I say this because several years ago a good friend of mine, Kathleen LaBounty was featured on an Oprah episode that dealt with donor conception. Kathleen, along side Wendy and Ryan Kramer, and several others in the DC industry were discussing reunions, and primarily the "heroic" efforts of the DSR to find siblings for every donor conceived offspring in the world! [Note sarcasm here.] With such happiness, who could disagree that donor conception is wonderful?!?!
Apparently Kathleen could. But was quickly hushed, because no one wants to hear something sad when the show's all about sunshine and rainbows!! Now Kathleen has not been the first person who has gone on Oprah's show to learn that Oprah herself was very pro-adoption/donor conception and has absolutely no tolerance for individuals who believe it is their right to know their biological kin. Oprah seems to be in the same camp as many recipient moms who see such opinions as being ungrateful whining brats, and feels no qualms with telling her guests that off-stage!
So lets talk about the so-called "Oprah Effect". It's well documented in pop culture that Oprah has the Midas touch. Literally. Everyone/everything she endorses seems to succeed. She has made numerous other talk show hosts famous (i.e. Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz.....just to name a few) because they started out as regulars on her show. Clothing, makeup and hair products, even fitness guru's. It seems to me it must be the goal of any fledgling entrepreneur to want to grab the attention of Oprah to thrive. She has her own book club, that is probably more respected than the NYT Bestseller List. It seems any book Oprah uses for her book club becomes an instant sensation -- even books that were previously deemed dusty classics meant to torture high schoolers around the country, like Steinbeck's East of Eden, received a revival of Biblical proportions!
|Oprah and her half-sister Patricia|
The fact that Oprah explicitly stated how happy she was to have learned of her half-sister and to have reconnected with her gave me at least a small bit of hope that perhaps this experience changed her opinion on the needs and desires of adoptees and donor-conceived adults to seek out their kin. Obviously the powerful emotions connected to these reunions justifies the importance of these relationships and proves that knowing ones family is a step towards knowing oneself.
If Oprah has indeed changed her opinions on adoption and donor conception and their subsequent needs to find their biological family, I would hope that she would entertain in the future more open discussion about this topic as well as some of the more corrupt sides of these industries with the help of her new half-sister. And if her golden touch on everything else perpetuates onto a newfound understanding of the deep desires that adoptees and donor conceived adults feel, she may be able to help us change the collective mind of America and abroad to one that is more sympathetic toward the losses associated with adoption and donor conception, which should be considered if not paramount at least as important as the losses associated with infertility.