Two eight-year-old girls stand side-by-side, holding hands. Each is a carbon copy of the other.  Each girl wears a necklace with a pendant of the opposite sides of a heart. When connected together, the two parts make a whole, in much the same way as the girls themselves. While they understand that they cannot always be together, when they are apart, they feel very much like their shared necklaces—not quite whole.

Theirs is not the story of movies in which the dad and mom split up and each take a twin and do not tell the other of their sister. It is the story of two girls, one who speaks Norwegian and the other who speaks American English, who share not only genetics but also a beginning filled with many unknowns.

The two were found in a cardboard box in a Chinese village. Their story continues with a couple from the small village of Fresvik, Norway, and another in the large city of Sacramento, California purchasing identical red gingham dresses for a baby girl that after years of trying to have children will become theirs through the beauty of adoption. Because of a slight delay in paperwork, Wenche and Sigmund Hauglum have to return to the adoption agency the following day and happen to run into Angela and Andy Hansen, who had just met their daughter.  They noticed that both girls were in the same dress. It didn’t take long for the couples to see that the girls looked an awful lot alike and discovered they shared the same birthday. They asked if the girls happened to be twins but were told no. The couples talked of DNA testing and exchanged contact information.

A month after both families returned to their respective homes, Wenche called Angela and agreed to the DNA tests. The results showed that Alexandra Hauglum and Mia Hansen were identical twins.

This award-winning film beautifully chronicles the experiences of both families as they try to raise their girls a world apart but knowing that part of them was far away. The film shows how, even though their lives are very different, the girls are very much the same and how, at eight years old and having been able to spend time with each other a few times that “ . . . the genetic part of it is really a strong part of who they are” (Angela Hansen).

The film can be viewed here.