The story of Chinese twins Gracie Rainsberry and Audrey Doering has gone viral after their reunion was broadcast live on Good Morning America.
The girls were adopted separately shortly after birth, and their respective families weren’t aware that the other sister existed until December 2016.
While Audrey’s mother Jennifer was researching her daughter’s history as a Christmas gift, she found a photo of both of them together as babies with their Chinese foster mother. After she managed to locate Gracie’s family, the twins began their reconciliation over FaceTime, and have now met in person on the show.
The pair, who are now 10 years old and live 1,500 miles apart, were seen sobbing and hugging each other as they met for the first time since their adoption.
‘It felt like there was somebody missing. Now it’s complete’, Audrey said of the experience, while Gracie added that she felt excited and happy, although the moment was ‘very overwhelming’.
However, while the girls are overjoyed to have found each other once again, some viewers are debating whether the pair should have been allowed to meet in private rather than having their reunion broadcast live on air.
‘I’m happy they found each other, but I really wish they would have met in person privately first…’ one commenter on the Good Morning America Facebook page wrote.
‘It’s an emotional moment and felt like they couldn’t enjoy it as much as they could have because it was so overwhelming in front of everyone… 😕 they look happy and ultimately that is all that matters.’
‘I’m sorry, I can’t even watch the rest of it,’ another said. ‘This should have been done IN PRIVACY. They NEVER should have been separated. How were the adoptive parents not informed? So many questions. The whole thing does not sit well with me. I’m sorry, the whole thing is just wrong.’
‘The poor girls were so overwhelmed,’ a third agreed. ‘I wish you would have let them meet backstage first, and then interviewed them together on the show. Not worth the entertainment value to exploit two 10 year olds. Adoption is hard, and messy, and there are parts of our children’s stories that should be kept private, in my opinion. That said, it is a beautiful story, and I’m so happy that they have each other now.’
Others have hit back at the criticism, saying that it’s up to the families involved: ‘It was their choice to meet on GMA and in front of America!! They did talk on FaceTime first, so it’s not like they didn’t talk first….. So, you people that are talking negative need to get over yourselves!!’
‘Can you people just keep your opinions out of this and except that this was a beautiful moment?’ another commenter added. ‘Why does it bother any of you how it was done?’
Adoption UK’s chief executive Hugh Thornbery CBE stresses that whilst their charity does not offer a birth relative tracing service to adoptees or facilitate reunions in any way, knowing and understanding their history is very valuable for adopted children.
‘We no longer live in an age where the facts of adoption are kept secret from children,’ he explains. ‘Photos and a life story book are important to help children to make sense of what happened in the past and to help them remember important people who were involved earlier in their lives. This can be vital in a child’s developing sense of identity and help them to integrate the past with the present.’
‘Having some contact with birth relatives may also play an important role in helping children to make sense of their past. Contact between a child and their birth family (and others who have been important in their lives) must always be considered when a child is placed for adoption.’
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‘What is right for an individual child varies and a contact plan is made for each child. The child’s needs are central to any plan which must also take account of the adopters’ views. Different arrangements will be made for each child.’
It can be important for siblings to remain in touch if adopted into different families and such contact can be valuable for both adoptive families.’