Looking at the photo again, it was unmistakable. Someone else was there. But that couldn’t be right… she knew her daughter so well.
She could read her every enduring little quirk and every facial expression like an open book. At least, that’s what she thought. But now, she was beginning to realize that she had been kept in the dark… and this photo was about to bring it all into the light.
Jennifer and Tom Doring were happily married and living in Wausau, Wisconsin, but something had always been painfully missing.
They already had their sons, but Jennifer had always wanted a little girl. And when they decided that it was time to expand their family, life decided to throw them a curveball in return.
Adopting a child is never a decision that should be taken lightly, but Jennifer had always dreamed of having a girl. When they took the plunge and contacted an adoption agency, they thought they had planned for every eventuality.
They found a little girl in China named Audrey and prepared their home for the new member of the family. They had no idea about the child’s past.
Audrey had been abandoned by her mother at birth and was taken into a Chinese orphanage. When Jennifer and Tom flew to China to meet her, they immediately fell in love.
Just a month later, the stacks of paperwork had been signed and they were allowed to take her back to their home in Wisconsin. But, as soon as the fifteen-month-old began to settle in, the couple received some frightening news.
When Audrey had her first checkup with the family doctor, she was diagnosed with a rare heart condition.
But, thankfully, the Dorings were determined to seek out the best specialists and make sure she received the treatment she needed — which turned out to be a relatively simple procedure. However, there was a lot more about Audrey that they didn’t know.
After the surgery, Audrey appeared to be just like any other healthy child. She went to school and excelled in class and in athletics.
She didn’t remember anything about living in the orphanage as a baby and lived a normal, happy life. It was only when Audrey was nearing her tenth birthday that things took a surprising turn for the Doring family.
With the festive season drawing closer, Jennifer wanted to prepare a special gift for her only daughter.
She believed that it was important for Audrey to know where she came from, so she began to investigate Audrey’s origins, planning to reveal all she’d found as a special Christmas surprise — not realizing that she’d open Pandora’s box in the process.
Jennifer began her investigation by trying to locate the Chinese newspaper article about when she’d been found as a baby, but her search was fruitless.
She’d reached a dead end. Worrying that the information would be more and more unlikely to find as time passed, she decided to call in a professional… who would find a lot more about Audrey than Jennifer had bargained for.
Jennifer hired a private investigator through a child-tracing website to try to find Audrey’s birth records. But all she knew about her daughter was that she’d been born in China, nothing else.
She hoped that the investigator could at least shed some light on Audrey’s origins. But what they would eventually uncover would leave her frightened and reeling.
After a few days of searching, the investigator managed to track down the original Chinese newspaper article and Audrey’s “found ad,” but they weren’t able to locate any records of Audrey’s birth mother.
However, they did discover a photograph. It was this photograph that revealed a huge secret… and it would turn out to be a pivotal key to Audrey’s unknown past.
The investigators immediately forwarded the photograph to Jennifer, and when she opened it on her laptop she couldn’t believe her eyes. It was a photograph of Audrey as a baby — there was no doubt about that.
But, who was that, sitting in the photograph with her? “I had every emotion all rolled into one,” Jennifer confessed. “Fear, confusion, excitement…”
Sitting next to baby Audrey was a girl who looked exactly like her.
“When you’re looking at a photo of your child, and you can’t figure out which one is yours, you can’t tell the difference, you know there’s no other explanation, this is real,” she revealed in an interview. “I was desperate to find out who the other child was.”
After a few minutes of staring at the photograph in complete confusion, it dawned on Jennifer that her daughter had a sister.
And that meant that, while Audrey may never get to meet her birth mother, she could potentially reconnect with her long-lost identical twin. She made a vow to do whatever it took to find her… no matter what it would take. She began her search on Facebook.
Jennifer began to post in adoption and Chinese groups on Facebook in hopes of finding Audrey’s family. But, nothing came up… at first. Then, she stumbled on the Rainsberry family.
They had a daughter named Gracie. Gracie shared the same birthday and the same congenital heart condition. And she was a carbon-copy of Audrey. And when she reached out, Nicole Rainsberry was blown away!
The two moms got to talking, and they discovered that they were 1,500 miles away from each other. Audrey’s family lived in Wisconsin, while Gracie’s family lived in Washington.
Meanwhile, Good Morning America had caught wind of the story and jumped at the chance to air the reunion between the long-lost twins on their TV show.
When the girls finally reunited, they both embraced each other — tears of joy streaming down their faces. Audrey and Gracie were together at last, after a decade apart.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the house that day. “It felt like there was somebody missing,” Audrey confessed later. “Now, it’s complete.” Now, the pair couldn’t imagine life without having each other.