Three Identical Strangers

I stumbled upon a new release on my recent trip to Australia. One that I had never seen advertised but was intrigued by its title.

Three Identical Strangers is a documentary that will have you laughing, crying and struck with disbelief.

The story begins with a young Bobby, starting College. As we walks around campus many people are saying 'hello', 'welcome back', 'it's great to see you.' This leaves Bobby confused as he's never been popular before... and never been to this college. Then someone calls out, "Hey Eddy, Welcome back. I didn't think you were coming back this year."
To which Bobby truthfully replies, "I'm not Eddy."
The student thinks it's a great joke and walks on by.

Later in his new dorm room a stranger walks in and says, "You're not Eddy."
To which Bobby replies, "No, I'm not."
The stranger (one of Eddy's friends) asks Bobby when his birthday is and if he was adopted to which Bobby confirms. Eddy's friend then delivers the news that Bobby has an identical twin. They call Eddy up and drive over two hours during the night to go and see him.

The photos are all the proof you need. Bobby and Eddy are twins... but enter stage left, David. His friends see photos of Bobby and Eddy on newspapers and tv, and they know through facial features and body mannerisms that Bobby and Eddy aren't twins, they are triplets, with David.

And so all three boys are reunited and there is a celebratory atmosphere. Memories are made that were never thought to be possible. The boys have so many things in common even though they were separated for so long. They move in together, open up a restaurant and enjoy memories and years that were stolen from them

And then as soon as the joyous occasion started the story takes a dark, foreboding turn. Why were three identical triplets separated at birth? Why were the adoptive parents not told that their babies were part of a bigger set? The answers to these questions will turn your insides.

The adoptive parents go looking for answers. They discover that the Jewish adoption agency, that they all used, was adamant that if the boys were kept as triplets they would never have been able to adopt them out. The parents dispelled that belief straight away saying that they would have taken all three. They left feeling like they had got no real answers. One of the dads left his umbrella in the room and went back to get it. He found the agency employees toasting with champagne as though they had won some sort of battle... but what?

Suddenly the documentary turns into a train wreck as we discover that the adoption agency has separated several sets of twins and triplets and placed them in families of different socio-economic status in order to use the children's lives as research. Nature vs nurture.

One of the triplets (now in their 50s)  described in the movie feeling like a 'lab rat' whilst one of their relatives said, 'coming from the Holocaust, our family has a knowledge that when you play with humans ...[things turn out] very wrong." All boys were bought up in Jewish families.

The plot twists yet again when we are told that at age 33 Eddy committed suicide. Mental-health problems have been a major factor in many of the separated twins or triplets that have been found. Several families still do not know that they have an identical sibling.

Near the end of the movie the greater impact of nurture than nature is noted when several family members talk about the different fathers and the role they played in bringing up their sons and building resilience through the storms of life. Resilience, something that I feel many children in our society are deficient in.

The findings of this research have been locked away in a university library with no one being allowed access until 2066. David tried to access the information during the filming of the movie but was denied, even though he was one of the examined. Once the film had been completed and aired, access was given.

Many lessons can be learnt from this research and none that I think it originally set out out to prove. The most important, that no one should ever intentionally and unnecessarily separate biological family.

This documentary has sat with me for a long time. The suffering that three men and their families went through, all in the name of research. Often people comment about the crazy process that I have to go through in order to adopt. I thank God for this process and hope that it is just as rigorous for the agencies giving these children up for adoption. It's for the safety of the children. If you have a chance to watch this documentary, please do. There are other twists and turns that I haven't included. (Trailer)

I will leave you with a quote from the documentary that I am holding on to...
"Both [nature and nurture] matter; but I think nurture can overcome anything."


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