well aware as I was writing to you that a letter with little or no white space usually means trouble. It usually means the writer is perhaps less reasoned than one would like them to be  And yet I couldn’t stop myself. I just kept writing and writing.  And when I finally stopped, I mailed it to you.

I didn’t keep a copy of my letter but I can imagine what it said.

It probably said I am a person who gave up a child for adoption. It probably talked about how that felt – not knowing if your child was alive or dead or happy or sad.  Well-loved? It probably said I never forgot.  It probably talked about how I always knew I would find my son one day.

When I wrote that letter to you it was the first time I said those things “out loud.”  It was my first step in leaving the misplaced shame and the carefully-crafted myths of adoption behind.

It was the first step in reclaiming who I really was back from that other person, the one other people, for reasons of their own, wanted me to be.

Many years have passed since I wrote that letter – like Paul Simon sings “Twenty-five years, come and gone.”  Twenty-four years ago this spring, my son and I met.

Deciding to write that letter to you was a very important step in fighting my way out of the adoption closet.  I could tell immediately it felt a lot better being “out” and breathing the fresh air.

For some reason, (Maybe all that missing white space) you never acknowledged my letter.  It doesn’t matter, Oprah.  I want you to know that it’s alright.  I don’t mind.

Over the years, I’ve come to understand, I wasn’t really writing that letter to you.  I was writing to myself.

Thank you for being my catalyst.  I wish you all the best.

a.k.a. Unsigned Masterpiece


2 Responses to Dear Oprah…

  1. Barbara Thavis says:

    Thanks for sharing and telling all of our stories. You write beautifully even though the story is so sad.

  2. Von says:

    What a wonderful post and what a breath of fresh air it is to hear what you’ve achieved.

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