A Reunion 30 Years in the Making
Dr. Phil sits down with Maria, a woman who says that she is also searching for her family, and could potentially be one of the long-lost twins the sisters are searching for.

“To meet my family would be to fill a hole in my heart that’s been there all my life.”

Maria says she had no idea that she was adopted until she stumbled upon paperwork later in life. She says the woman whom she thought was her biological mother was horrible to her. She says she no longer has a relationship with her. She says once she realized she was adopted, she fantasized about her biological family and hoped that it was better than where she was.

Maria also says that she is part of a twin. She says her fraternal twin, Bruce, passed away 17 years ago from AIDS. She says he lived a miserable life hiding that he was gay. “My family didn’t want to accept it,” she says. “He had a girlfriend to try to please them and show them that he wasn’t gay.” She says that he was also scared of their adopted mother, but once he left, he became much happier. “He let his true colors show,” she says. “Anybody that was in need — he would help them. He would give them the shirt off their back.”

Dr. Phil delivers emotional news to Maria.

[AD]Dr. Phil rejoins Lanie, Lori, Lynda and Troy onstage. He tells the sisters that he and Troy do have a lead on twins placed for adoption. The sisters are not yet aware that a woman who could be their sister is waiting backstage. He also reveals to the sisters that a death becomes a public record, and that helped them find one of the twins: Bruce. He tells them that Bruce passed away in 1994 at 29 years old.

The sisters express a great deal of sadness at that loss and never knowing Bruce in life. The sisters reveal that they were abused as children at the hands of their mother after their parents split. Lori says that her mother would say she hated her because she looked like her.

“When my parents divorced, I became the mini-mom,” Lynda says. “I did a lot of the cooking and cleaning. I even went to my sisters’ parent-teacher conference meetings.”

They all agree that their mother, despite the abuse, wanted the sisters to stay close.

[AD]Dr. Phil tells the sisters that Bruce had a fraternal twin sister named Becky, who changed her name later in life to her middle name, Maria. “Maria is here,” he reveals to the sisters about the woman waiting backstage.

The sisters smile and hug Troy. “I knew you would do it,” Lynda tells Troy.

“You are going to get to meet her,” Dr. Phil tells them. “But the question is: are you ready for that?”

Without hesitation they all say yes.

“Maria, please come out and meet your family.”
Following a tearful reunion, Dr. Phil shows Maria a picture of her biological mom, who everyone onstage remarks that there is a strong resemblance. Maria gasps and grows tearful at the sight of the picture. “She’s beautiful,” she says.

“I’m nosey,” Dr. Phil says to all three siblings, joined with their newly-found sister. “Tell me what you’re thinking right now.”

“I just want to hug her,” Lanie says. “My mother did say, before she passed, that there were a lot of things in her life that she wasn’t proud of, and things that she couldn’t talk about because they were too hurtful for her. She was sorry for things. So, I am sure if she was here, she would be very proud to see you,” she tells Maria.

Lori says that she is happy and shocked. “I want to get to know you,” she tells Maria. “Most definitely, I want to get to know you.”

“I’m so glad that they found you,” Lynda says.

All the sisters tell Troy that they always had faith that he would find the truth about the missing twins.

[AD]Dr. Phil tells both Maria and the three sisters that each party was looking for each other. “You talk about the intersection of destiny,” Dr. Phil tells Troy. “Talk about how this came about.”

Troy says that in 2008, he first got a letter from Maria. In 2009, he received a letter from Lanie. He said Maria wrote again in 2011, and it was then that he realized that two sets of twins were looking for each other, with similar sad stories about their childhoods. “You both had written in and were both sitting in the same cabinet,” he says.

“Oh my goodness,” Maria says.
Maria says that with her twin brother gone, and no relationship to her adopted family, she felt very alone in the world. She says she wanted to see if there was anyone in the world that even looked like her, or had anything in common with her. She says that when Dr. Phil told her that she had family that was also looking for her, it was hard to accept. “The family I had didn’t want me,” she says.

Dr. Phil tells Maria about the harsh childhood the three sisters had as well. “Their wonder, their hope and their dream is that, with you two being adopted out, you had found a happier place to land. Talk about where you landed,” he says.

“Growing up, I wasn’t wanted,” Maria says of her adopted family.

Dr. Phil tells Maria that she’s very wanted by her three sisters.

The sisters share with Maria some memories of their mother. They say that she loved animals, her garden, cooking and going to the beach. They say they were traditional Italian Catholics who had wonderful Christmases and other holidays.

“Those memories are nice to have,” Lynda says.

“Everyone says that I was Italian growing up, but I never believed it!” Maria says of learning her heritage.

“Just to be honest, [their childhood] was also tough,” Dr. Phil says of the sister’s upbringing. “And you’ve had similar experiences,” he says to Maria.

“When I was speaking to the girls on the phone, working on this, Lori, Lanie and Lynda had expressed the sincere hope that the twins had been spared some of the challenges that they faced in their life,” Troy says. “What broke my heart was when I spoke to Maria, and she said she spent her childhood waiting to be rescued. But I am a believer that it is never too late to start over.”

[AD]Maria shares a picture of Bruce as a toddler and as a teen. She then shares with Lori, Lanie and Lynda that Bruce was gay and had contracted AIDS. She tells them that he was quiet and distant, but when they left home, they became closer. “He was caring. He was giving, wonderful and had a big heart,” she says.

The sisters all remark at their strong resemblance to their late-brother Bruce.