In a world that sometimes tears families apart, inexplicable coincidences often put them back together.
Posted in , Feb 2, 2012
It was a strange story Lin Backman had heard from her parents when she was younger. On the day she was officially adopted, from the town of Semarang, on the northern coast of Java, Indonesia, her new parents hailed a taxi cab in front of the orphanage. As they got in, the taxi driver turned to them and asked, “What about the other one, the sister?”
“What sister?” Lin’s new parents responded.
The taxi driver wrote down the Indonesian name of the girl he believed was Lin’s sibling. When the family returned to their home in Sweden, they called the orphanage and located the couple that had adopted the other child. The families met and compared the documents they’d received at the orphanage. The details didn’t add up. The girls had the same birth date and the same mother listed, but different fathers. There was no notation that the girls were twins. The babies didn’t look alike. In an era with no DNA testing, and often erroneous record-keeping, they decided the taxi driver had been mistaken. After all, who was he? The two families went their separate ways.
Last year, 29-year-old Emilie Falk had recently gotten married and was starting to wonder for the first time about her biological family. She vaguely remembered a story her mother had told her years ago, about meeting another couple who thought their child might be Emilie’s sister. After all this time, her mother still remembered the girl’s name: Lin Backman.
Emilie looked Lin up on Facebook and sent her a message. "I was born on March 18, 1983, in Semarang, and my biological mother's name is Maryati Rajiman.”
Lin quickly responded. “Wow, that's my mother's name as well! And that's my birthday!"
They found they lived only 25 miles apart in southern Sweden, they were both teachers ... and most remarkably, they had even been married on the same day, only one year apart—they even danced to the same wedding song: “You and Me” by Lifehouse. (The music video of which, ironically enough, begins with a taxi cab pulling up.)
The women underwent DNA testing. The results? A 99.98% certainty they are non-identical twins.
According to the Associated Foreign Press, Emilie and Lin soon began planning to return to Indonesia to search for their biological parents. That led them to another discovery. Buried deep in the adoption papers was a reference to Emilie’s father’s occupation: a taxi driver.
Was he the taxi driver who put the two adoptive families in touch all those years ago? Did he plan to be there on that day, to pick up his daughter’s adoptive parents? Or did something else lead him to that spot, at that moment?
Dire circumstances and tragic events tear people away from each other—we see that so often. But we also see, time and time again, stories of people being reunited through extraordinary means: a Vietnam vet, separated from the Thai beauty he loved; a World War II veteran, seeking the friend who gave him hope in the infirmary; a woman who’d been put up for adoption at age 4, seeking her biological family; the man who met the brother he never knew he had, on a family vacation, far from home.
Do you have a story about an unexpected reunion in your life? One that happened against all odds, through a series of miraculous, wondrous incidents? Send your story to [email protected].