Movie About Triplets Brings Two Complete Strangers Together


Have you ever seen a documentary that changed your life? Food Inc. made people reconsider their eating habits and Making A Murderer urged people to question the American justice system. Pair the right message with some talented filmmakers, and documentaries can be a force for good in the world.

One 2018 documentary impacted anyone who watched it, but one New Jersey woman sensed a personal attachment to the story. Unable to shake the film’s message from her head, she pursued a mystery in her own life and found out a shocking truth about her past.

Michele Mordkoff had always known that she was adopted. Her parents had told her in detail about how they went to pick her up from the agency and how happy they were to finally bring her home.

However, on a summer’s morning in July of 2018, Michele was browsing her phone on her way to work when she scrolled past an article describing a new movie that had just come out. The story made her wonder about her past.

The docudrama, Three Identical Strangers, told the story of three young men who, during their time in college, discovered that they were all brothers, separated by their adoption agency. They’d been raised without any knowledge of each other.

These triplets’ adoptive parents hadn’t even known about the other brothers’ existences. Apparently, the adoption agency, Louise Wise Services, had secretly kept them apart for all their lives. But why?

The triplets, the movie revealed, were unknowingly part of an experiment by the late psychologist Dr. Peter Neubauer who wanted to study the effects that different economic status, locations, and other major life factors would have on the same DNA.

When Michele read all about the movie, the triplets, the agency and the experiment, her heart began to race. She had been adopted from that agency — and her year of birth in the early ’60s was close to that of the triplets!

Wondering if she had any siblings whose existence had been hidden from her, Michele contacted journalist Lisa Belkin, who had previously investigated the obscure agency.

With Belkins’s help, Michele took a DNA test to find any possible mystery relatives out in the world. She anxiously waited a few weeks before the ancestry test results were finished.

The genetics company had connected her to someone with a full DNA-match, meaning they were an immediate family member — that was sibling territory. But there was no picture or full name to be found, only some initials: A.K.!

Driven by an overpowering sense of curiosity, Michele jumped on Facebook and searched for Kyle Kanter, a name that’d come up in her family tree. She searched through his friends for hours — and then hit the jackpot.

There, on her computer screen, was a name written in bold letters: Allison Rodnon Kanter, from Calabasas,

California. All the way on the other side of the country. Her initials matched the DNA profile, but her profile picture, below, struck Michele the most.

“I saw myself in her face,” said Michele in her interview. “I then checked her birthday and it was May 12th, 1964.” It was the same date as her own. “I just lost my footing and dropped to the floor.”

“It’s crazy,” said Michele’s son, Andrew, about his mother’s discovery. “I knew she was adopted, but hearing the word twin is just a whole other thing. It makes her a different person with a different background and a whole other family out there.”

Of course, just knowing she had a twin wasn’t enough. So, on August 10th, Michele and Allison were finally going to meet face to face. Lisa Belkin documented the unbelievable event. “I feel like it’s my birthday,” Michele said the day of.

At a hotel in New York City, Michele and Andrew waited anxiously for her twin sister to walk into the door, not knowing what to expect or how they would feel about each other. Finally, Allison walked through the door.

Despite having never met, sharing stories, or seeing each other before, the women clicked with each other instantly. From their physical features to their hair and clothes, nobody would doubt for a second that they were twins. They were sisters.

After comparing their appearances, Michele and Allison fell quiet for a moment, overwhelmed by each other’s presence. “We don’t even know what to say to each other,” Allison laughed. “But it’s a good thing,” Michelle added.

Though at first they kept the conversation light, they soon posed the question on everyone’s mind: what about their birth parents? Michele was adopted at 5 months old on October 14th, and Allison just two days later. “That’s so messed up,” Michele sighed.

“I keep thinking, how could [the adoption agency] do this to people?” Allison said. “They were playing with fate, I don’t understand it.” Michele agreed. “I know, they completely screwed us over. We could have been the twins!”

Still, the women planned to make up for lost time. “I can’t wait to get to know her,” Michele said. “Other than the birth of my children, this is the best day of my life.” Allison echoed the sentiment. “It still feels almost unreal. But after today, I know it’s true.”

Word of the twins’ reunion made it back to Tim Wardle, the filmmaker behind Three Identical Strangers. “I’ve been struck by how instinctive, magical, and moving genetic reunions can be,” he said.

He continued, “this isn’t to denigrate non-genetic relationships, which can also be wonderful, but there’s something extraordinary and almost transcendent about observing the interaction between two people who have never met before but share the same DNA.”

So far in January of 2019, Michele and Allison are the only twins who have found each other due to Three Identical Strangers, but the investigations into Louise Wise’s history aren’t over yet. Meanwhile, DNA tests keep solving mysteries. Take these two friends from Hawai’i, for instance.

It was the 1960s, and Walter MacFarlane and Alan Robinson were entering Punahou middle school in Honolulu, Hawaii. Walt and Alan, whom everyone called “Robi,” quickly became friends for life.

The boys did everything together. They both played on their high school football team, enjoyed playing cribbage, and loved being outdoors. But common interests weren’t all that brought them together.

While Walter never knew his father, Robi never knew either of his biological parents because he had been adopted when he was just a baby. Naturally, because of this, the boys felt a connection on a deeper level.

 

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