Identical Twins, Separated by Adoption, Reunited by Chance


As a father of fraternal boy-girl twins, I’ve often jokingly described my home life as a “continuing experiment in nature vs. nurture.” It is of course, only a joke, but it touches on one of the central mysteries of human existence: what makes us who we are? The question is even more compelling in the instance of identical twins who share not only a womb, but are also genetically identical. This most elemental question is what gives Identical Strangers by Elyse Schein and Paula Bernstein such depth, as it relates their true story of learning after 35 years that they are identical twins, deliberately separated by an adoption agency that placed them into similar households as part of nature vs. nurture twins study. They grew up completely unaware of the other’s existence. Their discovery of the study is as shocking as their discovery of each other, a reunion that turns out to be far more emotionally complicated than one might imagine. The clip below is a tantalizing “trailer” for the book and you can have lunch with Elyse and Paula on Thursday, September 18 at noon as part of the Hyman S. and Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival.

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7 Responses

  1. [...] Identical twins who were separated at birth were reunited by chance. What an opportunity to study nature vs. nurture. [Blog at 16th and Q] [...]

  2. As the father of twins myself, this seems fascinating.

    Mine will sometimes look into a mirror, and if you ask who that is, they’ll answer their sibling’s name.

    creeeepy…..

  3. Ha, I just can’t stop thinking about Lindsay Lohan (pre-*troubles*) in Parent Trap. Or all those (pre-*troubles*) Mary Kate and Ashley situations in Full House.

  4. I think this was a horrible experiment and it appears that if neither would have been looking for information, they would never have known of the existence of the other. Talk about cruel.

  5. i know it is curle because i hand idintcail tiwn cussions they were the best of freainds and close and when the other one that got killed in a car weark she felt it i cant imangine some one wanting to saprate twins at birth or switch them at birth i wouldnt do that and me and my husband are looking into adopation of idantical twins if you know any one that has indintical twins that want a loveing and careing home from the ages a year up to three years of age please email me Ljwomack3303@aol.com we want girls

  6. its a nice story to be reunited by a chance to me its heart warming.

  7. How are they doing and why were they apart all these years

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