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DAVIS, Calif. (KTXL) — Three women studying veterinary medicine at the University of California, Davis discovered they have a lot more in common than an interest in helping animals.

Their lives are linked by a series of remarkable coincidences stretching all the way from a province in China to the campus of UC Davis. 

Molly Mettler, Livvy Peterson and Jennie Furth-Jacobus are all first-year veterinary students. They’re all left-handed and they all played volleyball in high school. They each grew up in Southern California. In fact, Mettler and Furth-Jacobus lived just 10 minutes from each other in Los Angeles. They never met until they got to UC Davis.

But the bond between the three goes far beyond common interests or characteristics. During a conversation last semester, they realized their life stories coincide on a much deeper level.

“We just kind of started talking and introducing ourselves and we got around to talking about how we were all adopted from China. And then we got to, like, ‘Oh, where in China?’” Peterson said. “And we were from the same province: in Guangdong.”

“And so we really bonded over that,” Furth-Jacobus said. 

“Then we talked more about it, the details of it,” Mettler added.

They were each abandoned as infants by their birth parents and placed in orphanages in Guangdong province.

From there, they were all adopted by American parents through the same adoption agency, and never having met, they each pursued veterinary medicine degrees and got accepted into the prestigious program at UC Davis.

“Like a ‘What are the odds?’ kind of thing,” Peterson said.

“I can’t wrap my head around it still,” Mettler said.

“And then to have us in the first year together in the same class — it’s crazy,” Furth-Jacobus said.

“In the same lab group too,” Mettler added.

“Oh yeah, and we’re in the same lab group,” Furth-Jacobus agreed.

“Because we’re divided into four different groups,” Mettler said. “So the chances of even just being put in the same group too is even slimmed down more.”

During a time when lectures are given online for COVID-19 safety, the labs provide that rare space where class is conducted in-person. And that’s how the friends really got to know each other.

“We’ve been very grateful to have in-person labs,” Furth-Jacobus said.

“Yeah, it’s something that we’re definitely not taking for granted,” Mettler added.

“Especially when we haven’t really gotten a lot of chances to meet a lot of our classmates. So then having something else that connects you deeper is like, you know, another step,” Peterson said. “So I think that’s really cool.”

Clearly, gratitude is also on the list of things the three have in common. That gratitude extends to the parents who adopted them and, with understanding hearts, to the birth parents who surrendered them.

“I know that they did their best and that circumstances were just really tough,” Furth-Jacobus said.

“It’s one of those things that was kind of meant to be,” Peterson said. “Like I’m personally really happy that I ended up here in America with my American family that I did.”

“I mean, we’re here at UC Davis, the number one vet school in the world. So I’m grateful for the sacrifices that they made so that I could have a better life,” Furth-Jacobus added.

“That’s amazing that we’re here together and we’ve experienced that,” Mettler said.