Though they didn’t live together, Shawney and Luke were as close as siblings could be. The young pair resided in different foster homes, but they still saw each other all the time. Until, that is, they were each adopted out to different families. For almost two decades, they would have no idea where the other one was — but that all changed one day thanks to a fateful message on Facebook.
Shawney and Luke’s troubles started while they were both very young. A woman had taken the decision to adopt and raise Luke as her own, but she just couldn’t commit to taking on his sister as well.
Because of that, three-year-old Shawney would ultimately end up with a different adoptive family to her brother.
That meant the young siblings would now be separated by thousands of miles.
The kids had spent their earliest days as the best of friends, but now they would never have the opportunity to see each other again. They’d both found new families, but at the expense of a relationship with each other.
It’s unquestionably sad that these kids had been robbed of the chance to grow up together, but it wasn’t all bad. They had, after all, both entered into good homes and were being brought up well.
That’s the good news, but neither of the kids ever forgot about the sibling from whom they’d been torn.
The years passed, and Shawney and Luke grew up and lived their respective lives. They never saw each other, nor even heard any news about their sibling.
But as an adult, Luke was determined to track his sister down. He’d never forgotten her, so he got on social media and did some amateur detective work.
Not much to go on
Luke didn’t have much information to go on. He hadn’t seen his sister in so many years by this point, and he only really knew her first name and how old she was.
But with a bit of persistence, he managed to find someone on Facebook who seemed to fit the bill.
Sending a message
Now, all Luke had to do was to fire off a message to this woman to see if she was his sister. That must have been a strange, stressful greeting to compose, but it needed to be done. The question was, how would it play out from there?
Was he barking up the wrong tree, or was he about to reestablish contact with the sister he’d lost so long ago?
It had been 18 long years since Luke had seen Shawney, but he’d never lost sight of the bond they’d once shared. As anyone with a sibling will know, it’s a connection that stays with you for the rest of your life.
Even in circumstances as tough as the one this pair found themselves in, there’s no forgetting about your brother or sister.
Not much to be done
Still, for the first few years of their separation, there wasn’t much either kid could do. They were both so young, so they couldn’t exactly conduct a search for their lost sibling.
But even when they got a little older, they were still living in a world before social media was ubiquitous. Finding people wasn’t quite so simple in those days.
Life goes on
And as they got older, of course, life started getting in the way.
Luke, for one, had grown up to start a family of his own, so conducting investigations wasn’t really an option for a long time. He had other priorities upon which he needed to focus.
Besides, the chances of Luke actually managing to track down Shawney after all these years seemed slim, at best. Having initially lived in New Mexico alongside his sister, Luke had since moved to Baltimore.
And who knew where his sibling had ended up in the intervening years? She could have been anywhere.
Finding the time
Still, even with all odds stacked against him and with his own family to worry about, Luke eventually found the time to start looking. And luckily for him, this was 2017 — a time when social media was at his disposal.
Armed with Shawney’s name and age, he got to work and tracked down a woman he thought might be her.
This woman — who, at the very least, had the name Shawney — seemed to reside in Las Vegas, if her social media details were to be believed.
That meant thousands of miles had stood between her and Luke. Were it not for social media, it’s extremely unlikely they ever would have encountered each other.
Suspecting that just maybe he’d found the right Shawney, Luke composed a message and sent it off. He really hoped he’d managed to find his sister here, but he couldn’t be sure.
The wait after pressing send must have been agonizing, but a reply landed in his inbox before long.
Was this it, or was Luke about to be left bitterly disappointed? He braced himself and opened up the message. He took in the words, and gave it some thought. This seemed promising, but nothing could be confirmed yet.
He and Shawney sent a number of messages before they felt satisfied. But eventually, they were feeling good — they’d finally found each other.
No simple task
The pair lived so far away from each other, that nothing could initially be done.
Getting from Baltimore to Las Vegas is no simple task, and a lot of money and planning needed to go into a journey like that. So, even though the siblings had finally reconnected, they still couldn’t meet right away.
That was soon to change, though, as the TV show The Real had caught wind of Luke and Shawney’s story. This was the perfect content for their program, so the producers invited them both to appear on it.
This would be the first time they’d met in 18 years — and it was all caught on camera.
In the footage, Luke is brought onto set first, where he speaks about all that has happened up until this point. He brings the audience up to speed, but clearly he is a little distracted.
He keeps losing focus and surveying his surroundings, presumably attempting to see if Shawney is anywhere to be seen.
Luckily for Luke, he doesn’t have too long to wait. Shawney eventually makes her entrance, and the long-lost siblings are both reduced to tears.
After 18 long years of separation, they’ve finally been brought back together at last. It’s a happy conclusion to a difficult chapter in their lives.
Lost for words
For her part, Shawney explains her side of the story. She can’t actually remember Luke, and was only informed of his existence at 13 years of age. At that point, she started trying to track him down — and now her search is finally over.
Clearly delighted by developments, she gushes on the TV show, “Right now, I’m at a loss for words. My heart’s racing: I’m shaking. This is amazing.”
Sharing half their DNA
Shawney might have known Luke was out there in the world, but seeing his face with her own eyes was a surreal experience for which no one could have prepared her.
But their situation was oddly reminiscent of another woman Molly Sinert who had no clue that she shared half her DNA with someone else and only found out by taking a DNA test on a whim and reeling at the results.
It’s a pretty amazing story, folks, so we hope you’re ready! Molly was welcomed into the world on March 29, 1985, in South Korea. Following her arrival, she found herself in foster care.
Thankfully, a significant moment in her life wasn't far ahead. Yes, a couple from the United States named Marla and Merill Sinert looked to adopt the youngster.
A new home
Residents of Winter Park, Florida, Marla and Merill didn’t have any kids of their own, but they were hoping to change that.
So, after showing their intent to welcome Molly into their family, the baby was booked on a flight to America. As for what happened next, she went into more detail while chatting with Good Morning America.
“Just in awe”
Molly said, “I was adopted [by] a Jewish family. My parents drove up from Florida [and] picked me up right off the plane.
They tell me that I looked at my mom’s hair, because she has blonde hair, and I was just in awe. I couldn’t stop staring at it!” How sweet!
Thinking about the past?
From there, Florida became Molly’s permanent home. After spending her younger years around Winter Park, she now has a house close to Palm Beach, where she resides with her hubby Stephen Ellis.
But during all that time in the Sunshine State, did the adoptee ever think about her birth parents?
“No real interest”
Well, Molly was pretty blunt about that during an interview with People in June 2021. She told the publication’s website, “I knew I was adopted, but I had no real interest in finding my Korean family.
I grew up going to synagogue, this Jewish girl who was Korean, and I was a happy kid.”
As we noted earlier, though, Molly’s mindset eventually changed. Yep, after experiencing a worrying health issue, she wanted to learn more about her biological family in South Korea.
Specifically, the Florida resident was eager to see if they had a history of “genetic” ailments. Makes sense, wouldn’t you agree?
Taking the test
So, Molly underwent a DNA test via 23andMe. Would she get the answers she craved? Meanwhile, a different woman in America followed suit at roughly the same time.
Her name is Emily Bushnell, and her story has many similarities to the lady living near Palm Beach. Seriously, it’s pretty wild!
Much like Molly, Emily was also delivered in South Korea, before a Jewish family from Yardley, Pennsylvania, welcomed her into their clan.
Yes, Christopher Bushnell and Sandy Schwartz Klein took her in, and she joined their three sons at home. The youngster was only a few weeks old at the time.
A similar trajectory
Anyway, as Emily grew up, her trajectory seemingly mirrored that of Molly’s, though they both lived separate lives hundreds of miles apart. For instance, the pair both developed an interest in dancing from a young age and signed up for lessons.
Then, as they entered their teenage years, the duo got barista jobs as well. And it didn’t stop there.
Switch in mindset
You see, for the longest time, Emily showed very little interest in diving into her South Korean family history, too. So, what changed? Well, unlike Molly, it wasn’t for health reasons.
Instead, she was pushed into investigating her past by her young daughter Izzy, who she parents along with her ex Shawn DeAngelo.
“Wanted to find out if I had more family”
Speaking to Good Morning America, Izzy said, “I wanted to do the DNA test because [my mom] was adopted. I wanted to find out if I had more family on her side.”
On that note, Emily’s daughter connected to 23andMe, as the Pennsylvania resident was still pretty reluctant to do it herself.
Regardless of her own personal feelings, though, Emily looked to help Izzy in her quest for answers. So, she sent off her little girl’s DNA test. Talk about stepping up, right?
Mind you, no one could’ve predicted what happened next. A seemingly confusing twist came to light in March 2021.
Molly’s test results
And that brings us back to Molly. During that period, 23andMe shared some information about her DNA test, but it looked to be completely wrong.
It left her in a state of pure bewilderment at the time. She went on to disclose the confusing details while speaking to Good Morning America.
“I didn’t understand it”
Molly recalled, “I clicked on the ‘close relative’ [link], and I didn’t understand it. [It said], ‘You share 49.96 percent DNA with this person.
And we predict that she’s your daughter.’ Like, this is obviously not right because I’ve never gone into labor! I don’t have children.” So who was the girl in question?
We won’t leave you in suspense, folks — it was Izzy. How bizarre! Molly even admitted to People, “I thought the test was a scam at first.” You can hardly blame her for making that assessment.
After all, this was a pretty major error. But once the initial dust cleared, the Florida resident thought about it a little more.
While Izzy clearly wasn’t Molly’s daughter, there must’ve been another connection between the pair, given how high the DNA match was.
With that in mind, she then reached out to the youngster and shared a few details about her background. The adoptee included the place and year of her birth.
The same birthday...
In response, Izzy revealed that her mom was also delivered in South Korea. Then, she dropped a major bombshell: Incredibly, Emily arrived on March 29, 1985, too. Yep, she shared the same birthday as Molly.
Surely this couldn’t just be a crazy coincidence? We bet you've figured this mystery out by now!
Emily was aware of Izzy’s correspondence by this point, and started to do some digging of her own.
After searching for Molly on social media, she stumbled across a video clip that included her, allowing the mom to get a better look. To say she was surprised by what she saw would be a huge understatement!
Emily told People, “It was like watching myself. I was in complete shock.” At that stage, the explanation seemed clear as day — she and Molly were identical twins.
And by a stroke of amazing fortune, they’d found each other again after getting separated at birth all those years ago. Unbelievable stuff, right?
So what happened next? Well, after picking up her jaw from the floor, Emily provided a bit more information regarding her reaction to the discovery while chatting with Good Morning America.
According to the mom, she finally felt whole again, despite building a great life for herself prior to all this.
“A feeling of disconnection”
“A hole was immediately filled in my heart,” Emily said. “Although I have [a] family who love me and adore me, and have been absolutely wonderful, there was always a feeling of disconnection.
Finding out that I had an identical twin sister just made everything so clear. It all makes sense!”
Anyway, Emily and Molly began to exchange messages with each other soon after, sharing old photographs as well.
The twins quickly noted that they were rocking the same hairstyles in many of the images, which was another strange coincidence. But one shot in particular really caught their attention, as we’re about to find out.
Emily told Good Morning America, “[It was] our senior prom picture, where we’re both wearing a beaded dress with a strapless style, and our hair was exactly the same.
I realized that this is probably one of many twin moments that we’ll discover!” As they continued to bond, talk of a face-to-face meeting soon emerged.
In the end, Molly and Emily opted to come together in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This reunion was just too big for a simple FaceTime conversation! Plus, the date was significant, too. Yes, they arranged it for March 29, 2021.
Quite the birthday present, right? So, the Pennsylvania resident and her daughter made their way down to the Sunshine State.
Emily and Izzy waited patiently for Molly. All of them were no doubt racked with nerves! How would the big moment go? Whatever anxiety they felt quickly washed away, though, as the Floridian arrived.
She and her twin went on to share the most heartwarming of hugs, bursting into tears in an instant.
“Happiest moment of my life”
Does anyone else need a tissue, or is it just us? It was such a beautiful scene! Emily recalled to People, “I felt every emotion under the sun. All I wanted to do was hug [Molly].”
She also admitted to Good Morning America, “It was the happiest moment of my life. I can honestly say that.”
As for Molly, she immediately looked ahead to the future. Emily’s sister told the publication, “We have so much to learn about the lives we’ve lived. But I feel like [she knows] me better than anyone.”
As happy as the twins were after finding each other, a mystery continued to hang over them.
Why did this happen?
Yes, the big question remained: why did Molly and Emily’s birth parents decide to split the pair up in South Korea in 1985?
Unsurprisingly, they both had thoughts on the situation, pondering what might’ve been if they’d stayed together. Molly shared her words first in the Good Morning America interview.
“Could’ve been best friends”
Molly said, “I’m not sure why we were separated at birth. I would just ask [our biological parents], ‘Why?’ We could’ve been best friends, we could’ve done these things together.
But at this point, I think we just only have great things to look forward to.” Her sister concurred with that sentiment.
“I was robbed”
“I was robbed of the last 36 years of a life I could’ve had with my twin,” Emily said. “But at the same time, I’m very grateful and excited for what lies ahead.”
So, what came next for the reunited siblings? Did they have any clear plans for the future?
You bet! Following that first get-together, Molly and Emily maintained contact through daily messages, before organizing a big event in May 2021. In their eyes, it was time for their adoptive clans to get to know each other.
On that note, they all gathered in Pennsylvania. And they had a few more surprises in store during a different trip.
Emily’s family traveled down to Florida to spend a holiday with Molly, as their relationship continued to grow.
Meanwhile, a film crew based out of South Korea were also involved at that point, documenting everything for a special program on the Seoul Broadcasting System. The sisters were eager to explore and embrace their roots.
For instance, ahead of a family dinner, Molly and Emily donned “hanbok” — aka, traditional Korean clothing. Izzy joined them, too!
From there, the trio headed down to meet their loved ones, who all started to snap pics. It was a really nice moment, but one relative in particular was especially happy.
Sandy Schwartz Klein, Emily’s adoptive mom, shared her thoughts to the SBS cameras. She said, “The whole culture of Korea, I want them to be a part of that.
And seeing them like this is just really special.” The twins had additional plans to carry out alongside the celebration of their heritage.
With the film crew around them, Molly and Emily wanted to take advantage of the situation to try and find their biological parents. They just hoped to receive some answers for what happened.
In the end, the twins did discover a few tidbits about their parents' current status, such as their home address.
“No real hard feelings”
A message was fired off, but at the time of filming a response wasn’t received. Touching on their mindset, Molly said, “[There’s] no real hard feelings or resentment to anyone involved. We also lived amazing lives.
The universe looked out for us. So, [we’re] just [looking for] answers to complete the story.”
An old connection
While it didn’t look like they’d get them, though, Molly and Emily received a message from someone else close to the story. Yep, the lady who operated the maternity clinic they arrived in back in 1985 came forward.
She also wasn’t sure why the sisters were split, as the records made no note of it.
“I’m so happy”
In a video clip sent to Emily and Molly, the woman said, “Thank you so much for growing up so well. I’m so happy that the two of you met [after] 36 years and I wish you all the best.
I’m the one who assisted the delivery of the two of you. Your mother and father are probably living well, so live happy and stay healthy.”
Hope for the future?
Lovely stuff, right? Molly and Emily certainly seemed to appreciate it. But going back to their folks, the Florida resident had one last thing to say. She said, “I’m sure our parents are good people.
I think seeing us, hearing our story, maybe it’ll bring us together.” It’d be the perfect end to an already incredible tale.