Sisters born in Korea searching for their triplet
8 December 2022

Vanessa Emerson and Jonessa Dobbs were put up for adoption shortly after their birth in 1985. Years later, they learned they had a triplet.

INDIANAPOLIS — Vanessa Emerson and Jonessa Dobbs were born in South Korea in 1985 and put up for adoption shortly after.

"What we believe is our parents were young, unmarried and in Korea, especially at that time, you don’t have kids when you’re unmarried," said Dobbs. "That’s just a no-no, so a lot of moms end up giving their kids up for adoption."

They were taken in by a family in Michigan and the two grew up just outside Detroit.

"We always knew we were adopted," said Dobbs.

"When we were 17 or 18, our parents told us, 'You're not twins, you're triplets,'" said Emerson.

It was a conversation that changed their lives and turned these sisters into amateur detectives.

"I think as we grew up and had kids of our own, we started to really have that yearning to find more about our culture and find out what we can about our family," said Dobbs.

"Somebody knows something and our triplet, if they were adopted, they could be here in America, they could be in another country. We don't know where they could be," said Emerson.

The two recently went on a "Me and Korea" tour for Korean adoptees. It was the first time they had been back since they were born.

The sisters also discovered their parents died in 1989 when they were just four years old. They died on the same day.

"We don't know if our triplet was with them when they died, because they died together," said Dobbs.

Beyond that, the two struggled to find any further information about their family.

"In Korea, you have a family registry and unless we were on our family registry, then you can get information. Since they gave us up, we’re basically our own family individually, so we’re not on any registry," said Emerson.

Now, they're hoping the internet can help.

"With that being a dead end, we had to find different ways and social media is probably the most amazing way to reach everyone across the world," said Dobbs.

They remain hopeful, and won't give up the search to find their brother or sister.

"I feel sad for them because they don't get this, they didn't get this growing up. They were alone and I feel like we should all be together because we belong together," said Emerson.