A couple weeks ago a story about two babies switched at birth in Argentina made the rounds. The moms discovered the mistake by chance at a doctor’s appointment three weeks later.
The story is stunning. Not just the one in a million chance of the mothers discovering the mistake the way they did, but the fact that such a monumental mistake can still happen in this day and age. Maybe it happens all the time and we just don’t know it.
It happened in 1995 and, as Shine reports, the babies at the center of the story are happy where they are.
Callie Johnson and Rebecca Chittum were accidentally switched at birth at the University of Virginia Medical Center, but the mistake wasn’t discovered for three years. The only reason it was discovered is the parents of Callie, Paula Johnson and Carlton Conley, had a rocky relationship. He demanded a paternity test thinking Callie wasn’t his but the results shocked them both: Callie wasn’t the biological child of either of them.
But the drama didn’t end there! As Shine reports, “The hospital helped figure out that Callie had been accidentally switched with another baby, Rebecca Chittum, who had gone home with Callie’s biological parents, Whitney Rogers and Kevin Chittum. However, in a tragic twist, Rogers and Chittum were killed in a car accident just a day after the discovery, leaving baby Rebecca in the care of her grandparents and her aunt, Pam Miskovsky.”
Holy insanity, right?!
After a long, drawn out battle a judge ultimately forced the babies to stay with the families that had been raising them.
The girls are 18 years old now, and each says she’s happy the way it all turned out.
“I would not go back and change it,” Rebecca Chittum, living in Virginia, tells the Daily Mail. “I am very happy I was switched at birth because I love the family I am with and if that didn’t happen then I wouldn’t know them.”
Callie Johnson tells WTVR that she wouldn’t change a thing as she loves the mom who raised her. “She’s my best friend. She always has been,” she says. “And I can honestly say that.”
Although the judge’s decision is still hurtful for her mom, Paula. She tells WTVR. “I’m angry because I don’t have a relationship with my biological child. I’m angry at the hospital because the only thing I ever asked was [for] them to apologize,” she says. “I’m angry that Kevin and Whitney aren’t here to see what a beautiful child [Callie] is and how much she’s grown…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.”
Although this particular case is filled with lots of strange twists and turns, I’ve got to say, I think that, hard as it might be, I would want the baby I raised for three years to remain with me. It’s a tough one, for sure, but how do you say goodbye to the toddler you’ve known and loved since the first days of their life? Biology is a big deal but is it as big a deal as attachment and bonding? Any adopted parent will tell you no.
Dr. Nadine Kaslow, president elect of the American Psychological Association and professor of psychiatry at Emory University, tells Yahoo Shine my feelings aren’t unique. “I think what this highlights is how much attachment really matters.”
What about you? I know you never really know what you’ll do in a situation until it happens to you, but how do you think you’d respond if you discovered an accidental hospital switch when your child was at least three years old?
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