Identical twins who were separated at birth reunite after 13 years

Identical faces, VERY different lives: Vietnamese twins who were separated at birth because their mother couldn’t afford food reunite 13 YEARS later – after one was adopted by a family in Chicago while the other was given to her aunt

  • After Isabella Solimene and Ha Nguyen were born in Vietnam in 1998, their mother noticed that they were malnourished, so she decided to give them up
  • She gave Ha to her sister, and Isabella went to an orphanage, where she stayed for four years until she was adopted by an ‘affluent white couple from Chicago’ 
  • But when Isabella’s adoptive mother ‘read a number of expert studies about the psychology of twins’ years later, she made it her ‘duty’ to reunite the young girls
  • She jetted off to Vietnam, where she interviewed orphanage staff and locals in an attempt to find ‘clues’ – and she was eventually able to track Ha down
  • The twins met for the first time since birth when they were 13 years old – and while it was ‘awkward’ at first, they eventually became ‘inseparable’
  • Now, their powerful story is being told in a book written by Erika Hayasaki, called Somewhere Sisters: A Story of Adoption, Identity, and the Meaning of Family

Identical twins who were separated at birth because their mother couldn’t afford to buy them food reunited after 13 years apart – thanks to one of their adoptive parents who set out on a mission to ‘bring them back together.’

After Isabella Solimene and Ha Nguyen were born in Vietnam in 1998, their mother noticed that they were malnourished, so she decided that she wasn’t fit to take care of them.

She then gave Ha to her sister and her sister’s partner, and Isabella went to an orphanage, where she stayed for four years until she was adopted by an ‘affluent white couple from Chicago.’

But when Isabella’s adoptive mother ‘read a number of expert studies about the psychology of twins’ years later, she made it her ‘duty’ to reunite the young girls, Insider reported.

Identical twins who were separated at birth reunited after 13 years apart – thanks to one of their adoptive parents who set out on a mission to ‘bring them back together’

After Isabella Solimene and Ha Nguyen were born in Vietnam in 1998, their mother noticed that they were malnourished, so she decided that she wasn’t fit to take care of them

She gave Ha to her sister, and Isabella (seen at the orphanage with a friend) went to an orphanage, where she stayed for four years until she was adopted by a Chicago-based couple

She jetted off to Vietnam, where she interviewed orphanage staff in an attempt to find ‘clues,’ tried to get a hold of adoption records, and spoke to locals – and she was eventually able to track Ha down.

The twins met for the first time since birth when they were 13 years old – and while it was ‘awkward’ at first, they eventually became ‘inseparable.’

Now, their powerful story is being told in a new book written by Erika Hayasaki, called Somewhere Sisters: A Story of Adoption, Identity, and the Meaning of Family, which dropped on October 11.

According to Insider, Ha was raised in a ‘humble village’ with ‘sparse electricity’ in the coastal region of Vietnam. As for Isabella, she grew up with five siblings in a suburb of Chicago. 

Both were told about their identical twin from an early age, and while they admitted that they were ‘curious’ about each other, neither of them thought they’d ever have a chance to meet in person.

‘I grew up being curious about it,’ Isabella told the author of the book, per Insider. ‘There was another person out there just like me, but I didn’t feel like I needed to know who it was.

Ha added: ‘I was curious about my twin. I knew she lived in America. I told myself I would not ever go to America. So I just thought then, “I guess I will not ever meet my twin sister either.”‘

But when Isabella’s adoptive mother ‘read a number of expert studies about the psychology of twins’ years later, she made it her ‘duty’ to reunite the young girls, Insider reported

Isabella’s mom jetted off to Vietnam, where she interviewed orphanage staff – and she was eventually able to track Ha down. Isabella is seen with her adoptive family

The twins met for the first time since birth when they were 13 years old – and while it was ‘awkward’ at first, they eventually became ‘inseparable’

But Isabella’s mom became determined to find Ha, and with the help of a local Vietnamese woman, she was able to locate her.

Now, their powerful story is being told in a new book written by Erika Hayasaki, called Somewhere Sisters: A Story of Adoption, Identity, and the Meaning of Family

In July 2008, she visited Ha and her family – without Isabella – where she showed them pictures and videos of her daughter. Ha told Erika that she felt ‘overwhelmed,’ and told Isabella’s mom that she wanted to meet her in person.

Three years later, in 2011, Isabella and her mom boarded a plane and flew across the globe to Vietnam, where she met her twin sister in the airport – but it certainly wasn’t a reunion fit for the movies.

Instead, the author described it as ‘awkward,’ especially because they couldn’t communicate due to their language barrier.

Isabella recalled her body going ‘limp’ when Ha gave her a hug, and told the author that her first reaction to Ha was ‘resentment’ – because she didn’t want another sibling.

But the two slowly started to bond as they discussed their childhoods, with the help of a translator which they realized were very different but full of similarities.

‘We have similar scars in similar places,’ Isabella explained to Erika. ‘Different little nicks and moles all over our bodies.’

On her blog, Isabella said they boned over their mutual love of soccer, writing, ‘We found out it doesn’t matter what language you speak when you play soccer’

‘Not being able to communicate has been difficult, but we managed to make a connection regardless,’ she wrote at the time

They also bonded over their mutual love of soccer. Isabella wrote in her blog afterwards: ‘Ha and I spent our first day together at the VinPearl Amusement park. We did a lot of fun things, from a carousel ride, to water slides, wave pools and lazy rivers. We had the most fun playing soccer on the beach of the South China Sea. 

‘We found out it doesn’t matter what language you speak when you play soccer. Not being able to communicate has been difficult, but we managed to make a connection regardless.’

She also recalled seeing Ha’s living situation for the first time on her blog, which she described as ‘a cement blockhouse with just a bed and a bed net to protect her from getting malaria.’

‘I felt a deep sadness as I saw her home for the first time. Do you wonder how two people so much alike could be living two very different lives?’ she said.

‘The Countryside of Vietnam could not be more different than the suburbs of Chicago. 

In 2016, Ha decided to move to America to spend more time with Isabella. She went to live with the Solimene’s, finishing out her last two years of high school with her twin in Chicago

Afterwards, the teens studied at the same college for four years. Now, they’re as close as can be, and they’re so thankful that Isabella’s mom decided to pursue Ha all those years ago

‘Her home sits among rice fields, dirt roads and open air homes. Being in the countryside, It taught me that people can be happy without the worldly possessions, but it also taught me that people living there also have a loss of opportunity.’

After the trip came to an end, Isabella’s mom helped pay for Ha to go to an elite private school in Vietnam, and provided her with the latest electronics including an iPhone and laptop – so that the girls could talk over FaceTime or Skype.

In 2016, Ha decided she wanted to move to America to spend more time with Isabella. She went to live with the Solimene’s, finishing out her last two years of high school with her twin in Chicago.

Afterwards, the teens studied at the same college for four years. Now, they’re as close as can be, and they’re so thankful that Isabella’s mom decided to pursue Ha all those years ago.

‘Ha has helped me a lot in my life to be a little bit more emotionally present,’ Isabella gushed to the writer of the book. 

‘She has allowed me to grow in an environment that is a safe space. I have always felt like she’s had my back.’ 

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