Early on the morning of February 4 of this year, four words took Cynthia Darosett’s breath away: “The twins found us.”

The CIRI shareholder stood in her Colorado home with her phone to her ear as her youngest son explained that the twin boys she’d long ago given up for adoption had made contact. Three months later, Cynthia was back in Alaska, face-to-face with the sons she thought she’d never see again.

“I thought about the twins all the time, especially on their birthday,” Cynthia says.

“This year, I was so upset because I really felt like giving up. I thought I would never find them.”

Instead, Cynthia’s sons, 26-year-olds Jerome and Mark, found her by connecting with a cousin on Facebook.

Born as Bruce Allen and Christopher Michael, the boys were the second and third children for an already struggling 17-year-old Cynthia. Her first child was only 13 months old when she brought her premature twins home from Providence Hospital.

Trying to care for three babies as a young mother was simply too much. “I was feeding one, and then the other would wake up and need feeding,” she recalls. “My husband at the time was working nights, so I was by myself with a twin in each arm and a toddler who was getting into everything. And the twins required so much attention because they were so little. To this day, I feel guilty for giving them up, but I think I made the only decision that I could at the time – to give them a better home than what I could provide.”

Cynthia’s reunion with her sons took place at a Thai restaurant in Wasilla. “When I walked in, they each gave me a hug, and the embrace was just overwhelming.”

In the days after meeting her twins, Cynthia spent time with her new extended family, which includes three grandchildren and one granddaughter on the way. Family dinners, barbecues and birthday celebrations offered an opportunity for her to get to know Jerome and Mark.

She also made a special trip to the CIRI offices in Anchorage. “One of the very first things I wanted to do was add the twins to my CIRI stock will,” she explains. “That was important to me. And from the moment I walked into the CIRI offices, I felt at home and cared about.”

Though she lives in Colorado, “home” is Alaska – and now, Cynthia says, she has more reason than ever to return. “I made this trip specifically to reunite with my twins. For years, my family experienced a lot of loss, and that drove me away, but Alaska will always be home, no matter where I go. This is where my boys are. After so many years of loss, now I’m gaining family.”