The story of Callie Johnson is just more proof that being a mom doesn't necessarily mean you had to have given birth. While Callie was tragically denied the chance to grow up with her own parents due to a horrible hospital mix-up of babies, she calls the mom who raised her her mother and her "best friend."
It all started in 1995 when two newborn girls were accidentally switched at birth. Callie Johnson and Rebecca Chittum were given to the wrong parents. This is just one of those nightmare scenarios that makes you want to give birth to your kid in a locked bedroom at home.
Tragically, Kevin and Whitney Chittum were killed on the same day the hospital discovered the mix-up in a car accident. Kevin and Whitney died without ever knowing the truth. Which is maybe for the best.
Paula Johnson, who was raising Callie on her own, now fought to keep Callie and also raise Rebecca. But a judge, on the advice of a child psychologist, eventually ruled that Rebecca should stay with the Chittum family and be raised by Kevin and Whitney's parents.
Visits between both families were arranged, but the girls soon tired of traveling long distances to visit families that each didn't really know.
The case became famous and it led to an overview of maternity ward safety procedures across the nation.
But what of Callie? How does she feel having been raised by a woman whom she was mistakenly given to? Speaking for the first time about the mix-up, Callie, now 18, says about Paula:
She’s my best friend. She always has been. And I can honestly say that ... I don’t know what I’m missing so in a sense, I do feel more sorry for Rebecca, because she doesn’t know her biological mom.
Paula says that she always told Callie what had happened, and that her real parents were dead. She told WTRV:
I’ve always taught her from day one they are her parents, you know. She was born in Whitney’s belly and she was born in my heart.
I think this speaks not only to the power of love, but of truth. The truth will set you free. Paula did not try to hide anything from her daughter, and for that she was rewarded with love and respect.
As for baby switching, it is so rare that only a handful of cases have been reported worldwide in 85 years.
Do you ever worry about something like this happening in your hospital?
Image via WTRV