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Children Switched At Birth Refuse To Be Swapped Back

BBC

Two children switched at birth are refusing to return to their biological family after becoming become attached to the parents who've raised them.

Born in an Indian hospital, the boys were delivered within minutes of each other, but were given to the wrong families.

To make the situation even more climactic, the boys come from completely different backgrounds. One set of the parents are tribal Hindu, while the other is Muslim.

According to the BBC, it took authorities two years and nine months to deliver the DNA test results, proving what both families had long suspected.

But despite the mix-up, the parents have unanimously decided to raise each other's children.

Shahabuddin Ahmed said he took his wife, Salma Parbin, to the Mangaldai Civil Hospital on March 11, 2015 to give birth to their son, and were discharged the day later. It wouldn't be until a week later when Salma voiced her suspicions.

"A week later, my wife told me, 'This baby is not ours.' I said, 'What are you saying? You shouldn't talk like this about an innocent child.' But my wife said there was a Bodo tribal lady in the labour room and 'I think our babies have been switched'. I didn't believe her, but she kept insisting," Shahabuddin explained.

Salma said she had doubts Jonait was biologically theirs.

"When I saw his face, I had doubts. I remembered the face of the other woman in the labor room and he resembled her. I could make out from his eyes. He's got small eyes, no-one in my family has eyes like that," Salma said.

Shortly after, Shahabuddin went to the hospital to inquire about the potential swap, but his suspicions were dismissed, with an employee even suggesting his wife needed psychiatric help.

Unable to take no for an answer, he submitted a right to information petition asking the hospital for the details of all the babies born around the same time as Jonait.

He eventually received the details of seven mothers who gave birth that day, where one "tribal lady" stood out. She along with his wife delivered sons who weighed 6lbs 6oz within five minutes of each other. They wrote to Anil and Shewali Boro, and quickly decided to arrange a trip to meet the Hindu family in a neighboring village 19 miles away.

With their son Riyan in tow, the Boros were prepared to meet their offspring, but had no way to anticipate the emotions that day would bring.  

Shewali said when she first laid eyes on Jonait, she realized how closely he resembled her husband and "felt very sad and cried."

"We are Bodo tribals, we are not like the other Assamese or Muslim people," Shewali said. "Our eyes slant upwards, our cheeks and hands are plumper. We are different. We have Mongolian features."

While Salma wanted to swap the two children straight away, Anil's grandmother rejected the proposal.

Eventually, lab results confirmed what the two families had come to believe, but when they went to court to exchange their children, both families couldn't go through with it.

"The magistrate told us that if we wanted to swap the babies we could do it, but we said we won't do it. Because we've raised them for the past three years, we can't just let them go," Salma said. "Also, Jonait was crying. He was in my brother-in-law's lap, he held him tightly, wrapped his arms around his neck and refused to leave."

Jonait refused to budge, as he reportedly began to cry and refused to let go of the only mother he ever knew.

After seeing the impact their impending swap had on their children, both sets of parents decided to continue raising the children they've had since birth.

Once the boys grow older, the couples will let them decide where they'll live, but until then, the families plan on staying in touch so they can still be a part of their biological children's lives.

Do you think the parents made the right decision?

Maya has been working at Shared for a year. She just begrudgingly spent $200 on a gym membership. Contact her at maya@shared.com