A coincidental meeting at a restaurant in 2007 changed the lives of two identical twins separated at birth. The accidental discovery of each other’s existence paved the way to more dark secrets surrounding their births.
Andrea Penaherrera and Marielisa Romo had no idea their lives were about to change forever when they walked into a restaurant in the Southern Ecuadorian town of Milagros on a fateful day in March 2007.
Yet, that fateful day marked the onset of the unveiling of countless mysteries behind their existence. For one, they discovered for the first time that they were twin sisters.
AN ACCIDENTAL DISCOVERY
The two first met accidentally when they were fifteen, in what seems like a movie plot. Andrea recalled going into a Milagros restaurant with her mom to eat out.
Shortly after settling into their seats, their eyes darted across the room, where a striking teenage girl was seated. The duo was shocked to realize the stranger looked exactly like Andrea, with shared features like hair, eyes, and height.
The stranger’s name was Marielisa, and she was accompanied by her parents, Roberto Romo and Isabel Garcia.
Naturally, the two girls got talking, resolving to get to the bottom of their similar phenotypes, which seemed too much of a coincidence. They would later realize they not only shared the same parents but were born on the same day.
The story of the twin sisters who met accidentally soon became widespread, garnering media attention. Before long, several media outlets joined the girls on their quest to unveil the whole truth.
A TWISTED TRUTH
While the coincidental meeting of the duo was already mysterious, further discovery proved the story behind their separation more of a mystery.
Different available versions of the separation story have made the rounds over time, so much that what happened all those decades ago remains unclear to date.
The girls’ mother, Petita Penaherrera, insisted she never knew she had twins, as the doctors in charge of her delivery told her she had just one, Andrea.
She claimed the doctor couple, Roberto Romo and Isabel Garcia, took the other child without her consent and raised her as theirs. Romo has since denied Petita’s version of events.
According to him, the mom knew about both babies at birth. However, being a teen mom, she felt she could not handle two babies alone, prompting her decision to give one up for adoption.
A BREWING CUSTODY BATTLE
Despite the controversial stories surrounding their separation, the girls were only glad fate eventually led them to each other. They were thrilled to grow up knowing they had each other as sisters, friends, and lifetime companions.
However, their parents’ rivalry remained the one thing standing between them and a lifetime together. While Marielisa wished to remain with her adopted family, her biological mom had other thoughts.
Shortly after reuniting with her long-lost daughter, she and her husband, Augusto Friere, demanded custody of the teenager.
LOVE OVER LAW?
Petita and her husband filed a lawsuit against the doctors, alleging they stole her from them. However, the adoptive parents maintained their stance, claiming they gave the then-teenage mom several opportunities to change her mind about abandoning one of her daughters.
Authorities launched an investigation into the incident in hopes of reaching a conclusion and finding closure for both sets of parents who undoubtedly loved their kids. Meanwhile, Marielisa believed the legal feud was an unnecessary action.
In an interview, the teenager implored her biological parents to drop the lawsuits and let her live with her adoptive parents, who dedicated their lives to loving her in the past fifteen years. To her, that was the only way they could prove they truly loved her as much as they claimed.
THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS
Although groundbreaking, Andrea and Marielisa’s story was not nearly as dramatic as the 1980 reconnection of “Three Identical Strangers.”
Their story, which was soon made into an award-winning documentary, made headlines in 1980 following their chance encounter in college, twenty years after their separation.
Reportedly, classmates organized the meeting between two of them, Robert and Eddy, at the Sullivan County Community College after noticing their resemblance.
The story soon made the news, where a third of the trio, David Kellman, stumbled upon it. Noticing the two strangers looked exactly like him, he contacted them immediately, confirming they were triplets adopted into different families as babies.
Such heart-melting stories leave one questioning if separating siblings at birth in closed adoptions was justifiable by the good intentions behind such decisions.