Ever since I could maintain conscious thought, I knew I was adopted. To be fair, it was hard not to. Despite the fact I was the only Chinese member in my large Irish family, I never felt different.
While I had a normal childhood filled with love and laughter, I always wondered if something was missing in my life - namely, my biological relatives.
Don't get me wrong, I treasure the family that raised me, but the thought of having siblings halfway across the globe frequently plagued my mind. However, despite the fantasy, I'm unsure how I would react.
While I may never know the details of my bloodline, two women discovered that not only were they siblings, but also identical twins.
The girls had been abandoned by their biological parents, as Katey Bennett was discovered in a basket on the steps of an orphanage, while Amanda Dunford was found tied to a pole in the home of a street vendor.
But, after 33 years, Dunford and Bennett were reunited after being separated at birth. The twins were born in South Korea but were adopted by two different families who lived on the opposite sides of the United States (Arizona and California respectively).
When Dunford was seven years old, her mother told her there was a possibility she had a twin sister, but she had already been adopted.
In 2013, Dunford decided to submit her DNA to genetic testing service, 23andMe, to find out if she had any diseases or allergies, she also wanted to see if she could find any members of her biological family.
Dunford didn't have to wait long, as Bennett would soon send her a message.
Bennett, who was unaware she had a long lost twin, took the same DNA test in 2017, which gave her the life changing news.
“It said, ‘You have one direct relative that’s taken this test,’" Bennett said. "And it gave me Amanda’s name and said 'identical twin sister."
“It just can’t be real. I had gone my whole life with such doubt I’d ever find anyone, blood-related to me, that I … I didn’t want to be let down, so it was easier to deny it and say it’s not real,” she added. “Because I didn’t want to let my barriers down and really believe it.”
She looked Dunford up on social media, and was stunned by the uncanny resemblance.
“It was surreal. Can you imagine, seeing these pictures with people who you have no idea who they are, and feeling like you should have these memories that are on film that you just don’t have?” Bennett said. “And you can’t muster them up, because you really don’t know these people, but it’s you in this picture.”
Bennett soon sent her a message on 23andMe that read: "It says you may be my sister."
They immediately began talking, with their first phone conversation lasting nine hours.
"I felt like I was talking to myself the entire time," Bennett admitted, adding the two share an abundance of similarities.
Amazingly enough, the twins failed algebra the same year in school, and both passed their driving test on the second try. They also always take three paper towels after using a public bathroom, eat fast, and love watching true crime.
“I can’t have my volume on an odd number. It has to be an even number," Dunford explained. "But when I go to the public restroom and I get paper towels, three. It has to be three — and she’s the same way.”
However, this doesn't mean they don't have their differences.
While the sisters a handful of similiaries, they also have contrasting careers. Bennett works in hotels, while Dunford is a Chief Petty Officer in the Navy, who's stationed at Virginia Beach with her six-year-old son, Patrick.
Also to their shock, Dunford and Bennett discovered their birth certificates says they have two separate birthdays.
Bennett's date of birth is listed as December 25, 1983, Dunford's is in the following year on January 13, 1984. While they said they'll keep their unique birthdays, Dunford said she's thrilled she has a sister to celebrate it with.
"It's crazy that you just have this instant love for someone and a connection," Dunford said. "We missed 33 years of our lives together but I felt like we just picked it up so easily. We have a lot to catch up on."
How would you feel if you found out you had a secret, identical twin sister?