The doctor delivered the news and it felt like a punch to the gut. But that just couldn’t be right, could it? They were devoted to each other and neither of them had any reason to believe that anything was wrong. But it was.
The doctor was telling them that they were brother and sister. But how had this happened?
Brittany Henley had just gone through a painful divorce. Aside from the unbearable loneliness and upheaval she was going through in her life, she felt like the family she had always wanted was no longer on the cards.
She had been looking for a new start, so she decided to make a huge change. Little did she know, her troubles were just beginning.
Picking Up The Pieces
When 29-year-old Brittany had picked up the pieces and come to terms with her failed marriage, she knew that she needed to make some dramatic changes.
After nights of soul-searching in the house she’d always dreamed would be filled with her children, she finally made a decision. But starting a new life wouldn’t be easy…
A New Beginning
Brittany left her old life behind and relocated to Fort Payne, Alabama. She got a retail job at a small retail store. She felt optimistic about her decision. She purchased a 3-bedroom “fixer-upper” home that desperately needed renovations.
It was a project she’d given herself to take her mind off things. She still wanted a husband and kids… but for now, all that would have to wait.
Keeping Herself Occupied
The renovations Brittany planned to do would cost a lot of money – money she didn’t have. But slowly and surely, she began to make a dent in her to-do list, making most of the repairs herself.
Her project kept her occupied and focused while she slowly got her life back on track. But life had something else in store for her. She met Mark.
Brittany met Mark Torres while she was at work and he immediately asked her out. But she had just come out of a long-term relationship, so she declined. Despite not feeling quite ready to date again, she couldn’t deny the instant feeling of attraction.
A few months later, Brittany felt like they were ready to try things out as a couple. But they had no idea what trouble was looming down the road.
A year later, Brittany and Mark were happily married. Brittany finally felt that her life was going in the right direction.
Even though her last marriage had ended on such a sour note, she’d learned to love again. And, with Mark’s help, her renovation project was almost finished. But her life was about to get a whole lot worse.
She Wanted A Big Family
Brittany knew that she wasn’t getting any younger, and she still desperately wanted children. She’d been adopted as an only child, so having a big family had always been important to her.
After all, they were living in the 3-bedroom house by themselves… it made sense to her to take the next step. They decided it was time to try for a baby.
Trouble In Paradise
Everything had seemed like a dream come true until reality came knocking. Things had been going well for the couple so far, but there was something that made Brittany question everything.
They wanted to have kids but, almost a year later, they were having trouble conceiving. It seemed that mother nature just wasn’t on board. And there was a devastating reason for that.
Brittany knew that it was time to get help, so she and Mark decided to consult a fertility specialist to explore the possibility of IVF.
The doctor explained the process and it seemed like a viable option, so they decided to take the next steps. But, when the doctor ran some routine tests, he discovered something that nobody could have prepared for.
During the in-vitro fertilization process, a DNA sample from both the male and female is checked to get a profile of the couple’s genetic background – this is to safeguard against hereditary defects that could be passed on to the baby.
Although the DNA is not usually checked for any relation between the samples, the lab assistant noticed something that made her do a double-take.
The lab assistant who was handling Brittany and Mark’s tests was immediately struck by the similarity between the two DNA samples. At first, she thought that the couple may be closely related, perhaps cousins – which does happen sometimes.
But, on closer inspection, the findings were much worse than that. The doctor called Brittany and Mark back into the clinic to break the devastating news.
Brittany and Mark sat opposite the doctor, completely oblivious that what he was about to say would leave them completely shellshocked.
The doctor gently explained that the results from the DNA tests indicated that Brittany and Mark were, in fact, fraternal twins. At first, Brittany thought that it had to be some kind of joke.
Brittany sat, dumbstruck by the news, and then Mark yelled: “You can’t be serious? There must be some kind of mistake!” Then, he burst out laughing. “Sure, we have birthdays on the same day, but that’s just a coincidence…” he said, trailing off.
But, unfortunately for them, it wasn’t a mistake. Seeing that the doctor was dead serious, the reality began to dawn on them. But how had this happened?
“The biological parents of the couple had died in a car crash when the couple were infants, and they had no close family willing to adopt them. They’d been taken into state care, and were adopted out to separate families,” the doctor, who wishes to remain anonymous, said.
“Due to a filing error, neither foster family had ever been told that their adopted child had a twin.” And they had met each other purely by chance. So, what now?
“I really hope they can work something out,” the doctor said. “For me, it’s a particularly unusual case because my job is all about helping couples conceive a child. This is the first time in my career that I’ve been glad I haven’t succeeded in that regard.”
Brittany and Mark had no choice but to approach the high court.
The devastated couple brought their case before the high court and told their terrible story. The court immediately ruled Brittany and Mak’s union as legally invalid, and their marriage was annulled.
Their case prompted activists to fight for adopted children to have greater rights to know the identity of their biological parents. And Brittany and Mark aren’t the only ones who have found themselves in this terrible situation.
Adriana and Leandro
Brazilian couple Adriana and Leandro had known each other for ten years. They had dated, gotten married, and even had a six-year-old daughter before they found out that they were a lot closer than they had initially thought.
Adriana and Leandro had bonded over not knowing who their mothers were and had spent their lives trying to track their moms down.
After a failed marriage, Adriana moved back to her hometown. That’s when she met Leandro. They instantly hit it off.
Adriana and Leandro both knew that they had been abandoned by their birth mothers at a very young age. Adriana hadn’t seen her mom since she was a year old, and Leandro only learned at age 8 that the woman he thought was his mom was actually his stepmom. They could never have known the awful truth.
Even as Adriana and Leandro got married and had a child together, they never stopped looking for their birth mothers.
Adriana was 39 years old when she reached out to a local radio program called Radio Globo’s The Time is Now. The radio show specialized in reuniting lost relatives, so she asked them to help her find her mother.
Adriana was over the moon when she got the call. The people who did the research and presented the segment had successfully tracked her mother down, and they were going to reunite them live on air.
She had waited for this moment for 38 years and couldn’t believe it was finally happening. Little did she know, all her dreams were about to be shattered.
The Big Day
On the big day, the radio presenters introduced Adriana to her long-lost mother, Maria. “We thought it was funny that both our mothers had the same name, but it is a common name so we just thought it was a coincidence,” Adriana revealed in an interview.
When Adriana’s mother revealed, live on air, that she had another child – a son named Leandro – Adriana felt her stomach drop. Yes, it could have been a coincidence that she and Leandro’s mother had the same name… but this was something else.
“I don’t believe that you’re telling me this,” Adriana said, in tears. “Leandro is my husband.” There was an awkward silence as both parties processed the news.
But, unfortunately, it was true. The man she’d been with for ten years was her own biological sibling. When she got over the initial shock, Adriana had another terrible thought.
Adriana was terrified to go home after the radio show. She couldn’t just turn off her feelings for her husband… she was so confused. But how would Leandro react now that he knew the truth?
“Now I’m scared to go home and find out that Leandro doesn’t want me anymore,” she admitted. “I love him so much.”
Leandro, however, is still committed to his wife – even after hearing the terrible truth. “At first we were really shocked by it all, but we had a family meeting and told everyone that we are going to stay husband and wife, whatever anyone might think,” Adriana told Radio Globo.
Another more surprising discovery happened in Seattle when four friends discovered they were sisters.
Their friends all said that the pair looked alike, but when they snapped that selfie it changed everything.
The two new friends continued with their lives after that fateful evening, but when they looked closer at the photo they couldn’t help but have a strange feeling that there was something much larger going on here than just a chance encounter.
In 2004, Rachelle Dyer unwittingly took the first steps in a chain of events that would take ten years to unfold. Rachelle, her husband, and son left their home in Seattle when she accepted a teaching position at Tallwood elementary school in Virginia Beach.
Little did she know, fate had brought her to Virginia for a reason.
Rachelle had left her twin sister and her family in Washington to pursue her teaching career, and as anyone who has moved to a new town will know, the change can be daunting. She had no relatives or friends to speak of in Virginia, but that was all about to change.
The faculty at Talwood Elementary quickly took a liking to her, but it was for a surprising reason.
Everyone at Talwood said that Rachelle bore a striking resemblance to another well-loved former member of staff named Shannon Nicoll. They showed her photographs of Shannon, but Rachelle didn’t see the similarities… at first.
Shannon was now working at King’s Grant Elementary, just a short drive away. So naturally, news of the mysterious replacement teacher reached her ears quickly.
Shannon was shown photographs of her mysterious doppelganger, and couldn’t help but admit that her and her replacement did share similar features. But she left it at that. After all, who could have suspected the truth?
It was only in 2009, five years later, that Shannon and Rachelle would meet in person for the first time.
Two Worlds Collide
A mutual friend invited Shannon and Rachelle to a Kenny Chesney concert, and when their two worlds collided, there was no undoing it.
When Rachelle saw Shannon for the first time, it was like looking in a mirror. The pale hair and blue eyes, the heart-shaped lips, the chin that came to a sharp point… it was uncanny. The two remained fast friends after that. Their fates were entwined, although they didn’t know it yet.
It was purely coincidental that Tallwood Elementary was running an ancestry project. And that’s when the principal suggested that Rachelle take a DNA test. After all, if a person doesn’t know where they are from, how can they know where they are going?
Being adopted, Rachelle was naturally curious about her biological mother, but she never suspected that something as simple as an innocent DNA test would turn her life upside down.
Unfortunately, all that the DNA test revealed was a cousin named Tracey Hall, but it was this revelation that would set Rachelle on the right path to finding her truth.
She reached out to Tracey, and was surprised to discover that the cousin she hadn’t even known had existed knew all about her. And she had been keeping a monumental secret for years.
Tracey thought carefully about revealing the secret her own mother, Sue Hall, had entrusted to her all those years ago. But secrets have a way of outing themselves. She decided it was high time that the family scandal was dragged out into the light.
It was a secret that her mother had taken to the grave, and Tracey didn’t want to hang on to the burden anymore. With a shaking voice, she told Rachelle everything.
Unlocking The Truth
Tracey’s mother, Sue, had a sister named Janice Moore. Rachelle listened to what Tracey told her with baited breath. She knew that she was about to finally unlock the truth of her identity. But did she really want to know?
She had thought about it long and hard, and had decided that she had to know… she needed to know who her mother had been, and where she had come from. And Tracey was more than ready to spill all the details.
Tracey then went on to tell Rachelle that her sister, Janice, had given birth to twin girls. Unfortunately, she was unable to care for them and decided to put them up for adoption. These twin babies were Rachelle and her sister, Kristelle.
This news was hardly a revelation, as Rachelle knew that she and her sister had been adopted. But now, at least, she knew who her mother was. Tracey continued, but what she revealed next shattered Rachelle’s world.
When Janice had found out that she was pregnant with twins in the 1960s, she had made a tough decision to give them up. Their father had abandoned her and she couldn’t give her babies the life they deserved.
Two years later, Janice fell in love with a man named Dean Holley, and they married and started a family.
It turned out that Janice had given birth to another pair of twins just a few years after she had given Rachelle and her sister up, and Rachelle was floored to hear that these women were living in Virginia Beach.
Their names were Lisa Holley and Shannon Nicoll. When Rachelle heard Shannon’s name, it was like a bolt from the blue. Rachelle started to shake, and her face drained. She pulled out her phone and started dialing.
When Rachelle told Shannon the news, she was in complete shock. “Lisa and I had no idea at all that our mother had even given birth to twins in the past.”
She also added, “Rachelle and her sister knew that they were adopted all these years, so for us, it was pretty mind-blowing.” What the supposed friends had felt for each other was far more than friendship — it was a family bond.
“Janice was determined to do the best thing for the twins, and we always wondered about them,” Tracey revealed in an interview. So it was a wonderful surprise when Rachelle made contact.
The four siblings wasted no time, and once the initial shock wore off, they were eager to try to be siblings in earnest. And when they all met up in person, the similarities didn’t end in appearances.