It was via Facebook the two fraternal Indonesian twins Emelie Falk and Lin Backlund found each other after being separated at birth. Both were adopted more than three decades ago from an orphanage in Semarang, Indonesia, by different Swedish parents.
In 2012, they made headlines all over the world, after they had finally reunited via social media. Three years later, they searched for their missing twin brothers, also on Facebook – and they found them, too! Now the amaxing story of the siblings who found each other on social media will be shown at the TLC documentary series “Separated at Birth”, which will air at both Swedish and British television.
It all began five years ago, when the adopted Emelie got married. Now she had started her own family, she was wondering about her own roots, especially because she was recently noticed about a woman, who had told to Emelie’s adoptive mother that her child might be the biological sister to Emelie.
Just like a blind date
Emelie needed to know her roots, and she took the matter into her own hands by searching for Lin on Facebook. Surprisingly, Lin, the girl claimed to be her sister, lived only few miles away from Emelie in Helsingborg. She contacted Lin, and both agreed to meet each other.
“We have compared it to be a blind date. You have had contact with this someone, but you don’t know how this person really looks like, or how the person behaves. Neither of us had huge expectations for this “date” to feel like the first meeting with your long-lost sister,” says Emelie.
However, when they met, they were shocked on how much alike they were.
“We are born the same day. We got married the same day. We even played the same song at our weddings. And we are both teachers! It’s almost spoky. It’s a very strange coincidence,” says Emelie.
The twins requested a DNA-test, and now it was official: Emelie and Lin are biological sisters, they are fraternal twins. They were born the 18 March 1983 in Semarang in Indonesia, separated and adopted to different families. The adoptive families were never told that their new daughter had a sister.
Today the sisters talk with each other almost every day. And back when they found each other in 2012, they told their story to a local skånsk newspaper.
“It felt a little bit strange to talk with media, but we just wanted to share a happy story. We are just so happy that we found each other,” says Emelie.
Brother, where art thou?
“We dare more when being two. Had I been solo on this, I don’t think I would have done it,” says Lin.
She is referring to the documentary series of their story, made by TLC. But the girls also had a special agenda to do the show, and as you will see in the documentary, more revelations were to come to Ms Falk and Ms Backlund.
Together they document shows their journey in finding their long-lost 37-year-old brother, who had also been given up as a baby.
Falk told The New Paper over the phone from Sweden: “We decided to do the show because we thought maybe we could get some help in finding (him). I’m glad we’re in this together. It’s a good feeling.”
Lin visited Semarang in 2013.
“Nothing could prepare me for (going back) to Indonesia. There are a lot of people in this family,” she said, adding that she found out that her biological mother had 15 children, 11 of whom were in Indonesia.
While Lin was there, another discovery awaited. She was told that somewhere in the world, the sisters had an older brother who had been adopted a few years before them.
“They were also a pair of twins, but I was told one of them died while the other one was really sick and (our parents) couldn’t take care of him because they didn’t have a lot of money,” Emelie said.
Armed with just the birth certificates of their brother Heru and the presumed dead HeroSeriawan, and a rumour that Heru had been adopted in the Netherlands, and knowing only the boys’ year of birth (1979), the sisters began their quest to find him.
They chose to do it through social media. Again.
The sisters uploaded a photo of themselves to Facebook on August 2015 with the hashtag #Hunt4Heru.
Within 24 hours, their post received more than 6,000 shares and 460,000 views and messages started pouring in from people claiming to be or to know Heru.
The more messages they got, however, the more confusing the search became.
Eventually, a man named Tim messaged them that he was Heru. He had the correct birth date and place of birth and even mentioned the names of their oldest brother and sister, which had not been made public.
Shortly after, they received another message, from a man named Mark who claimed to be Hero. Within a week of their original Facebook post, the sisters had found both their brothers. The men, who were both living in the Netherlands and work in IT, immediately flew to Sweden.
Emelie recalls the tearful first meeting, which is captured on “Separated At Birth”. They took turns to embrace each other.
“It was amazing when we found out there were two of them,” says Emelie, and adds “We didn’t have much time to prepare ourselves, but when I saw them, it was the same feeling as when I had met Emelie. We knew we were connected.”
A sibling quartet
Since then, the siblings have met up once more, when the brothers went to Sweden for the second time to be a part of Lins’s son’s baptism.
When they are not physically in the same place, the foursome keep in touch via text message and Skype almost daily. Tim now lives in Dutchland.
“The Netherlands is about a half-day drive (from Sweden) so I hope we can meet more often… we have a great time whenever we meet so hopefully we can develop a greater relationship,” says Lin.
The quartet will be heading to Semarang in Indonesia this summer with their families for about two weeks to reconnect with their biological family.
And although there is no anger or resentment, the sisters still have “mixed feelings”.
“Of course I am excited to meet my family, especially my biological mother. I have spoken to her through Skype so I know that she is very emotional as well and it hurts me that she is sad about this situation and it’s very hard for her,” says Emelie. “We know that the family is throwing a big party and we’re planning to just hang out with everyone and have fun. I hope this journey will bring (the four of us) much closer too.”
Before the documentary airs, the response has been overwhelming.
“We have experienced a lot of adopts have contacted us on our Facebook Group to tell their story, and that they can relate to our story as well. We believe, they are working on their feelings via us,” the twins say.