When Howard Burack called Louise Wise Services, the adoption agency that handled his adoption to get ahold of his birth records, he never expected to come across an earth-shattering secret. They informed him that he actually had a twin brother somewhere out in the world! Due to New York privacy laws, they couldn’t give him the information unless his brother called in to get the information himself.
He spent two years trying to find his long lost brother, praying to see him in a passing face on the street. Maybe one of his friends or family would find spot the twin on the streets somewhere and they could get the long awaited reunion?
During the two year search for his brother, Burack was contacted by Lori Shineseki, an ABC News consultant and a documentarian, who was working on her documenting, “The Twinning Reaction.” She began to help Burack unravel the web of secrets and lies that formed his adoption, and the adoption of many other kids through Louise Wise.
Louise Wise had been secretly separating twins and triplets at birth, and adopting them out to different families so that they could study nature versus nurture. Adoptive families were never told that their child had a twin, and were told that in order to adopt the infant they must agree to participating in an on-going study about the child’s health and intelligence following the adoption. They were never informed what the true goal of the study was.
As the children grew up, they would continue to take part of the research, never knowing what they were doing. They’d do simple things like riding their bike for the researchers, or looking at different photos to describe the hidden pattern. Even though all of the seperated kids are now adults, they all remember bits and pieces of the testing. Clearly, it made a big impact on their lives growing up.
Louise Wise Services went out of business in 2004, and moved all of its records to the Spence-Chapin Adoption Agency. In 2000, two years after Burack began the search, Louise Wise began to prepare to close up shop. One of the employees was dying, but knew that she had to do something to help these twins before it was too late. She called some of the twins, as many as she could, telling them that they had siblings they had never known about.
One of the twins she contacted was Doug Rausch, who agreed to give them his contact information in hopes of getting the chance to meet his brother. The moment Burack received the information, he called Rausch. The two talked on the phone for ages, realizing how much they had in common. They both coach hockey, and their children both play hockey. They both married in 1992, and carry their wallets in their front pockets. Even their wives are extremely similar to one another, type-A personalities and former runners.
The two finally met at Columbus, Ohio, airport. From the first moment they saw each other, it was like two halves were put back together. Burack says it was like he had known his brother his whole life.
In total, 15 children were separated by the study. Most of which have gone on to report serious mental health issues. Three of the siblings even committed suicide, knowing that something was missing from their lives, but not always knowing what.