Kathleen and Charity LincolnTurning 16 years of age, Kathleen and Charity Lincoln are celebrating independence. Born as conjoined twins, the last surgery was completed almost three years ago, making them among the first set of twins to undergo separation. Although the girls have faced numerous challenges, they are both happy, healthy, and excited for the future.

When born, both abdomen and pelvis were intertwined. During their early years, the Lincoln twins were featured in news articles around the country. The adorable babies won the hearts of Americans when at seven months underwent a complex 30-hour surgery of separation. Following the first surgery at Seattle’s Children’s Hospital came many more.

In 2012, the Lincoln family left Thurston County so the father, 47-year-old Greg Lincoln could spearhead the Church of God in Willamette Valley, a rural farming community roughly 20 miles to the north of Eugene.

At the beginning of last Saturday’s sermon, Pastor Lincoln announced to the congregation that his daughters, Kathleen and Charity were turning 16, something many thought impossible. Talking to a congregation of 115, Pastor Lincoln stated that God is good and that He protected his daughters during and after every surgery.

Kathleen and Charity were born as ischiopagus tripus conjoined twins, which of all types is one of the rarest. At the time of their birth, just 18 set of twins of this kind had ever been recorded. Through an ultrasound, the family learned of the girls’ condition early on in the pregnancy. In addition to working with a doctor who specialized in pregnancies such as this, the couple received tremendous support from family, friends, and of course, the church.

Although other ischiopagus tripus conjoined twins have been separated, what makes Kathleen and Charity’s so unique is that the surgery was considered a pioneered event. At that same time, England’s high court had just made it legal for another set of twins named Jodie and Mary to be separated. Unfortunately, one of the twins in that case died. As with the Lincoln girls, doctors could not guarantee anything so turning 16 is a remarkable milestone.

Both Kathleen and Charity are like any other teenage girls, playing soccer, riding specially made bikes, and just hanging out with friends. They now attend Harrisburg High School after being homeschooled until last year and have their sights set on attending college. Most of all, they want to live a normal, independent life.