Originally the twins were separated and cared for by their grandmother and great aunt, both of whom were aging and worried they'd die before the girls were grown. So they asked Congressman Mullin and his wife, who were part of the extended family, if they would adopt them.
then Mrs Mullin pulled what her husband calls the 'trump card'. She asked him: 'Would you pray about it?'
'How do you pray about that?' said Congressman Mullin at a town meeting in Henryetta, Oklahoma, last week.
'I mean, really. "Hey Lord, would you please, please make her heart as selfish as mine"?'
So instead he prayed that God would change his own mind, 'And man did He ever,' he says.
The Congressman, who himself is the youngest of seven, told TheHill: 'Our family prayed for God's will and He opened our hearts to the idea of adoption.
'We were unsure about whether, at this time, we could handle the extra responsibility,' he added. 'But God's timing is always perfect.'
Now the congressman - who is part of the Cherokee nation, just like his twin girls - says Lynette and Ivy have taught him more than he ever expected.
the part about being part Cherokee is important, because of the Indian welfare act. In the past, often children in "bad situations" were placed with loving white families, but the cultural differences resulted in problems. So now the rule is to try to find someone in the extended family to care for children (even if old, or too poor to meet the usual criteria such as separate bedrooms for each kid), and if there are no family members, then another tribal member, then to let someone in another tribe adopt, and then to allow someone with tribal ties but not a member to adopt, and only then to let a non Indian adopt.
The law has sometimes been misued, but as a whole is a good idea...