Joined at the head, 3-year-old twins Anastasia and Tatiana Dogaru are preparing for a complicated separation surgery in a few weeks that their parents hope will allow them to live normal lives.
The girls' brain functions are normal. Both are fast, funny and bilingual. Their bodies, however, are more complicated. Anastasia, in effect, eats for the two of them while, the smaller twin, Tatiana, has the kidneys and urinates for the girls.
The girls' parents -- Claudia, a nurse, and Alin Dogaru, a priest in the Byzantine Church, which allows priests to marry -- saw the successful separation of Egyptian twins on television and contacted the same doctors who had performed the surgery. The doctors flew their family from their home in Italy to Texas to begin the long process of preparing for surgery.
"There is real risk, and we've discussed this with the parents and they understand that," said Dr. Kenneth Salyer of the World Craniofacial Foundation, one of a few groups that are helping fund the surgery.
Despite the risk, the Dogarus are confident their daughters will live happier lives if they are separated.
"From the very beginning, we thought the best choice to live is to be separated," Claudia told "Good Morning America" anchor Diane Sawyer.
"The girls especially were in, in God's hands since the beginning," he said.
When she first saw them, Claudia said she was scared.
"I was scared because I saw just these beautiful girls, but I didn't know if I would be able to take care of them" she said. "I wanted to take them home and take care of them like, like normal kids, but I didn't know if, at the time, I would be able to or not."
According to Salyer, the twins don't even know they are different from the average child.
"Children at age 3 aren't aware of their body image," he said. "So to them, they're normal, they're fine, there's no problem. They only become aware of their body image at about age 5."
"Anastasia and Tatiana, they are normal girls. If you look at them, them -- normal girls, you're gonna see just normal girls," Claudia said. "Don't look at them like they're conjoined, you know, because we always see them like normal kids, you know. They get punished when they, they get in trouble."
Because their faces point in different directions, for a long time the girls were unable to see each other's faces, even in mirrors. When the girls watch television, the parents attach a DVD player with a screen to the TV and they watch the same movie on two different screens.
In just a few weeks, a year of surgeries will begin.
"If it wasn't for the parents, we probably wouldn't proceed on," Salyer said. "They want these girls separated, and we want that to happen for them. We think that's the, the best way to go, that these girls won't make it like they are, and so we're on that track. And we're gonna do everything we can."
The night before the surgery Claudia said she will think about one thing.
"We're in God's hands, and that's all I can think about," she said. "Probably, I'm gonna say a prayer and I offer them to God and that he's gonna take care of them. That's all I can do. I have to offer them the chances they can have now."