This is the incredible moment a pair of long-lost identical twins who were separated at birth and sold on the black market were reunited with their birth mother, all thanks to an investigation that exposed the shocking practice.
In heartwarming footage of their reunion, the twins – now in their early 20s – fell into their mother’s arms, who sobbed into their shoulders as the trio embraced for the first time since the young women were born.
Amy and Ano, born in 2002, were sold onto the market after their mother fell into a coma. By the time she was told the crushing lie that her babies had died in childbirth, they had been sold to two different families.
But after recognising each other in videos – one on a TV talent show when they were 12 and the other in a TikTok video in 2021 – the then-teens were finally brought back together, in large part to an investigation working to connect lost families.
The investigation found that for more than three decades, thousands of families in Georgia were given the devastating news that their babies had died at birth.
This is the incredible moment a pair of identical twins – separated at birth and sold on the black market – were reunited with their birth mother thanks to an investigation that exposed the shocking practice
The reality, however, was that the newborns were being trafficked on the black market, meaning thousands of Georgians had no idea who their real families were.
One Georgian who found herself in the unimaginable situation was journalist Tamuna Museridze, who in a bid to find her own family set up the Facebook group ‘Vezdeb’.
The group has since amassed 230,000 members and, along with DNA test websites, has helped to blow open the dark adoption network and reunite families.
After finding incorrect details on her own birth certificate in 2021, Museridze founded the Facebook group and set out to track down her real family.
Based on the number of people who have contacted her since, combined with the number of cases across the country, Museridze estimates that tens of thousands of babies were stolen from their birth parents.
Speaking to the BBC World Service, she said she believes the black market, which operated from the early 1970s to 2006, ‘was systemic’.
Two family members her efforts helped to unite were Ano and Amy, the twins, who for almost 20 years had no idea they had been born together in 2002.
Amy told the British broadcaster that she had a sense of her twin at the age of 12, when friends told her they had seen a girl who looked just like her dancing on ‘Georgia’s Got Talent’. She would later find out this was Ano.
However, when she asked her family about it at the time, they brushed it off. ‘Everyone has a doppelganger,’ her mother told her.
But that is not where their story ends.
Seven years later, in November 2021, Amy posted a video of herself to social media app TikTok, with blue hair getting her eyebrow pierced. It was Ano’s time to see the resemblance, and was stunned to see a girl who looked just like her.
Despite living 200 miles apart in Georgia, social media allowed them to connect.
They began talking on Facebook, and eventually met in person.
While their birth certificates said they were born at the same hospital, Kirtskhi Maternity, the documents stated it was weeks apart.
But upon meeting face-to-face, it became clear they were identical twins.
‘It was like looking in a mirror, the exact same face, exact same voice. I am her and she is me,’ Amy told BBC News.
The pair quickly discovered they had a number of similarities, too. They both enjoyed the same music, liked to dance, and had the same hairstyle.
Ano and Amy (pictured), identical twins who had no idea they had been born together in 2002, were reunited thanks to the investigation into the baby trafficking in Georgia
Amy Khvitia is seen in family photos at various ages, before she knew she had an identical twin
Despite living 200 miles apart in Georgia, social media allowed Amy and Ano to connect
Similarities extended beyond the superficial, however, as they also found themselves to have the same genetic bone disorder called dysplasia.
They told the BBC that it felt like they were unravelling a mystery together.
‘Every time I learned something new about Ano, things got stranger,’ Amy said.
But amid the excitement of discovering each other, there was also anger.
Amy said it felt like her life had been a lie, while Ano said she was ‘angry and upset with [her] family, but [she] just wanted the difficult conversations to be over so that we could all move on’. ‘It’s a crazy story,’ Amy added, ‘But it’s true.’
They decided to confront their families, and finally learned the truth.
The twins were adopted separately in 2002, a few weeks apart.
Unable to have children, Amy and Ano’s mothers were told by friends there were unwanted babies at the local hospital. If they paid the doctors, they could adopt one of these babies, take them home, and raise them as their own.
Neither of the adoptive families knew the girls were twins, they said, and claimed they didn’t know the practice was illegal.
At the time, Georgia was going through a period of turmoil, and the mothers said they believed the adoption process was legitimate as doctors were involved.
Museridze told the BBC that at the time, a baby would cost a year’s salary in Georgia, and that some babies ended up in the US, Ukraine, Canada, Cyprus and Russia.
The twins shared their story on Museridze’s Facebook group, and they received a reply from a woman in Germany saying they thought they could be related, as her own mother had given birth to twins in Kirtskhi Maternity Hospital in 2002.
DNA tests confirmed this to be the case.
Finally, after more than two decades, Amy and Ano were reunited with their birth mother, Aza, in an emotional moment captured by the BBC.
One Georgian who found herself in the unimaginable situation was journalist Tamuna Museridze, who in a bid to find her own family set up the Facebook group ‘Vezdeb’
Aza explained to her daughters that she fell ill after giving birth and fell into a coma. When she woke up, hospital staff told her that her babies had died.
The mother said that meeting her long-lost daughters had given her life new meaning, and that they still stay in touch.
In 2006, Georgia changed its laws to crack down on trafficking, making illegal adoption more difficult, and in 2022 the government launched an investigation into historic child trafficking.
The BBC said it had approached the Georgian Interior Ministry for further information on individual cases but was told specific details would not be released.