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Indonesian-born twins reunite in Sweden after 30 years
Twin sisters Emilie Falk (left) and Lin Backlund (right)

Indonesian-born twins reunite in Sweden after 30 years

Published: 25 Jan 2012 15:12 GMT+01:00
Updated: 25 Jan 2012 15:12 GMT+01:00

Indonesian twin sisters separated only weeks after birth have found each other almost 30 years later in Sweden, living just 60 kilometres apart.

On top of this, they both work as teachers and were both married on the same day... but the coincidences don’t stop there.

Lin Backlund, 28, was more than a little sceptical when she received a Facebook message from a woman claiming to be her twin sister.

“I thought, ‘What crazy person is this’,” she tells The Local, adding that she ignored the message.

However, her curiosity aroused, Backlund approached her adoptive mother about the possibility of there being any truth in the unusual message, and was shocked to learn of a strange set of events that had been almost forgotten.

“My Swedish parents’ taxi driver was the key to everything,” Backlund explains.

When her parents were taking her to Sweden from the orphanage in Indonesia, when she was just 8 months old, the taxi driver asked the parents what had happened to Nur Kasanah (the name of her sister).

“He somehow knew that my [birth] parents had a girl named Nur Hidayah, which was me, and he was enquiring about my sister who had left the orphanage in Jakarta four weeks previously. Some think he was our birth father, but we don’t know,” she says.

The driver wrote the Indonesian names of the two girls down for Backlund's parents, who two years later arranged a meeting with other the adopting family who were also living in Sweden.

However, at the meeting, discrepancies were found in the adoption papers, and it wasn’t clear whether the girls were actually sisters or just born on the same day.

“No one thought we looked at all alike, even back then,” Backlund chuckles, adding that the connection was forgotten and that the families lost contact.

That was 26 years ago.

But upon learning about this forgotten family history last year, Backlund decided to respond to the Facebook message, saying she was interested in meeting the sender.

Backlund wanted to see for herself if this woman, calling herself Emilie Falk of Helsingborg, was really her twin.

The women organized a meeting at Backlund’s parents' home in Höör, with the aim of getting to the bottom of their sisterly mystery and to see where things led from there.

According to Backlund, she and Falk clicked immediately.

“It felt like we were sisters already,” she recalls.

“It felt like we’d known each other for a long, long time – even though we hadn’t. I have two other sisters, but the bond here was a lot different. Of course, the bond with my sisters is a lot stronger as we were brought up together, but it felt like I had known Emilie for a lifetime.”

The sisters' unlikely story was highlighted earlier in the week by the local Sydsvenskan newspaper, which marvelled over the fact that Backlund and Falk, who were born on March 18th, 1983, in Semarang, Indonesia, had been living so close to one another for decades in southern Sweden.

The pair met several times since their first encounter, and eventually agreed to undertake a DNA test to find out once and for all if they were indeed biological sisters.

And when the DNA tests came in, Backlund and Falk were elated to discover that they were indeed twin sisters.

“It wouldn’t have mattered to me what the result was, but I was so happy to know for certain,” Backlund says.

As the sisters talked more about the astonishing coincidence of their Swedish reunion, they slowly began to find more similarities.

They both work as teachers, both speak the same dialect of Swedish (Skånska), and even have similar tastes in wedding planning.

“When we started comparing photos and papers, we found out that we both got married on exactly the same day. Emilie’s wedding was exactly one year before mine – to the day!”

But the final surprise was still to come.

“We even had the same wedding song – ‘You and Me’ by Lifehouse. Not many people seem to have heard of it; it’s not that common I think," Backlund explains.

"We were amazed.”

In terms of the future, the sisters are keen to dig deeper into their past, and hope to eventually determine the identity of the taxi driver back in Indonesia who provided the initial clues leading to the sisters re-uniting in Sweden nearly three decades later.

“We want to find out if we have any family left in Indonesia, that’s our next step,” says Backlund.

“But we don’t really mind what we find now that we’ve found each other again.”

Oliver Gee (oliver.gee@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:38 January 25, 2012 by JulieLou40
Nice story. Shame the adoptive parents didn't do a thorough investigation though in the first place.
16:56 January 25, 2012 by StockholmSam
@JulieLou40

Why is that a shame? What would it have accomplished? And how do you know the parents did not investigate thoroughly enough? We did not have DNA testing back then and probably the adoption system in Indonesia would not have kept adequate records to aid the parents with such a question. Furthermore, the story says that the parents did investigate and even met the parents of the other girl, only to find that the papers were of no help and the girls looked nothing alike. What more do you want?
19:52 January 25, 2012 by tgolan
fantastic to read a happy story
23:32 January 25, 2012 by Sheila Craig
How lovely and what a lot of strange coincidences.
23:53 January 25, 2012 by star10
Adopting families should keep name list of kinship trees for adopted kids. And also keep contact of kinship as much as possible. It is human nature to be curious to know one's root. Adoptive parents shouldn't expect the kids to forget everything and just take the adoptive parents as their root.
08:49 January 26, 2012 by karex
@star10, I agree with you, partly. Some parents are terrified that they will lose the kids. It's human nature. However, I think that it's a good idea for the adoptive parents to know as much as possible about the origin and family of their adoptive children. There could always be cases of inherited conditions or diseases which if known ahead of time, and depending on what it is, could help them to take proactive action and perhaps even avoid their kids getting sick altogether.
09:10 January 26, 2012 by caradoc
What?. No right wing racist bigot postings on this story today?
12:41 January 26, 2012 by gabeltoon
I wish these ladies every success in finding out there family tree.It is important to know where you belong.I'm lucky i have always been aware of my family tree and have met distant cousins in CANADA and the UK. GOOD LUCK.
09:32 January 27, 2012 by seekingthetruth
@caradoc, I like to read this nice story without your negative commentary, did you have to blemish this page??
13:10 January 27, 2012 by caradoc
@ seekingthetruth.

I was just pointing out that the bigots manage to turn almost every news item on this site into one concerning imigration or race. Perhaps you need to be a little less sensitive and offended.

I also think that this was a great story , reall human intrest.
22:47 February 3, 2012 by Chickybee
@ caradoc very interesting comment which says a lot about your state of mind.

People make comments which they feel are constructive because a lot of damage is being done by a minority and people care about their country and there are many immigrants who want Sweden to stay as it was too.

I suggest you look a little closer at the Islamist agenda which is blatant about it's 'plans' for Sweden before you put your comments down.

But of course, as it's free Sweden - you can of course give your opinion whatever.
06:38 February 6, 2012 by Asep
I'm a journalist of Suara Merdeka, the biggest newspaper in a city where Lin Backlund and Emilie Falk were born, Semarang, Indonesia. We have run three stories about them. Even, we khow who their biological mother. Her name is Maryati and she really wants to meet her twin daughters who've been separate about 29 years ago. Can anybody help me to meet Lin and Emilie?
10:03 February 6, 2012 by kangsyukron
1. http://suaramerdeka.com/v1/index.php/read/cetak/2012/02/06/176176/Melacak-dari-Kakak-Ipar

2. http://suaramerdeka.com/v1/index.php/read/cetak/2012/02/06/176175/Nduk-Suk-Gede-Eling-Mak-Ya
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