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Strangers Become Sisters as Twins Reunite

Identical twins Paula Bernstein (left) and Elyse Schein were adopted as infants and raised separately.  It was not until they were 35 years old that the two sisters learned of each other.
Identical twins Paula Bernstein (left) and Elyse Schein were adopted as infants and raised separately. It was not until they were 35 years old that the two sisters learned of each other.

Separated in infancy and given up for adoption, Elyse Schein and Paula Bernstein grew up unaware that they had an identical twin. Their new memoir, Identical Strangers, chronicles their story of separation, reunion and identity.

Records from the adoption agency indicate that the identical twins' separation and adoption placement in the late 1960s was connected to a psychological study investigating the effects of nature versus nurture.

Schein and Bernstein were reunited in 2004, after Schein's quest to find information about her birth mother led her to discover that she was a twin.

"Imagine a slightly different version of you walks across the room, looks you in the eye and says 'hello' in your voice..." Schein and Bernstein write.

"Looking at this person, you are able to gaze into your own eyes and see yourself from the outside. This identical individual has the exact same DNA as you and is essentially your clone. We don't have to imagine."

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