Parents Discover Their Babies Were Switched at Birth -- 12 Years Later

Mom Moment 38

baby girlHave you ever seen the ABC Family show Switched at Birth? It's one of my guilty pleasures, a show about two families with babies who were, well, you get where I'm going with this. It has a bit of a cheesy soap opera feel to it, but I can't help it. I'm hooked. So when I saw Russian parents who went through a hospital baby swap in real life were opening up, I got sucked right in.

Naimat Iskanderov and Yuliya Belyaeva lived through 12 years of raising a daughter who wasn't biologically related to them. It sounds like a lifetime. And yet, I'm not sure which would be harder: knowing you missed out on 12 years with your biological daughter or having to share the little girl you cuddled and comforted for the past decade?

Notice I haven't used the words "real daughter" to describe either of these girls. Because to Yuliya, little Irina is the little girl who she diapered and fed. To Naimat, little Anna is the girl he named for his Russian grandmother, the woman who raised him.

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That qualifies these girls as their kids, right? A child you raise, a child you care for every day and every night is your kid, right?

And yet they're not.

Their babies were switched at the hospital at one point, and it wasn't until Yuliya's ex-husband was playing games about child support that she had DNA tests done (to prove she had never cheated on him during her marriage) that the change came out.

The aftermath is heartrending. Yuliya's husband left her because he was convinced the baby that didn't look like him meant his wife had cheated. Both of these parents are trying to figure out how to deal with their different religions (one is Muslim, the other Christian), and make up for 12 years apart.

It's like a trainwreck, but I can't look away. My heart wants to figure out how you make that work, how you let your heart make room for both children.

Maybe I can be so fascinated because I'm 99.999999 percent sure this did not happen to me. Put a photo of my dad at his first birthday party next to one of my daughter's early photos, and they are nearly identical! And just this morning while I was brushing her hair, she gave me a look that was so my mother-in-law that I did a double take. I know my daughter is my own because of our shared genetics.

And yet, I come from a family with a mix of blood and adopted relatives. One of my favorite relatives, a relative who I would even say is most like me, is the latter. I can't deny that nurture plays a strong role in making a family.

The way I see it, if you raise a kid, they are your kid. If you give birth to a kid, they are also your kid.

What do you think? Would you consider both of these girls "yours" if this happened to you?


Image via HellN/Flickr

baby first year


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handy... handy0318

It would be a shocker, that's for sure... But, after the shock wears off, there is also the fact that this is the same situation that many families who openly adopt, or, as in my case, adopt a child who has siblings in other homes...  You simply allow the two families to mingle and be open with each other.  There is no reason to tear families apart over DNA... much better to realize that love and family does not need to be zero sum game.

nonmember avatar Thinker

This and the stories of babies being taken from hospitals is why my husband and I have a rule that from the moment the baby is born neither one of us will leave that child's side. When my son was born my husband stayed with him at all times. Our baby always had one of us nearby.

cmjaz cmjaz

If I found out my 7 year old son wasn't biolagically mine, I wouldn't trade him for the world. I would want to continue being his mother.

Rosas... RosasMummy

If I found out my daughter wasn't biologically mine and some other girl was, I'd want to meet the other girl and I'd want to know she was doing ok and had a good life, but I would keep my beautiful rosa baby

tuffy... tuffymama

Same here, Thinker. As much as I wanted my husband with me while I was being stitched up, it wa s'more important that he be with my baby. Human error and human evil are ever present, unfortunately.

tuffy... tuffymama

*it was more. Lol. Autocorrect and my fat thumbs come up with some good ones.

Jessica Kesler

Thankfully, my son looks identical to his father. However, I feel that as long as both family and children are willing, then the families should mingle. But we are forgetting other people in this equation: the children. The parents need to think about how the kids feel and ask them what they want even if they are only 12.

Tiffany Emerald

its a rough situation. if they hadnt done the switch, they would be with the right family raised & taken care of by their natural parents. id probably do something like they did on the abcfamily show, switched at birth

Panda... PandaPop83

How can you not? And in my honest opinion, if you can just stop loving the one who isn't related to you, then I think they're both better off without you.

marihla marihla

I can't even imagine. I am so lucky to live in an area with no nurseries in the hospitals. A situation like this would make your feel guilty for being angry.. because you don't want your "daughter" to feel unwanted.

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