Samantha Futerman grew up like many other American girls: happy, fun-loving, content. Born Korean, Sam was adopted as a baby by a mother and father who desperately wanted her. Adoption was not a hushed topic like it might be in some families, neither was it regular fodder for conversation. It was simply a fact. “The grass is green, the sky is blue, I’m adopted,” says Samantha of her upbringing.
With inborn wanderlust, by the time Sam entered college she became more interested in her heritage. Given an opportunity to travel to Korea with her mother, it seemed like the right time to explore her roots. This was the real beginning of serendipity stepping in to reunite Samantha with her identical twin sister, Anais. Anais was also adopted at birth. She was raised by loving parents who have been every bit as wonderful as Samantha’s mom and dad. Through a series of events which are documented in the film, Twinsters, Anais and Samantha were reunited.
Sam is quick to point out that every reunion is unique. For some, it may be a slow-motion, dramatic, heart-warming event that brings tears to everyone’s eyes; for others it may be a nerve-wracking, tension-filled meeting. When Samantha met Anais for the first time, her nerves got the best of her and she broke out in a laughing fit. However the big event plays out, Sam has noted that in most cases it’s important to remember that reunification is not a one-time meeting. It is the beginning of a relationship. And relationships take time and effort. Very often the relationships begun with reunification reach beyond adoptee and birth family . . . adoptive families join into the mix and, in positive situations, the family just continues to grow as birth and adoptive lines get blurred. In the case of Sam and Anais, their mothers have become almost as close as the twins.
Surprising to Samantha, who has always believed that nurture is stronger than nature, she and Anais are remarkably similar. They were raised half a world apart, in completely different cultures, yet they both hate bell peppers and cooked carrots, and their likes are so similar it’s uncanny. As the two have explored their roots while building their relationship, they’ve come to learn that heritage really is part of what makes us each who we are.
For both girls, gratitude for loving families who have been supportive in the reunification process abounds. They recognize the great blessing of adoption in their lives, and hope that by sharing their stories they can help others to learn that family and love may reach further than we think. Speaking of Twinsters, Samantha said, “I hope that it sheds a light on adoption. We are only two adoptees and only two stories. However I believe it can help plant the seed and start the larger conversation on adoption, love and family. After my experience, I truly believe that family has no boundary.”
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