Ann Hunt and Elizabeth Hamel are twins who were separated when they were just 20 weeks old. Miraculously, they have finally been reunited—after 78 long years.
Their poignant story began when Alice Alexandra Patience Lamb gave birth to twins Elizabeth Ann Lamb and Patricia Susan Lamb on February 28, 1936, in Hampshire. Their father, someone named Peters who was a British army, never saw the girls.
Being a pregnant unmarried woman and working as a live-in helper, Susan thought she could not afford to raise the girls, so she was forced to give them up for adoption.
See video at the end
Patricia was adopted by a local family, by a couple named Hector and Gladys Wilson, and they named her Ann. She was 14 when she found out about her adoption. She remembered asking her new mom, “Were we adopted, Mum?” An odd choice of words, Gladys says.
For Elizabeth, she was born with curvature of the spine and that made her unadoptable. She was already 15 when she was told she had a twin who was adopted, but she didn’t try to find her. Elizabeth joined the Navy and married an American sailor. The couple settled in Portland, Oregon.
It was Ann’s youngest daughter, Samantha Stacey, who traced the family tree, and it took her years of frustrating process before she finally made a breakthrough.
They knew Alice had got married in Chester and had a stepson, Albert. Though Albert was already dead, they were able to track down his son who told them the most important information: “Oh yes, Alice has a daughter in the US.” And that’s how they found out about Elizabeth.
At first, Samantha was a bit worried about telling her mother the news because her mom was the only one given up for adoption while Elizabeth got to stay with Alice.
But the moment Samantha told Ann about her twin sister, “She was overjoyed, delighted,” says Samantha. “She instantly rang my sisters. She’s just very happy about it.”
Elated Ann immediately wrote to Elizabeth, who described the moment she recognized the Aldershot postmark and read the letter. “My eyes popped out of my head,” she said. “I couldn’t get on the phone fast enough to give her a call. I had tried to trace her over the years but it seemed an impossible task. I had no idea where in the world she might be or even whether she was still alive.”