I heard about the “Three Identical Strangers” documentary about the same time everyone else did, and I promptly avoided it like I do most media stories about adoptions. All I knew is that it was a fucked up story about adopted triplets and I knew it would make me angry. So I didn’t watch it when it was released.
However, I kept hearing great reviews from people and so when earlier this week, it popped up on my Hulu feed, I decided to give it a look. I can always shut it off like I did that terrible “Abducted In Plain Sight” documentary. I ended up being pulled in by to documentary and when it took a turn, whew chilllayyyy, I was stressed.
For those of you who don’t know what it’s about (spoilers ahead), the film interviews adopted triplets and their adoptive families. The triplets were separated at birth and adopted into different families. The families and brothers had no idea about each other. The boys, David, Eddy and Bobby eventually reunite by accident in college. Two of them found out about each other, it became national news with their photo everywhere and the third sees the photo and boom everyone is reunited and having a great time. While the boys were worldwide news doing tv shows and media circuits, the parents started to get suspicious and wanted some answers from the agency. They were all adopted by the same agency, so the parents visit the agency to start asking questions, they didn’t get anywhere. Eventually, a reporter who was covering the story about the triplets reunification, started digging and came across a study that separated twins and placed them in different homes, so they could conduct experiments. And from there, you can probably piece together what happened. Turns out, yes this was done intentionally, they were purposefully placed in three different homes, one high class, middle class and lower class, and specifically homes that also had an older adopted sister in order to study what exactly? Well we never really find out a clear answer. All three boys struggled with mental health issues throughout their lives (which many speculate was the subject of this study) and eventually Eddy committed suicide. The documentary follows the other two boys on their quest to figure out what the hell this study is for and why. But they never get answers, the study is locked and not to be released until 2060 something or other. In the end notes of the film, we’re informed that after this documentaries release, the remaining boys were actually granted access to the study but it didn’t really answer any questions.
So, that’s where we are left, with more questions than answers. This is a very well done documentary. I very much liked that it was all a first hand account of the adoptees and their families. While the subject is obviously terrible and terrifying, I think it is an important topic that needs to be discussed more. I do not think this is something of the past. I 100% believe this type of thing still happens today. More importantly, I think it’s vital to shatter this image of adoption that currently exists. This idea that adoption is all rainbows and butterflies. A place where everything is perfect, happy, ethical and everyone farts rainbows. Most of us involved in adoption already know, this image is a lie. The current adoption industry is very dark and unethical. There are too many loopholes in the system that allows for things like this study to be legal. There are no checks and balances in adoption, so these agencies can get away with doing pretty much whatever they want for whatever reason. There is a reason why the adoption/foster industry is closely linked to human trafficking. 60% of all child sex trafficking victims have histories in the child welfare system. That is WAY TOO HIGH PEOPLE!
Anyways, my point is, this story is bonkers, but it’s an important one that needed to be told. This isn’t a one off situation folks, this type of unethical decisions are being made every day in the adoption industry and we need to start paying attention.