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Twins who didn’t meet until age 10 are now both high school valedictorians

Audrey and Gracie met in person for the first time in 2017.
twins grad.jpg
Posted at 8:11 PM, May 22, 2024

Twin sisters Audrey Doering and Gracie Rainsberry, who reunited on "Good Morning America" in 2017 after being separated as toddlers, returned to the Times Square studio on Wednesday to celebrate a huge milestone together.

During their reunion on "GMA" almost 7 years ago, the twins, who were adopted from China by two different American families, were seen getting visibly emotional as they met in person for the first time.

Now 18, Audrey and Gracie, returned to "GMA" as valedictorians of their respective high school classes.

Earlier this month, Gracie traveled from her home in Washington state to Wisconsin, where Audrey lives, to watch Audrey graduate, and Audrey plans to do the same to watch Gracie graduate.

"As Audrey mentioned, our situation is not ideal, it’s not like most twins," Gracie said on 'GMA." "But I’m so glad that I was able to go down and be with Audrey on her special day. And then when I graduate, she’s going to be able to come to Washington."

The accomplishment is a scene their parents could only dream of when they each decided to adopt a baby from China.

In their 2017 interview with "GMA," Audrey’s mom Jennifer Doering said she and her family decided to adopt because they felt like they "weren't complete," adding that they "really would love to have a daughter."

Meanwhile, Gracie’s mom Nicole Rainsberry said at the time she thought "adoption seemed like a great way to add to our family."

The adoption process for both families happened in the summer of 2007, when Gracie and Audrey were only 15 months old.

At the time, Gracie and Audrey both suffered from heart conditions. Upon their arrival to the U.S. the two underwent heart surgeries.

When Jennifer became curious about her daughter's past around a decade later, she learned through a Chinese researcher that Audrey had a twin, Gracie, after discovering an old picture of the girls sitting on the knee of their foster mom.

"As soon as I had that picture, I was desperate to find out who that other child was," she told "GMA."

Jennifer later learned that Gracie had also been adopted and brought to the U.S. and she eventually found Gracie’s mom Nicole on Facebook.

Since they first met on "GMA" and despite living 1700 miles apart, the twins have seen each other about twice a year to spend their birthdays and even go on international trips together.

"Obviously our situation is not like other twins ... but we've just had so many amazing opportunities. We've been able to travel together and experience so many firsts, which has been special," Audrey said. "I think just the best part is spending time with each other ... and just seeing how we’ve matured but how we’re still very similar."

For their next chapter in college in the fall, Audrey is heading to Vanderbilt University and Gracie is going to Eastern Oregon University, where she will play on the women's soccer team.

While the two received full scholarships to their schools, Sallie Mae, an education solutions company, surprised each of them on "GMA" with $10,000 to put towards their college expenses.

In addition to the college fund, Expedia also gifted the twins with $5,000 each in One Key Cash so the girls can travel and visit each other.

Gracie said she is excited to be on her own in college, saying, "I’m kind of just ready to be on my own, I mean every 18-year-old is. I’m just excited to explore my career."

"Like Gracie said, I’m excited to be on my own, especially since Nashville is so far from Wisconsin," Audrey added. "I’m just excited to explore my different options."

After their appearance on "GMA," Audrey and Gracie will attend an event held by the American Heart Association called "Hearts on the Hill Fly In" to show their support for the organization in which Audrey served as its 2023 National Youth Heart Ambassador and Gracie has been involved through her mom's engagement in the Kid's Heart Challenge.

At the event which will be hosted in Washington D.C. this week, the twins will join other supporters of the nonprofit to urge Congress to pass policies that help ensure students, staff and visitors in schools are prepared to respond to a cardiac emergency.