This is the text version of the YouTube video "UNLOCKED Full Episode: "Super Siblings"…".
Click on a phrase of interest to open a video of that moment.
[narrator] Today... [Oprah] Made for the movies, this story is twins separated at birth. How this fairytale reunion happened. I'm speechless. Then, one by one, their family's secret came out. That is fascinating! And the once conjoined twins, we've got good news. The update. Plus, triplets with a big million-dollar promise. All right! [narrator] The stage is set. The studio audience, specially hand-picked for this show. Now, introducing Oprah and six little miracles. [applause] [audience cheering] [Oprah] Hello, hello! [audience cheering and applauding] [Oprah] Come on, right here. No, no, no, no, go stand up. No, no, no, no, no. No, no, no, no. We're all going to stand up. Not yet. Not yet, okay. Yeah. [audience cheering] Okay, no, we're not sitting yet. We're not sitting yet. Did you know, I don't know if you know this. It's National Siblings Day, we're in Chicago with an audience full of -brothers and sisters! -[audience exclaiming] [applause] Okay, no, don't touch that. That's called your microphone, you're not... And here are my six new little friends, they are... Hold on! Hold on. They are history making sextuplets. Let me introduce them. Have a seat, everybody, have a seat. Have a seat. Kalynne, Kiera, Kobe, Kaleb, Kieran and Kyle Harris. -Yay! -[audience exclaiming] [Oprah] One, two, three, four, five, six. And big brother Dewayne. They run. They scream... [kids screaming] ...and even have a tantrum or two. [kids wailing] [Oprah] Managing all these four-year-olds... Ah... ...is no easy task. This is where I spend most of my day. Doing laundry. [Oprah] But Chris and Diamond Harris say they wouldn't have it any other way. It all started six years ago, when Chris and Diamond decided to have another baby. [Diamond] Dewayne was an only child and he was getting older and he needed someone to play with. I didn't want him to be left alone. [Oprah] They tried desperately to get pregnant, but had no success. It was difficult for Chris and I to get pregnant at first. A local fertility clinic recommended that we start off with doing artificial insemination. [Oprah] Soon, their prayers were answered. Diamond discovered she was pregnant with twins, or so they thought, until another doctor's visit turned their lives upside down. [Diamond] They did a sonogram and found out there were five heartbeats. When I found out that there were more than two babies, I panicked. I panicked 'cause no human being should be carrying that many babies. Girl... Whoo! [Chris] I was like, "Whoa, five in one time. That's not even humanly possible, that's a litter." What are we going to do? How am I going to take care of this many babies? How am I going to carry all these babies? [Oprah] How are you gonna take... [audience exclaiming] For all of you hardest working women in the world, I think are moms and so imagine this, that you think you're carrying twins and you end up with six babies. Those of you who are mothers out there know what that could be like. Chris and Diamond are here along with older brother Dewayne. Hi, Dewayne! [kids shriek] -Dewayne, you wanted-- -[all applauding] Dewayne, you wanted a brother or sister to play with, right? -Yes, ma'am. -So now you get them all. [all laughing] [Oprah] So, were you comfortable having five at first, 'cause at first you thought it was twins. Then you saw five heartbeats. Yeah! Then five heartbeats and there was a sixth one hidden underneath. -[Oprah] After birth, I heard. -[Diamond] Yeah. I wouldn't say comfortable, I was... I kind of went crazy. Somewhere between the Demerol and morphine, I calmed down. [all laughing] 'Cause I imagine, you say on the tape, you know. You're the first person that's ever said that to me. I've interviewed other families who have had, you know, six children, five children at one time and these are the first African-American sextuplets who ever survived. -Right. -Yeah, so they've made history. First African-American sextuplets to ever survive. But... I've never heard anyone be quite as candid as you have been about it, because they usually say, "Oh, wonderful, this is a blessing, God's love..." [laughs] -It's a blessing, but no. -No. [audience laughing] No, I'm just being honest. I was scared and I didn't know what I was going to do, so... -You know I was just trying to go give my... -You panicked, you panicked. I panicked bad, I started getting hysterical. The doctors was trying to calm me down, they literally checked me into the hospital that day. -[Oprah] Really? When you found out you have five. -Yes. Yes, yes. And then who was buried underneath the afterbirth 'cause you all thought there were five and then there was a sixth one. -Kyle. Yes. -Kyle, was underneath. -The last one to come out? -Right. And so when they were first born, I understand they could fit in the palm of your hand. [Chris] Yeah, they were so small at the time, actually I have something to show you. -They were so small... -[Oprah] Yeah. ...that they would fit in the palm of our hands and they could actually... My wedding ring would go all the way up.
-[Oprah] Up their thighs. -[Chris] Up to here. -[Oprah] Wow. -[Chris] And all the way up to here. [Diamond] We had nothing to put on them. So, nurses got together and got uniforms and sewed 'em. -And this is what they were wearing. -[Oprah] Really? -[Oprah] Up their thighs. -[Chris] Up to here. -[Oprah] Wow. -[Chris] And all the way up to here. [Diamond] We had nothing to put on them. So, nurses got together and got uniforms and sewed 'em. -And this is what they were wearing. -[Oprah] Really? They look like little itty bitty doll clothes. Wow, my goodness, isn't it something? [audience gasps] -Isn't that something? -[Chris] They had no outfit that could fit them. -So they really had to literally make them. -Make them. -And then they stitched it. -Right, from the... Just say, you know, a shoutout to all the intensive care nurses all around. [audience clapping] [Oprah] Love the babies into health. Love the babies. Love the babies into health. And so, who helped you? In the beginning there was so much support from the state, from all over actually. And now we still have a lot of support from my state, but mainly family support. But mainly family support. Now I heard... Now listen to this, all of you, for all you moms out there who have breastfed. She breastfed all six! [audience exclaiming] She breastfed all six! [audience cheering] Oh, my goodness! How did you do that? Complained the whole time. [all laughing] But how were you? We're you pumping, pumping, pumping, pumping. At first I breastfed, and then one of them bit me. And after that I said... I said, "I'm pumping." And I pumped. The doctor told me Mother Nature would take care of this all. And I pumped enough... I was pumping about 50 to 60 bottles a day. [audience gasps] [Oprah] Oh! [all laughing] Now look at all the women grabbing their breasts. Oh, my goodness, and how long did you do that for? For about six months. They dried me up, I could not produce anymore. [Oprah] Really, really. So, how do you support a family of now nine? -Right. -On your teacher's salary? -Well. -Teachers. -Yeah, teachers. -Teachers. -We got a lot of support from community. -[Oprah] Yeah. We got a lot of support from family, um, some with some income, we're just blessed to have some set back and we're still living off some set back. -The house is paid for. -[Oprah] The house is paid for and you -already had paid for your car? -Yes. [Oprah] Already paid for your car. So you were preparing to have another child? -[Diamond] A, a... -A, a. -[Chris] One. -[Oprah] Another child. Come on, Oprah. Get it right now, one. [Oprah] 'Cause she wanted Dewayne to have somebody. Dewayne, what's this been like for you? Is it a little overwhelming? I like having more brothers and sisters because ever since they were born, there's been a lot more people around the house to play with. [all laughing] -I can see, I can see. -He said he feel like a slave. Does he? -That's what he says when he's not on TV. -[Chris] Right. Yeah, okay. But what is it then, what kind of adjustment... Hello! What kind of adjustment has it been for the family? A big adjustment, because we're not used to... this. I mean, both of us came from big families and we were just trying to add on. -Yeah. -And just... No sleep, no private time. -[Chris] Absolutely none. -[Oprah] Absolutely none. Yeah, so, we're not expecting any more babies. No, ma'am. Oh, no, no. Hush your mouth now. -[Oprah] Hush your mouth now. -[Chris] Case is closed. [all laughing] Oh, may God continue to bless you and your family. Thank you so much. This is the Harris family. [audience cheering] The only sextuplets, African-American sextuplets, who all survived. We'll be right back. [instrumental music playing] Beautiful job, well done. [Oprah] Coming up next, one by one, their secret came out. Four times. Plus a special update on Maliyah and Kendra, the adorable conjoined twins who were separated. [upbeat music playing] So we just met the Harris sextuplets. I mean, my head is spinning just from them being on for five minutes. They make a lot of noise. So, Diamond, stand up and take a bow. [applause] [Oprah] Six at one time! Oh, my God. How do you do it? I would litera... I think I would lose my mind. Yeah, I'm acting like I'm sane. [laughter] I'm here with an audience packed with brothers and sisters -and I love National Siblings Day. -[applause and cheering] I didn't know there was a National Siblings Day. So this is the day. Call your sister, call your brother. Call your brother, call your sister. Yeah. A few months ago, we met two delightful sisters, uh, who I know that many of you have never forgotten. They were conjoined twins, Maliyah and Kendra Herrin, made international headlines when they were successfully separated. When we met them, Maliyah was in desperate need of a kidney and I'm happy to report that she got one. Last week, -cameras were there as, um... -[audience applauds] She was so sweet. She was so sweet, but she was really sick when she was here the last time. And cameras were there as another miracle unfolded. [Oprah] Five-year-old Maliyah and her mom Erin will soon share an even closer bond.
Erin is about to donate her right kidney to her daughter. But first, she wants one last look at Maliyah who's already in the operating room. [nurse speaking] Erin is about to donate her right kidney to her daughter. But first, she wants one last look at Maliyah who's already in the operating room. [nurse speaking] [Oprah] Doctors carefully remove Erin's kidney, and then reconstruct the organ to fit her daughter's tiny body. Almost an hour later, the kidney transplant is complete. It fits Maliyah perfectly, and her body accepts the kidney right away. It seemed to work almost immediately after the blood began to flow to it. Everything went very smoothly, as well as we could have possibly hoped for. [Jake] We're just so upbeat and just so grateful. They performed miracle after miracle after miracle... Looking back, it's amazing how far we've come. So, Maliyah is recovering in a Salt Lake City hospital and doing really well. Living on her mother's kidney. And our best wishes go out to that entire family. They've been through a lot. Can you imagine? So, now I would like you to meet the Huckabys. [Jann] Kids in school would always say, "You're so lucky, you're a Huckaby." [Oprah] There are eight Huckabys, five brothers and three sisters. [Jude] Jude, Joan, Jann, Jason, Janie, Jonathan, Jody and John Jr. We were a close family growing up in a very small Southern town. It was full of traditions, stability and continuity. [Oprah] These siblings say growing up, there was no place like home, sweet home. We always did things as a family. [Jason] Our dad would take us to school every morning. He'd pick us up from school in the afternoon. Coming back from school, we would always have some snack. Either we'd walk into the house with chocolate chip cookies, or cupcakes. My mother made us feel very special. Our house was a magnet for neighborhood kids. [Jody] People liked to play football and baseball and all the sports in the backyard. There were three bedrooms and one bathroom. Being in such a small house, it was kind of hard not to know what was going on with each other. [Oprah] The Huckaby children say they were raised in a conservative Catholic home, where everything centered around their faith. All you had to do was walk in the house to know it. You saw statues. Jesus and Mary and Joseph and a whole bunch of saints. [Jason] Church every Sunday. Uh, grace before meals. My parents showed all of us what it means to be family, every day. [Jann] We always felt like, as though, when we went to bed at night, we had a good time. We had really lived a good day. [Jody] A lot of people looked at our family growing up, and they knew that there was something special. And there was something very special about this family. This is Jonathan, Jason and Jody. One by one, each of them came out with a secret they shared for many years. And the secret was... Well, Oprah, the secret is that we're gay. There are four gay siblings in our family of eight. [Oprah] Wow. -[applause] -Wow. And... This was the thing that I'm wondering about is that none of you knew that the other was. -No. -[Oprah] None. And you were the first, Jason. -I was the first. -[Oprah] Yeah. I was, uh... It was about 1985, and I was studying to be a Catholic priest. I'd been in the seminary for a number of years. And I came to a point in my life where I realized that I didn't want to live my life alone. -That I needed to have a partner in my life. -[Oprah] Mmm-hmm. And so that's what precipitated my coming out to my family, and my brothers, my parents. Did you come out to the priest first? Did I read that, did you come out to the... -I did, that's correct, so... -[Oprah] And the priest said what? The priest who was in charge of my formation at the time was very disappointed. 'Cause I think it was a double shock. I was coming out as being gay, and I was leaving the seminary at the same time. -[Oprah] Uh-huh. -And his reaction was, well, "I don't really think it's possible for a gay person to be happy." And I think, that was sort of a stab in my heart. -But it also... It was 1985. -[Oprah] This is 1980... 85? Okay. But it also, though, sort of made me more courageous. -[Oprah] Really? -Like to say... Yes, I can do that. -[Oprah] I will be happy. -I will be. Okay, and so what was it like coming out to your family? It was really tough because we grew up in a very... -[Oprah] We see. Yeah. -Large, conservative... -Religious family. -[Oprah] No, with the kind of family that everybody, I mean, -I think June Cleaver did exist in your house. -[laughter] [all laughing] -Yes, you had... -She was buried under the cupcakes. -[laughing] -You had cupcakes when you came home. Did anybody else have cupcakes? [all laughing] I know, you had cupcakes and cookies when you came home. Yeah, I used to dream about that. But anyway... Go ahead, go ahead. It was difficult, because, um... I knew that there were certain expectations in our family. And our family had been accustomed to sort of, playing by the rules and, uh... trusting our faith, but there was a really strong foundation there too and I had already moved away from home by the time I came out -'cause I was away at school. -[Oprah] Yeah. And I think in some ways, I trusted, even though it was very scary, I trusted that there was enough of a solid foundation there.
That it would, eventually be a safe thing for me to do. To come out to my family. And so did you gather them all together, did you... -I wrote them a letter. -Okay. I was chicken. [laughs] That it would, eventually be a safe thing for me to do. To come out to my family. And so did you gather them all together, did you... -I wrote them a letter. -Okay. I was chicken. [laughs] -[Oprah] Wrote them a letter? -I wrote them a letter. [Oprah] And how was that letter received? Well, apparently... It wasn't received very well. Um, Jonathan was telling a story yesterday, you want to tell that story? -[Oprah] Yes, Jonathan. -It was over a holiday, I believe a Christmas holiday and my parents pulled us together. to tell us that they had received a letter from Jason saying that he was gay and my parents were not... were not pleased. By any means. -Yeah, do you remember that? -I do remember that very well. It was, um... Just like you saw on the video all of us were seated at the table and Dad said, "Well, we got this letter from Jason and Jason's gay." And it was clear that this wasn't okay. It was real tough. Now at that time, 'cause how long had you felt that you were gay? -Oh, for a long time, and some... -For a long time? -...of my closest friends knew, not very many of them. -[Oprah] Yeah. [Oprah] Yeah, had you also felt it for a long time? Oh, definitely, I felt it actually from a very young age. -Yeah. -I just knew that, there was something different. Really couldn't put my thoughts around it. But I just knew something was different and as I got older, um, kind of had a better sense for who I was. Yeah, and you knew, too? Yeah, again as Jonathan said, it the was the sense of being different. -Being in such a big family. -[Oprah] But you'll were all different, but the same. Well, yeah, yeah, go figure. -[Oprah] But you didn't know. -If only we had been able to talk about it. But you know, there were just no parameters, you know, we went to Catholic school. And you certainly didn't talk about that with the nuns at Catholic school. -[Oprah] Yeah. -So while we have this, this... Thing in common, there was no context to talk about it. But just society, culture, school, there was nothing. So did you grow up dating? Did you grow up dating girls? -Yes, I did. -They did, I didn't. -[Oprah] You did not? How did you skip that? -I didn't. -I didn't skip it when it came to like, the senior prom. -Oh, 'cause you were... Yes, I was just going to say you had to go to senior prom and you had to -find a girl. Yeah. -That's right. -So you have to play those roles... -[Oprah] Yeah. To a certain degree and then eventually you can sort of come to terms with them. Okay, coming up, the straight Huckaby siblings join us next and you have another gay brother who's not here. -That's right, yes. -[Oprah] Why isn't he here? He's out on the west coast studying, so he couldn't be here, unfortunately. Oh, okay, we'll be right back. I just want to make sure. -[all laughing] -[inaudible] [instrumental music playing] [upbeat music playing] [audience cheering] I just said that. It's National Sibling Day and I just said, "Who makes these holidays?" And you said, "Hallmark." [all laughing] Call your sister. We just met the Huckabys, a family with four gay brothers out of eight siblings. There are four who are gay. This is Jann and Jude, they are not gay. They are two of the straight siblings. There are two others in the Huckaby family. And is it true that when your brothers came out, Jann, that you just completely rejected them? Yes, I sure did, unfortunately. But, um, I was raising four young children at the time. And I just felt like I could not accept in them what I would not accept in my own children. -[Oprah] Mmm-hmm. -That's how I felt. I was raised very Catholic. I was very visible in the Catholic Church as a pro-life advisor and within... I started thinking about it and praying about it. -[Oprah] Yeah. -And I realized that, um... When you say "but then," does that mean, but then... -It took time. -The next week, the next year. No, it took probably... I want to say probably, a year, a year and a half. -Yeah, it took a while. -[Oprah] Yeah, did you all feel rejected? You know, there was a tension without a doubt. You come home for holidays and if you came back with a partner, there was a sense of... [Jonathan] An underlying surface tension. You knew it was there. It was never in your face rejection. -Right. -But it was something... [Jody] But something we didn't talk about. So okay, you know the family had this big discussion, everybody's around the table and read the letter or said that you'd sent the letter saying you were gay, 'cause you were the first one to come out, Jason. And then when you went home, what happened the first time? [Jason] We didn't talk about it. So you know, -we talked about it. -[Oprah] That's the American way. [crowd laughing] That's the American way. -Let's just ignore it. -When are you going to come home again? -[Oprah] Yeah. -But we just didn't.
-[Oprah] You never... Wasn't brought up. -Not really, yeah. Now, so having him come out, did it make it easier for you all to come out? I don't know. For me, it did not make it easier because I saw how my parents reacted. -[Oprah] You never... Wasn't brought up. -Not really, yeah. Now, so having him come out, did it make it easier for you all to come out? I don't know. For me, it did not make it easier because I saw how my parents reacted. And I was concerned, you know, I knew couldn't come out when I was in Eunice. I had to be away, I had to have left town. I needed my support network, but I was really concerned about how they were going to react to me. 'Cause was it a small town? Very small town, Eunice, great town but a small town. Everybody knows everybody's business. [Oprah] And everybody certainly knew the Huckaby children. Everybody knew the Huckaby children, that's for sure. -[Oprah] Yeah. -Right, right. And so, Jude, I understand that you believe that they had all made this choice to be gay. You know, when Jason first came out, I thought, "Well, he's choosing this." But after, you know the other, um... brothers came out, I said, "This can't be a choice. This has to be... this is the way that they were born. -This is probably genetic." -Well, how long did it take you to come to that? After probably all four had come out and I said, "This can not be coincidental." -This can't be. -[Jonathan] There were none left. [all laughing] -Nobody left. -[Jude] Exactly. So, Jody is the executive director of, what is it called? -PFLAG. -PFLAG National. And it stands for Parents Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. And I hear PFLAG helped your mother find some peace with having... -That's right. -...four gay children. In the 1980's, Dear Abbey, the great columnist had written a column, published a column about a mom struggling with the fact that she had a gay kid. And my mom tells me that she remembers that column so well and when that column was published. And thousands of letters were written to PFLAG because Dear Abbey recommended that parents contact PFLAG. And for me, it's sort of a full-circle experience because all these years later, I'm running this national organization and it's for parents, it's for family members and friends and straight allies to deal with these issues. So we do support, education, we work to change the laws. Yeah, at first though, I think... You didn't even want them around your children, correct, Jann? It's true, because I had such conflicting opinions. I loved them dearly, but yet I didn't want them to have that influence. But then, after I prayed about it and I realized that I did not need to judge, I needed to love. -[Oprah] Yeah. -And that was a big deal. [all clapping] And you came to that, too? Is that what you came to, too? Well, this is what I understand is that all when you were... After all of you came out, people would say you should be on The Oprah Show. -[laughs] -Yeah, it's true. -Yes, Jonathan. -For many years, my friends would tell me... When I tell them I have four gay siblings in our family and four straight. You guys need to go on Oprah. [audience laughs] -And today it actually happened, thank you so much. -Today, it happened. Thank you, Huckaby family, we'll be right back. [Oprah laughs] It happened. [instrumental music playing] [Oprah] Coming up next, separated at birth and a twist of faith reunion, we'll meet a pair of miracle sisters. And later, how these triplet brothers beat the odds times three. [applause] So, we are celebrating siblings today. This is Mia and this is also Mia. The miraculous chain of events that brought these two little girls together, is something that you'd only see in the movies. But you're gonna see it right now. Take a look. [Holly] My daughter Mia is the sparkling jewel of the family. She lights up everybody's hearts. [Oprah] Holly and Doug Funk lived in Illinois with their five children when they decided to adopt from China. In July of 2004, they were blessed with a beautiful baby girl who had been abandoned at a textile factory as a newborn. They named her Mia. [Holly] When I received her in my arms, the day that we got her, she captured my heart right away. I just wanted to take her home. [Oprah] Hundreds of miles away, in Florida, Diana and Carlos Ramirez were also making plans to adopt. I've always dreamt of a little girl. I was happy with my two boys. But always felt like this emptiness, like I wanted a daughter. [Oprah] Diana says she was instantly drawn to photos of a Chinese toddler, who was born with a hole in her heart. [Diana] For some reason, that moment that I saw her, something in my heart said, "Name her Mia." [Oprah] In October 2005, Diana and her family traveled overseas to bring home their two-year-old daughter. [Diana] Mia is everything to our family. We don't remember what life was like without her. She's just an awesome joy. [Oprah] Holly and Diana had never met. But they both belong to the same online adoption support group. Last May, Diana posted a message that would end up changing their lives forever. [Diana] So, I posted that Mia was gonna be turning three in June and we would be taking her on the Disney cruise for her birthday. When I read that, I thought, "That's funny." So I said, "Hey, Diana, I have a Mia also. And she's gonna be three on the 13th of June." When she wrote back to me, she said, "Are you kidding? My Mia is gonna be turning three on June 12th. Where was she found?" And so, I wrote back, "Well, at the gate of a textile factory off Pecan Street." -[Holly] And she wrote back... -[Diana] "Are you sitting down? Because that sounds like the location where my daughter was found. Please send pictures right away." -Isn't that amazing? -[man] Oh, yeah.
-[applause] -That's amazing. The Mias' moms are here. Diana and Holly, so... tell me what happened next, Diana. As soon as she sent pictures, -[applause] -That's amazing. The Mias' moms are here. Diana and Holly, so... tell me what happened next, Diana. As soon as she sent pictures, and we saw the similarities, I thought it was time to do DNA testing and with the help of a friend that had currently been through the same thing prior, we did the testing. So, were you... You were open to doing the testing, obviously. Oh, yeah, I knew that it was time. So, tell me what you were both thinking at the time. I think you were saying that you always felt the number two. [Holly] Yes, when my husband first felt like we were supposed to adopt, um, he felt from the Lord, adopt from Asia. We already had five, we were done. And then the Lord spoke to his heart, and at the same time, I got the number two, and then the Lord said to me, "You're gonna name her Mia." I never thought of the name before. And I said, "Yeah, we're gonna name her Mia." And you did, and so, were you thinking that she had a... that there was another child some place? -Never. It was a complete shock. -[Oprah] Never. Complete shock. So the DNA tests say... [Diana] That they were siblings. -[Mia sneezes] -[Oprah] Wow. -Bless you. -[Oprah] Bless you. Bless you, sweetie. That they were siblings? And so, you then realized that you had adopted... Are they twins or siblings? Well, according to the birth dates, you don't know because you don't have -birth parents to test against, so... -Yeah. [Diana] It's difficult, but according to everything, the DNA can only tell you without a birth parent that they're siblings, but... -[Oprah] Yeah. -[Diana] Pretty obvious. Pretty obvious. Pretty obvious, and what did you think? I was in complete shock. It's like an emotional roller coaster. -[Oprah] Uh-huh. -'Cause first, you think, "Wow, can this really be?" And then you think, "Okay, now there's strings attached to this whole miracle." And then you think of God's awesomeness and his hand in all this and how he perfectly orchestrated everything... -[Oprah] Yeah. -...to, you know, bring them together. [Oprah] And so when did the girls first meet? Who're you waving at? Who's over there? -[Diana] Who's waving? -Daddy. -Daddy. Okay, good. -[Diana] Daddy. -Daddy, okay. -[audience coos] They first met August 18th of last year. [Oprah] Please wave to her. [laughter] [Oprah] Thank you, thank you. -They met last year? -[Diana] August 18th of last year. [Oprah] Look at you, look at you. Oh, my... [Diana] Mia and I came to Chicago and they met at O'Hare airport for the first time. -[Oprah] Wow! -[Diana] Yeah, I see that. -[Oprah] Wow, did they recognize each other... -Look, sister. -Sister. -[Oprah] Sister. Did they recognize each other immediately? [Diana] They had never met or seen each other before. But it was like an instant click. So what is the story? What is the story? They both were left at the same place and then... -They were abandoned a week apart. -Yes. And then they were taken to Yang Xiao Social Welfare Institute. -[Oprah] Mmm-hmm. -Where... I believe she was adopted, she was at... Nine months? How old was your Mia? -[Holly] When I adopted her? 13 months. -[Diana] Yeah. 13 months. -[Oprah] And your Mia was? -[Diana] She was two years, four months old. 'Cause she had a special need, so she was there longer. Two Mias, you thought Mia, she thought Mia. -So we have two Mias. Two sisters named Mias. -Yes. And you think that this is special 'cause they'll all grow up and, hopefully... go to the same college or... We hope that, that they'll grow up, that they'll... Well, we live far, but they talk on the phone once a week. -[Oprah] Mmm-hmm. -And we plan to visit each other a couple of times a year. -[Oprah] Uh-huh. -[Diana] And hopefully grow up to be great friends. [Oprah] Great friends. -Besides sisters, great friends. -Besides sisters. [Oprah] Thank you, thank you. -Diane and Holly. Diana... -[applause] Diana and Holly. Thank you, Mia. -Thanks, Mia. -[Diana] Say you're welcome. Thank you, Mia. Thank you, Mias. We'll be right back. We'll be right back. [applause] [instrumental music playing] [Oprah] Coming up. The million-dollar promise made by these triplets. More super siblings next. [upbeat music playing] Well... [audience applauds] Listen, uh... My team will look for any excuse to do a show and so we heard it was National Siblings Day and then I heard that only 27 states have really officially declared a National Siblings Day. So, it's sort of halfway National Siblings Day here in the USA. But call your sister, call your brother. So we invited nearly 200 brothers and sisters to join us in our studio audience. Give a wave, will ya? [audience cheers] It's a good excuse to come to The Oprah Show, bring your sister. Now, if you're a mother raising young boys, I think you need to just put down the laundry right now. Stop everything you're doing because this... You need to see. -[instrumental music playing] -[train horn blowing] [Oprah] Welcome to Edwards, Mississippi. Population, 1300. And home to Kenya, Deshon and Warren.
Also known as the Martin triplets. Today, at 28 years old, the Martin boys have come a long way from their humble beginnings. From the time the triplets were old enough to remember, Also known as the Martin triplets. Today, at 28 years old, the Martin boys have come a long way from their humble beginnings. From the time the triplets were old enough to remember, education has been a priority and faith has been the cornerstone of their household. Our mom kept us in three places. She kept us at church, she kept us here at the house and at school. She was determined to make sure that we succeeded. [Oprah] But when the boys were just ten, their father died... suddenly from a massive heart attack. The carefree world that the triplets and their two older brothers had always known was forever changed. [solemn instrumental music playing] Their mother, Elinder, struggled to make ends meet. She raised her five boys the best she could on her school teacher's salary. I remember we had an ice storm and the lights were out for a week. And I remember my mom holding her head crying because without power, there is no way to preserve food. And so, having just lost her husband, with the possibility of losing all the food that we had in the house. And facing the task of raising five Black men on her own. I can imagine the hopelessness she felt. [Oprah] They say, at times, the family went for weeks with only peanut butter and crackers to eat in a neighborhood that had little to offer. [Deshon] There was drug activity, there was crime. There was a lot of hopelessness in and around the town of Edwards. Mom kept a track on us, she monitored our activity. We knew those things existed, but we knew that was not going to be an option for us. Mom was just determined to not let us become a statistic. She was determined to make sure we succeeded and that we go out of this ghetto. Not only did the Martin brothers succeed, they soared. The triplets finished high school at the top of their class. They attended Jackson State University all together. Kenya and Warren graduated valedictorians and Deshon finished with a 3.9 GPA and then they went on to graduate from the University of Mississippi's Law School together. And then they passed the BAR on their very first try. Please welcome the Martin triplets. [audience exclaiming] [instrumental music playing] Oh, oh! Oh, oh! -Hey, big hug, big hug, big hug. -Thank you so much. Big hug, big hug. Big hug, big hug. [Oprah] Oh, my goodness. Oh, boy. Thank you so much, Martin triplets. Well, it's just an honor to be able to sit next to you. Thank you so much for having us. No, no, no, thank you. Thank you for being the living example of what is possible. -So true. -So true. And so what is the foundation for, do you think, for the success? The bedrock for our success -is faith in God. -Faith in God. Our mom made sure she kept us in three places at all times. She kept us at church, at home and in school. -[Oprah] Really? -And as a result of that, I think that produces the success that we've achieved. [Oprah] How did your mother stress that education was so important because you know this is so lacking in parts of our community now. I think it hit us early on, I think probably the first day was the day next to the passing of, after my father died. My mom sent us to school the very next day. -[Oprah] Really? -I mean, the weeping, tears, the crying, the sorrow. She looked all three of us in the eyes and said, "You're going to school." We had two... We had two visitors the morning our father passed. Our aunt came in our small room. -The three of us shared a room. -[Oprah] Yeah. She came in our room and told us that our father had passed and the next words we heard were our mom's. She came in and she said, "You guys are going to school the very next day." -[Oprah] Wow. -I think her focus was so that we wouldn't focus on grief. We could set our sights to school and academic achievement. And that's exactly what we did. How did you know academic achievement was it? Well, we weren't athletically inclined. [audience laughing] She taught us to read for understanding and we focused, with her direction we finished Ole Miss Law School and Jackson State University top of our classes. [Oprah] That is amazing. Now, this is the thing, I understand that you guys, I read this and I just love this story that you would be riding your dirt bikes. -[Deshon] That's right. -Dirt bikes and singing the multiplication tables. We did two exercises, my mom would lock us in our room with a small tape recorder and she would play the multiples and we had to stay there until we had them memorized. And once we had them memorized, we could go outside ride our bikes. We rode our dirt bikes across the little dirt road and we would sing our multiplication facts to each other. [indistinct chatter] -Also... -Okay, six times three. [all laughing] She would change the tapes out and we would listen to state capitals and that kind of thing and we would sing the state capitals while riding our dirt bikes. Wow, we'll be back in a moment. That's really wonderful to hear. -[all applauding] -Wonderful. [upbeat music playing] [Oprah] Are there only boys in the family? -Five boys. -Five sons? -Your mother had five... -[Deshon] By herself. -[Oprah] By herself. -Raised us. [Oprah] 'Cause how old were you when your father died? -We were ten. -You were ten when your father died and had to go to school the next day. The Martin triplets, their mother Elinder is here and she raised five successful boys on her own. You must stand up and take a bow for that. [all applauding] Five successful boys on her own. -[Oprah] On her own. -Thank you. When I heard about these young men, I said to my producers, I wanted to know, What was your secret? How did you do that? Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. A lot of praying. -[Oprah] Yeah. -A lot of praying. And I, as the boys said, I integrated... church, school and home. Home first, school second and the church. But there are a lot of mother and single mothers out there, God bless every one of you who's doing the very best you can. Who is trying very hard. Who wants their child... Their sons to be as successful as yours and who is saying all the same things, and the difference is that you didn't just say it. I lived it, demonstrated it, modeled it, whatever... word you want to use, I did it. I didn't send them to church, I carried them to church. [all laughing] [Oprah] So you were sitting there with them? Sitting there with them. At school, I was their fourth, fifth, sixth grade language, arts and reading teacher. [Oprah] Oh, my goodness, what was that like? What was that like? Having your mom as your teacher. It was tough because she knew. We're they all at the same class at the same time. Were you? -We were. -They were. And I think, Oprah, she held us to a higher standard than everybody else. [Kenya] She knew what we were capable of doing. There's no way we could fool her. No Bs. -All As. -No Bs, that's what my dad said. Well, I had a couple Bs, he was like, "No Cs, you can't live in this house." Where am I going to live? [all laughing] [Oprah] Where am I going to live? Because you can't live in this house if you bring in Cs. Where am I going to live, Daddy? So you're the older brother, Ivan. -Yes, I am. -What was that like, having all these... siblings? It was a unique experience, you know. The triplets, my brother Tyrone Precious Martin and the triplets up under me. She forced... It was harder on me because I had to be the example. -[Oprah] Really? -They... went on to Jackson State. After Raymond High School, but I had to precede. [Oprah] Really? [Elinder] And then went to the army before graduating from Jackson State with honors. -[Ivan] Yes. -[Oprah] Wow. [Elinder] But the foundation was laid then because they saw Ivan graduate, they saw Precious graduate from Tougaloo as I did. So they had no choice. [Oprah] They had no choice. -It was more so like... -[Oprah] But I mean, boys are rowdy. Boys have to get in trouble. -No. -[Oprah] No. [all laughing] -[Warren] He was more so... -No rebellion at home. -[Oprah] No rebellion. -Zero rebellion, no rebellion. Rebellion was not allowed. [Oprah] Rebellion was not allowed. And Ivan and Precious were more so like a father figures than brothers. -[Oprah] Because you were older. -Exactly, after our father passed, I mean we didn't treat them like brothers. I mean we had to do what they told us to do. We had to obey them. -[Oprah] I bet they ordered you a lot. -They did. But it was for our good. We'll be right back. [all applauding] [upbeat music playing] Okay. It's somewhat of a National Sibling Day, so go call your siblings. Thanks to all my guests, to all the brothers, sisters, sextuplets, triplets. So if you have a brother or sister, call them or send an email just to let them know that you're thinking about them today. Thank you, families. Thank you. [all applauding] [Oprah] Thank you. Huckabys! [theme music playing]