not to be too Lindsay Lohan
November 13, 2014 5:53 PM   Subscribe

In London in 2012, aspiring French fashion designer Anais Bordier was shown a YouTube video starring Samantha Futerman, an American actress who looked spookily like her. Some investigation revealed that the two were both Korean adoptees born in the same port town on the same day. Anais reached out to Samantha on Facebook - and everything changed.

Ever since the first contact and the first Skype call, Anais and Samantha have gone on an epic international adventure to learn more about each other and find out if they are indeed twins. (Spoiler alert: yes!) Their adventure has been written into a book, and a documentary is on the way, exploring their adventures in each other's countries, getting to know each other's friends and family, and tracking down their adoption agencies and foster mothers at an international adoptee event in South Korea. Based on their experiences, the self-described Twinsters have started Kindred, an organisation aimed at supporting adoptee family reunions.
posted by divabat (46 comments total) 76 users marked this as a favorite
 
Nope. Not about to cry here. Nope.
posted by billder at 6:08 PM on November 13, 2014 [9 favorites]


I'm stunned (and teary-eyed, after watching that video). What an amazing story.
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 6:08 PM on November 13, 2014


Oh, yeah. Oooh, ahhh, that's how it always starts. Then later there's running and screaming because the crazy Ukrainian one starts ritually killing them.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:16 PM on November 13, 2014 [111 favorites]


leotrotsky, you stole my comment, but you also made it funnier, so it's ok, and you're forgiven, here's a favorite.

(And I'm moved too).
posted by kandinski at 6:18 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


In the book they talk about how Harry Potter was indirectly a catalyst for them meeting: Anais had the option to study either German or English in high school in France and very nearly chose German, but she wanted to learn how to read the Harry Potter books and so chose English instead. Good thing Sam is a Harry Potter fan too!
posted by divabat at 6:20 PM on November 13, 2014 [6 favorites]


This is pretty cool.
posted by klangklangston at 6:30 PM on November 13, 2014


My heart is definitely warmed. (Also, their dancing video is the cutest thing I've seen.)
posted by mixedmetaphors at 6:31 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Tunes!
posted by mintcake! at 6:39 PM on November 13, 2014


Aw, this is just so cute!
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:50 PM on November 13, 2014


oi, their dancing video made me tear up twice in a row. I think it's that the accents drive home how unlikely it was to find each other.
posted by postcommunism at 6:53 PM on November 13, 2014


Well, I'm two martinis in after a shitty shitty day and all I can think is, if I had a twin, I bet I could come up with a better story than this and raise even more money on kickstarter. Yes, I watched the video and I'm a cold hearted cynical bastard. Bad people and the Internet made me this way.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 6:59 PM on November 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


I bet they finish...
...each other's sentences.
posted by arcticseal at 7:05 PM on November 13, 2014


Discovering that you had a twin seems like it would be the awesomest thing. Unless your twin was a jerk, I guess.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:12 PM on November 13, 2014 [6 favorites]


That is genuinely heartwarming. (Except for their choice to use Facebookstories to tell their tale...what an awful interface).
posted by zardoz at 7:17 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is absolutely the most awesome thing. I just came back from a department meeting where I found out my university is apparently bankrupt again from overbuilding fancy things that they can't afford, so this is was so heartwarming to see and read about.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 7:23 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


zardoz: I'm under the impression that their Facebook Stories was part of a special 10 year anniversary thing for FB, not a free-for-all platform.
posted by divabat at 7:23 PM on November 13, 2014


If this turns out to be a marketing ploy, like those of "word of mouth" people from, spook county maybe? Can't remember.... But the Gibson novel where people had jobs casually talking about stuff only they were paid to do so.

I guess we kinda have that already, but hardly ever believe stuff like this anymore because it had never quite as plainly presented itself as a way to subtly advertise until that moment. It made sense, I'd just never thought about it.

And now I fully expect them to launch a clothing line and assorted life style things and our grandchildren will read about how it was all engineered.

/debbiedowner
posted by sio42 at 7:36 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Wow, what a charming story. I'm glad they found each other.
posted by shoesietart at 7:44 PM on November 13, 2014


I wonder how different it would have been if they weren't (at it seems) on about the same socioeconomic/educational level. If one was crazy famous and rich and the other dug ditches or something. One screaming left-coast globetrotting liberal and one never-left-the-state heartland conservative.
posted by gottabefunky at 7:55 PM on November 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


The CBC show The Passionate Eye recently aired a documentary about two baby girls adopted from China, one to an American couple and one to a Norwegian couple. Their respective adoptive parents notice when they each go to pick up their adopted girl that the two girls look very similar, though the adoption agency at the time denied they were twins. The story follows both families as they discover the truth. A must watch!
posted by just_ducky at 7:56 PM on November 13, 2014 [6 favorites]


I wonder how different it would have been if they weren't (at it seems) on about the same socioeconomic/educational level. If one was crazy famous and rich and the other dug ditches or something.

Suggested reading.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:07 PM on November 13, 2014 [8 favorites]


If one was crazy famous and rich and the other dug ditches or something.

I could see the political differences happening, but the chances of one of them ending up at the ditch-digging level seems fairly slim; international adoption is not a thing that poor people can do, so the chances of either child not growing up at least upper-middle-class would kind of come down to somebody's family falling on hard times in a way that doesn't usually happen to the upper-middle-class.
posted by Sequence at 8:23 PM on November 13, 2014 [9 favorites]


I have to admit, I was charmed by the "Oh my god, you're European!" line. How jarring it must be to see your face and hear a totally different accent come out.

(Plus, this will make it harder for them to pull any kind of Freaky Friday twin shenanigans until the actress one steps up her game, Orphan Black style!)
posted by TwoStride at 8:37 PM on November 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


I am weirdly jealous that this 100% cannot at all ever happen to me.
posted by Sara C. at 9:09 PM on November 13, 2014 [16 favorites]


Well, I'm two martinis in after a shitty shitty day and all I can think is, if I had a twin, I bet I could come up with a better story than this and raise even more money on kickstarter. Yes, I watched the video and I'm a cold hearted cynical bastard. Bad people and the Internet made me this way.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 20:59 on November 13 [1 favorite +] [!]


Now I want to get a sockpuppet named "Barty Slartfast"
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:59 PM on November 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


What a sweet story! And I'm usually pretty down on modern UI design, but I like the interface that lights up and makes it clear which parts of the story are told by which sister.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:30 PM on November 13, 2014


Sara C.: You have no idea how much and how long I've wanted something like this to happen to me.
posted by divabat at 10:33 PM on November 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


divabat, wanna be my honorary international twin? (hope you don't live in Los Angeles...)
posted by Sara C. at 10:43 PM on November 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


re advertising: They did end up in a Samsung Mobile ad. And Anais was already at the tail end of her fashion degree by the time this happened, so a clothing line is more than likely.

The book goes into some detail about how the documentary came to be - the moment Anais made contact with Sam and the possibility of them being twins came about, a lot of people in Sam's entertainment-industry world (including her manager IIRC) were trying to figure out ways to cash in on this. "Hold off until I sell your story to a TV channel!" kinda thing. Sam didn't want that, but she eventually came round to doing a documentary, as long as it was made on her own terms. Hence Kickstarter as opposed to a major financial backer.

At some point the duo head to Korea for an adoptees conference and the toll of the documentary process gets to them - especially Anais, who is already having a hard time with the conference (she was reluctant to go because she'd always felt that her birth mother abandoned her; Sam was more comfortable with her adoptee history and had been to Korea recently). Anais is frustrated that the energy Sam is putting into directing her film crew (made up mostly of Sam's friends and her boyfriend) is taking personal private time away from her, and she feels the strain of having to come up with a camera-ready response or to process all her emotions on film. She ends up getting physically ill, and Sam decides that the documentary process really needs to step back a notch (even when her film crew kept arguing in favor of better shots or artistic process or whatever).
posted by divabat at 10:46 PM on November 13, 2014 [9 favorites]


Sara C. : I live in the Bay Area, close enough? ;P
posted by divabat at 10:46 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


If you liked this (I did!), here's a similar story from a friend of mine, Dan Matthews! He went back to Korea to find his birth parents, only to realize that he had a twin brother.

(And I think they ended up recording a rap album together? Heh.)
posted by raihan_ at 10:54 PM on November 13, 2014


Related (get it?):
Homeless Texas teen finds sister, but that's not the best part

To be honest, since I know that these things often do not work out, I worry that it's too early for this guy. It does seem like Anaïs and Sam have spent enough time together that it will, though.
posted by dhartung at 11:31 PM on November 13, 2014


Seems like we're now recording our "first" Skype calls?
posted by infini at 1:26 AM on November 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is really neat.

They've used the $40k from their first kickstarter and are raising money for a second, and have a book deal.

I hope everything turns out for the best.
posted by mecran01 at 2:05 AM on November 14, 2014


have gone on an epic international adventure to learn more

I think I might have a twin, too. Where is my fucking crowdfunded adventure of a lifetime?

Unless your twin was a jerk, I guess.

Yeah well that's his fucking problem. Pledge now, pledge often.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:11 AM on November 14, 2014 [4 favorites]


I had a brother I didn't know I had for the first twelve years of my life. Not twins though (he's older). And looks nothing like me. And acts nothing like me! Hmmmm.

That said, it is very weird to go through a significant portion of your life and suddenly learn you have a sibling you were never told about. Seems like a thing someone should have mentioned somewhere along the way. There's definitely an adjustment period.

(The short version: Mom was pregnant teen in the 60s; put him up for adoption, he came looking for her later. For extra weirdness, turns out his mom knew my mom socially, but neither knew about the adoption details.)
posted by jscalzi at 7:20 AM on November 14, 2014


Seeing Sam for the first time put me into shock. I didn't know I was that short.


My heart, it is warmed!
posted by nicodine at 7:42 AM on November 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


I bet they finish...
...each other's sentences.


I wonder if they finish each other's...
sandwiches.
posted by amarynth at 8:11 AM on November 14, 2014 [7 favorites]


That's what I was gonna say!
posted by joannemerriam at 8:12 AM on November 14, 2014 [4 favorites]


why would you say ---
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 8:22 AM on November 14, 2014


Not long lost but separated: Mo Farah and his twin brother. With Mo as an Olympic medalist there's been a lot of speculation and might-have-beens in the press about this.
posted by glasseyes at 8:32 AM on November 14, 2014


infini: In the book Sam goes through the thought process of recording the Skype call - she had been hounded by her entertainment-industry friends to make a movie from Day 1 but she was reluctant to do so. She did think recording the Skype call would have been a good idea, as a keepsake, and also to share with family and friends.

The adventure was originally planned to just cover going to London, but as they got closer they decided to see each other more often.
posted by divabat at 8:38 AM on November 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


Oh, who wouldn't record the Skype call? You only meet your long lost twin sister once, it's definitely a moment to relive. Assuming it goes well, and hell, you can always delete the file if it goes horribly.
posted by tavella at 8:45 AM on November 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


My experience finding lost lost family has been deeply painful and super awesome and magical. So it CAN actually happen like that, even if it can also go horribly or lukewarm.

It's mostly painful because of how awesome it is, and how much was lost having gone without them so many years. I think for people who don't find a powerful bond with lost family, it seems the experience is more neutral overall.

I discovered that being powerfully deep emotional human rights activists is a common trait in my family- and we have super powers of magical super love that keep us connected! (Or at least the willingness to believe in magical super love seems to be common to my blood family as well.)

But human bonding might work different for the non magic folk. Not everyone is loyal to everyone they've every loved for all of time-- but those of us who are will never leave our family behind, they are with us always and part of our lives in the present. My womb sister was my BFF IN THE MOTHER FUCKING WOMB. We were two little adorable blobs together, hangin in the womb space. We're like, hey it's all good, life is awesome! And then all this birth shit and fucked up reality shit happened and it's like WTF IS HAPPENING THIS SHIT IS LAME.

We are still like two blobs in a womb though.

I hope in the next life I hook up with all my loves from this life and we will still be like family, and go on new adventures together. Not that I know if there is anything else, but I figure if it makes me happy to hope I may as well. I also think that we oversell the idea that each person is the same and experiences life the same. I have found that my blood family are an unspeakable treasure to me and understand things about my inner realm and thoughts that I have had a hard time finding elsewhere. A lot of time when we have gotten all we need from family we don't see the things we needed and took from them, so all we see is the bad, the ways we are different or don't get along. We can't see the treasures we DID take from them and that were good in our lives even if they came along with stuff that sucks (and with family there is always at least some stuff that sucks).

It's like living your life inside a building with no plants or sun, and thinking everything is ok because it's always been that way, and then getting to feel the sun on your face and the plants all around you and suddenly you know you've needed them all your life and you realize that you were going through something difficult without them. That's what it's been like for me. And the converse is people who have always had access to the sun and the plants might just think of them as boring shit that's always there, I mean plants just sit there, and have bugs on them and aren't particularly fun to play with and the sun makes you hot and is so annoying in summer. It's not like it's THAT neat or amazing, especially if you always had it.

But it's certainly hard to process, especially given that apart from cute stories like this, real meaningful bonds between blood relatives is actually very shamed when you try to talk to people about it outside of writing a cute story that people say aw about. The narrative that "blood means nothing" is what most adoptees are taught (or at least was and still is a very powerful narrative) and expected to live out, and people seem to feel justified in proclaiming this as a fact of life without any consideration that it's just one perspective and not actually a FACT of life. It certainly means nothing to some people, but not to all. Having spent a long time in adoptee/reunion circles and communities- I have seen a huge range and plenty of people have very intense and close bonds with biological family- if anything sometimes those have deep intense feelings have an ever harder time keeping in touch after reunion because it can be overwhelming. I have found those who it means rather little to are often at least willing to send a card here or there or make a phone call, because it would seem the nice thing to do for a person who gave you life or who you gave life to- or a sibling that seems to want some contact. Minus strong feelings opposing siding with caring and compassion, there's really no reason not to. (And I think those strong feelings are totally acceptable! I retreat when I feel sometimes them too.)

I find it really strange that when it comes to a cute story people temporarily allow adoptees to have a profound experience with biological family, but that doesn't seem to last into general consciousness in a way that birth bonds are permitted to be considered an actual need by people who feel such needs- or insuch a way that weactually stop to think whether a machine that produces separated family members as a way of life is actually the cute beautiful thing we simultaneously want adoption to be.

It's so cute when adoptive couples get their new baby! Nevermind the anguished pained mother left behind. It's so cute when reunion happens! Nevermind that our love for the cute sweetness of adoption (rather than the hard challenging work of supporting families in need) is often how they got separated to begin with.

And yes, my adoptive family is very much real family too. It IS the love that makes family, but my body did a lot of painful difficult work to create my children and that IS love. The cells in my body did powerful difficult work, literally a labor of love, to give two people life. As my family did for me. All of their very real efforts, sacrafices, and sufferings to make me exist and have what I do have- it all counts as acts of real love that bind family together. And if love is a verb, than the level of hell I have walked through for my daughter to exist in the world ought to make me a thousand times her real mother. If it's the level of love, than again, I have carried love for her every day I have known of her existence. What I have gone through for her is beyond anything I have gone through for my son, and I'm not sure what it is people think family means if it's not powerful love that will face any obstacle to be there for each other and make sure each other have needs met, even it if it means painful sacrifices like stepping aside. And if it's the amount of time spent together, then families where children are at day care all day are probably less family than those who spend more time together. If it's time spent together isn't that how that would work? But people fight that concept even as they still try to justify the erasure of biological family as real family who could love each other beyond time and space.

To me, to erase the real love and sacrifices of your family is something that should only be done if they have done something heinous to warrant disowning (which does happen).
posted by xarnop at 9:17 AM on November 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


I was curious if they had done DNA tests to confirm whether they were twins or not. Yep.
posted by maxsparber at 10:25 AM on November 14, 2014


Discovering that you had a twin seems like it would be the awesomest thing. Unless your twin was a jerk, I guess.

But then you could console yourself that they were the evil twin, not you.
posted by maryr at 11:20 AM on November 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


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