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Last Updated: Monday, 5 January, 2004, 12:11 GMT
Reunited twins embrace entwined future

By Matt Wells
BBC correspondent in New York

When Tamara Rabi met Adriana Scott in the parking lot of a local McDonald's restaurant, their lives changed forever.

The twins - Tamara (left) and Adriana
It was a shocked mutual acquaintance who made the link
"I didn't know what to say, except hi. I was just in shock to see myself," says Adriana.

The two students are at neighbouring universities in Long Island, New York. They share a birthday, they are exactly the same height, and they both love hip-hop.

The most important thing they share is the same Mexican mother. Separated shortly after birth and given up for adoption in the US, for most of their lives they had no idea that, somewhere out there, was an identical twin.

Although they grew up just 20 miles apart, Tamara was raised in a Jewish Manhattan-based family, while Adriana grew up Roman Catholic in suburban Long Island - complete with white picket fence.

Last year, a friend of Adriana's turned up at Tamara's 20th birthday party and could not believe his eyes.

Tamara had already noticed how some people on her university campus smiled and said hello, clearly mistaking her for somebody else.

Following the birthday, friends persuaded them to get in touch with each other by e-mail, and shortly afterwards came the car park meeting.

"All I could see was her walking towards me, walking the same, saying the same things," says Tamara.

"We have the same mannerisms, the same interests, the same grades in school," Adriana says.

"We had the same dream when we were younger. It was a nightmare... A really loud noise, followed by a real quiet one," adds Tamara.

The same - but different

Adriana's mother was the only family member on either side who knew she had a twin, but she had no idea where she might be. After agonising over it, she kept it secret to avoid the pain of a possibly fruitless search - a judgement which Adriana agrees with.

We will always have each other now
Adriana
"In some ways it's the best of both worlds, as I have a sister but I haven't grown up in a state of sibling rivalry," she says.

Talking to them as they sit side-by-side in a room on campus, you can tell they grew up in different communities.

Dark-haired Tamara is dressed in the sombre shades of downtown Manhattan, while her sister sports sculpted hair, straightened teeth and a white fur-lined jacket. Adriana has a car, while Tamara does not.

"I feel she's my sister, but our relationship right now is more as friends. Eventually we'll become more, where we can yell at each other for stupid little things - right now we can't," says Tamara.

One sad factor in common is that both women lost their adoptive fathers to cancer. This summer, after hiring a private detective to find her, they went to Mexico with their mothers to talk to their actual birth-mother.

We'll grow old together
Tamara
"We just asked simple questions, about health, and the story of why we were separated. We didn't get any real direct answers," says Tamara, adding:

"To me it doesn't make much difference. We both have great families and great lives - I was curious mainly to see what she looked like."

Growing old together

Adriana is glad she met their mother, but says she had never been driven by an urge to track her down.

"We don't even look much like her, which is funny... I wouldn't change anything after meeting her though. I am happy here with my mum."

The twins are finishing their studies, but they also work together for a local DJ company as a dance double-act. They rehearse and study together sometimes, but do not live inseparable lives.

Sitting and talking through their extraordinary story, they were clearly at ease and happy around each other, but the differences - both growing up as the only child in the household - are almost more notable than the similarities.

They are optimistic and excited by the fact that their futures will be heavily entwined.

"We will have each other. We don't have any other brothers or sisters. We'll grow old together, yes," says Tamara.

Adriana interrupts, eyes widening: "Yes. We're going to be really fun aunts to our kids. and we will always have each other now."



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