At eight years old, Kendall and Julianne Scavo received a different kind of gift for Christmas: they found out they weren't just twins, but rather triplets.
"They told Kendall and I that they had one present left for us, and it was the kind of present that cannot be wrapped in a box," Julianne told Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie on Today July 27. "They showed us a picture of Rikki and let us know we had another sister out there."
As Rikki explained, her parents "were not prepared financially to raise triplets." She added that, combined with the fact their mother Kathleen was "100 percent deaf, made both of them believe they wouldn't be able to raise three children successfully."
So, they decided to place two of triplets up for adoption. In an early ultrasound, Kendall and Rikki were both breach, which doctors indicated was unlikely to change. But when Kendall turned to be head down alongside Julianne, their mother Kathleen took it as a sign those two were supposed to be together, choosing to put them up for adoption as twins.
After learning of her existence, Kendall and Julianne wrote Rikki letters for years before the trio officially met when they were 11. In one letter, Rikki, who told Today that she knew of her sisters' existence her whole life, wrote, "All I've ever wanted is to run up to you and embrace both of you in my arms."
As to why it took a few years for the girls to meet in person, Kendall shared that her parents were worried she and Julianne would be drawn to their biological parents. "I think they just always had that inherent fear that we would like see our birth mom and feel like a biological pull," she explained. "But that was just never the case."
But when they finally did meet? "We walked in and saw each other and ran up and gave each other the biggest hugs," Kendall added. "And it was like we'd known each other forever."
And for Rikki, who was raised as an only child, she said it was an especially moving encounter: "It was a lot like a puzzle piece sliding into place."
These days the sisters, now 32, live only minutes away from each other in Austin, Texas, and are only growing closer. In fact, they even host a podcast together which they've playfully titled, Luke, Who Is Your Father.
And they're grateful for the bond they've developed as a trio, with an emotional Julianne noting, "They are just the most important people to me."
As Kendall put it: "Being able to cultivate this really unique relationship has just been the best thing we all could have done."