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«Am I looking in the mirror?» A woman who was separated from her twin at birth before being sold to different families thousands of miles apart recalls the moment she first met her estranged sister in a harrowing BBC documentary.

In November 2021, 19-year-old Georgia girl Amy woke up and decided she «had» to get a piercing that day.

After getting her eyebrows pierced, the blue-haired teenager shared a clip of the procedure on TikTok.

Another user of the platform, Ano, was sent the video by a friend who told her to see how similar the two girls are.

But it wasn’t the first time the two girls’ paths crossed indirectly, as the new BBC World Service documentary Betrayal at Birth: Georgia’s Stolen Children explains.

Years ago, when Amy was 12, she a friend said a girl who looked just like her used to jive on Georgia’s Got Talent.

Amy is one of the long-lost twins reunited with her twin sister in the BBC’s Betrayal at Birth: Georgia’s Stolen Children.

Amy told her family, but they brushed it off. “Everyone has a doppelganger,” her mother said.

But in reality, this girl was Yes, she was Amy’s twin, but no one knew it.

It was only after sharing a TikTok video that the two, who lived 320 km apart, finally connected on social media before finally meeting in person.

A look at the documents sheds no light on their situation: their birth certificates said they were born in the same hospital, Kirtskhi Maternity, but weeks apart.

However, when they saw each other in person, it was clear to them that they were identical twins.

According to Amy for BBC News: “It was like looking in a mirror, exactly the same face, exactly the same voice. I am she and she is me.’

Besides looking the same, they both liked the same music, liked to dance and even had the same hairstyle.

And beneath the surface there were also similarities. They both had the same genetic disease, a bone disorder called dysplasia.

It was an unexpected TikTok video of Amy getting her ears pierced that finally brought the two sisters back together.

It felt like they were unraveling a mystery together. “Every time I learned something new about Ano, things got weirder,” Amy said.

They decided to confront their families and learned the truth for the first time.

They were adopted separately, a few weeks apart in 2002.

Amy was upset and felt like her whole life was a lie. «It’s a crazy story,» she said, «but it’s true.»

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Yes, she was ‘angry and upset with (her) family, but (she) just wanted the difficult conversations to be over so we could all move on’.

It turns out that mothers Amy and Ano, who couldn’t have children, were told by friends that there were unwanted babies at the local hospital and if they paid the doctors, they could take the baby home and raise it as their own.

None of the adoptive families knew the girls were twins, and although they paid a lot of money to adopt their daughters, they say they didn’t realize it was illegal.

Amy and Ano were part of a wider black market in which new parents in Georgia were told their newborn babies were dead when they were actually being sold illegally, it has been revealed.

Now that story has been told in a new TV movie.

Betrayal at Birth: Georgia’s Stolen Children is a new documentary from the BBC World Service that «follows the emotional journeys of Georgians trying to find out how and why their families were separated».

Another piece of the puzzle is Georgian journalist Tamuna Museridze, who founded the Facebook group Vezdeb after finding incorrect information on her birth certificate in 2021.

It’s bizarre that years ago Amy saw Amo (pictured) on Georgia’s got Talent and showed people she looked like her twin but was written off

Her intention when starting the group was to find a family of her own, but her great success led to her being named one of the BBC’s 100 Women Recipients.

The group – which now has more than 230,000 members – resulted in the exposure of a child-trafficking scandal that affected tens of thousands and spanned decades.

Along with the DNA website, groups are described as having «opened a dark chapter of Georgian history wide open.

The dark chapter? A black market in adoption that stretched across Georgia from the early 1970s to 2006.

Based on the number of people who contacted her, combined with the time frame and the nationwide spread of the cases, Tamuna estimates that at least tens of thousands of children were stolen and that the practice «was systemic.»

Georgia was going through a period of turmoil and the hospital staff saw it as legitimate.

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Tamuna told the BBC it was expensive to buy a child, about 1,000 manats for a girl and 1,500 manats for a boy – about a year’s salary in Georgia.

She found that some children ended up in foreign families in the US, Canada, Cyprus, Russia and Ukraine.

Amy and Ano shared their story in the Tamuna group and received a response from a young woman from Germany who thought they might be related because her mother gave birth to twins at the Kirtskhi maternity hospital in 2002.

DNA tests revealed that they were indeed related.

Ano and Amy’s story shows the human cost of this black market.

When the twins discuss their first meeting, they reveal how emotional it was to see each other, describing the moment as «looking in the mirror».

Yes, she described how throughout her childhood she felt that something was missing.

And then one of her friends sent her a video of Amy getting her eyebrows pierced and it was like watching herself.

Both were looking for each other on social media. It was Amy who found and added Yes before they started talking and eventually met.

Amy said: ‘I texted her first (I said) «how long have I been looking for you» and Ano replied «me too.»

Twin Ano (pictured) revealed that while she always had a happy childhood, she always felt something was missing

In an emotional moment captured in a new film, the twins are reunited with their birth mother Aza.

Later, the twins say their mother explained that she was sick after giving birth and fell into a coma. When she woke up, hospital staff told her that the babies had died shortly after they were born.

Aza said that meeting Amy and Ano gave her life new meaning, and although they are not close, they still keep in touch.

Other women like Aza are also searching for babies they were told died at birth, but who she now knows may be alive.

Irina Otarashvili and her daughter Nino tell the BBC about their search for their missing son and brother.

In 1978, Irina was told by doctors at the maternity hospital in Kvareli that the healthy twins she had given birth to just three days earlier had died.

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CONNECTED TWINS: Now Amy (pictured left) and Ano (pictured right) have met in person thanks to social media

She told BBC News that although she and her husband could not understand the loss of their children, they accepted what they were told, as in Soviet times «you didn’t question authority».

They were given the remains of the twins in a suitcase that they were advised not to open. 44 years later, when Nino found Tamuna’s Facebook group, she urged her mother to open the trunk.

“My heart was racing,” she says. “When we opened it, there were no bones, just sticks. We didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.’

Local police confirmed that the contents were vine branches and there were no signs of human remains.

In 2006, Georgia changed its adoption laws and strengthened anti-trafficking laws, making illegal adoptions more difficult.

In 2022, the Georgian government launched an investigation into historical child trafficking. She told the BBC she had spoken to more than 40 people but the cases were «very old and the historical data has been lost».

Journalist Tamuna Museridze said she had shared the information, but the government did not say when it would release its report.

It took at least four attempts to get to the bottom of what happened.

Journalist Tamuna Museridze (pictured) has appeared on the BBC’s 100 Women of 2023 list, thanks for her work helping to reunite families.

These include a 2003 investigation into international child trafficking, which led to a number of arrests, and a 2015 investigation in which the general director of the Rustavi Maternity Hospital, Aleksandre Baravkovi, was arrested but cleared.

He returned to his work, where he continues to practice today.

Of course, Tamuna appeared on the BBC’s 100 Women 2023 list.

This is an annual list of 100 influential and inspiring women from around the world. She won her place for the work of her organization, which helps reunite hundreds of families.

The BBC contacted Georgia’s Ministry of the Interior for more information on individual cases, but we were told specific details would not be released for data protection reasons.

Betrayal at Birth: Georgia’s Stolen Children is now available on BBC iPlayer.

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