Unveiling the chilling tale of Georgia's stolen and sold children. Quest for truth sparks a global reunion
This moving narrative is the result of the investigative work of journalist Tamuna Museridze. Following her mother's death, Museridze learned that she was adopted. She started a Facebook group named Viezeb (meaning "I'm looking for" in Georgian), through which she found others with similar experiences, all seeking contact with their biological families.
In its coverage, the BBC illustrates the stories of Amy and Ano. They are identical twins who fortuitously found each other. They realized they were among the thousands of children in Georgia who were abducted from hospitals and then sold.
When 12-year-old Amy Kvitia was at her godmother's house by the Black Sea, watching her favorite TV show "Georgia's Got Talent," a girl identical to her was performing a jive dance. She wasn't merely similar but completely identical.
She recalls, "Everyone was calling my mom, questioning why Amy was impersonating someone else. But when I discussed this odd case with my mom, she remarked that everyone has a doppelgänger."
Seven years later, in November 2021, Amy uploaded a video on TikTok in which she dyed her hair blue and pierced her eyebrow. About 199 miles away, in Tbilisi, another 19-year-old, Ano Sartania, was shown a video by a friend. The girl in the video resembled Amy almost precisely.
Ano strived to find this mystery girl online. She forwarded the video to her university WhatsApp group, hoping someone could help. A person who knew Amy saw the message and linked them on Facebook.
The stolen children of Georgia: the truth emerges after several years
Amy instantly recognized Ano as the girl she had seen years ago on "Georgia's Got Talent". "I've been looking for you for so long!" she messaged Ano.
The girls met in Tbilisi. It occurred to them that they had more similarities than just their physical resemblances. Both were born in the now-defunct Kirtski Maternity Hospital in western Georgia.
They share a love for the same music, have a passion for dancing, and both suffer from the same genetic disorder—a bone disease known as dysplasia.
They confronted their families, and, for the first time, they ascertained the truth. In 2002, they were adopted a few weeks apart. The information on their birth certificates had been falsified, including their birth dates.
The journey to the truth was heart-wrenching. It turned out that both families had paid a substantial amount for the children, receiving them from someone who claimed they were unwanted newborns. Neither of the adoptive families knew they had adopted a twin, or that the biological mother had been told her infants died shortly after birth.
Amy discovered a Facebook group dedicated to connecting Georgian families with children believed to have been illegally adopted at birth and shared their stories. A young woman from Germany responded, revealing that her mother had twins at the Kirtski Maternity Hospital in 2002 and had been informed they had passed away.
This is just one among many stories from Georgia. Tamuna Museridze stresses that verifying the scale of this adoption scandal is virtually impossible due to the absence of access to documents. Some of these children were in foreign families in the US, Canada, Cyprus, Russia, and Ukraine. In 2006, to combat human trafficking, Georgia revised its adoption laws and instated stricter regulations.