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Worst Nightmare: Swapped At Birth

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Could you give up the boy you'd raised for two years?


This is every mom's worst nightmare. Two mothers in Russia have been forced to swap their two-year-old sons after DNA tests revealed the children had been mixed up as newborns by a careless nurse, according to Sky News.

A court ordered the two women to exchange the boys they had raised as their own, the Russian media is reporting.

How could something like this happen? The error was uncovered when one of the mothers, Anna Androsova, discovered her son's maternity ward ID tag actually had the mother's name Zarema Taisumova on it. Androsova tracked down the Chechen woman, saw the blue-eyed boy and declared, "This is my son."

But Taisumova refused to swap the children without proof. The hospital in central Russia ordered DNA tests, which confirmed the boys had been mixed up.

Androsova initially pleaded with her family to keep Nikita, the boy she had raised for two years as her own. But she later decided to pursue the exchange through the court.

Weeks after the switch, Taisumova was still deep in shock, interviewed on Russian television with her biological son playing on her lap.

She has changed her dark-haired and brown-eyed biological son's name from Nikita to Ali, but said she would continue to love the other little boy whom she had named Adlan.

Both children are reportedly struggling to adapt to their new families. Adlan, now called Nikita by his biological mother, misses his Chechen mom and his older brother says he loved the old Nikita more.

The maternity ward has blamed the error on a lack of staff, explaining only two nurses were caring for 20 newborns. The nurse responsible for the error has been fired, and the hospital's head doctor said there is little else they can do.

To prevent something like this from ever happening again, many hospital maternity wards have rigid safety practices in place. In India, they tag the newborns and their mothers with unique Radio Frequency IDs, which can prevent stealing as well as swapping by mistake while the baby is in the hospital. In Spain, babies are fingerprinted at birth.

Here in the States, hospitals routinely use triple and sometimes quadruple identification bands to insure that a baby is not separated from its mother, reports the New York Times.

Could you hand over a child you had raised for two years? Which pull would be stronger for you -- nature or nurture? Comment in our momlogic community.

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302 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous April 1, 2009, 7:30 AM

I have never been in this situation before so therefore I really would not know like those mothers who have however I strongly feel that the babies should go back to their rightful owners as painful as it maybe

Deana April 1, 2009, 8:31 AM

“Rightful owners”?! They’re not dogs or belongings.

How could the child you’ve raised from birth be any less your child than a stranger who happens to have your DNA? Does DNA really trump two years’ of love? Those children are never going to recover emotionally from this.

Gigohead  April 1, 2009, 10:05 AM

As sad as this story is, these babies will adapt to their mothers. There is blood bond that can’t be broken.

It was the best decision. Each mother should be grateful the other took good care of their babies but they must now work to continue to best mother their own babies. Childhood doesn’t end at 2 years old. There is a lot of work to be done.

Good luck to them both and much prayers in helping to heal the wounds.

N April 1, 2009, 10:41 AM

blood bonds are NOT as strong as you think. They have been with loving families for 2 years they should have stayed where they were, this was a bad choice.

Deana April 1, 2009, 10:47 AM

I can’t even believe anyone is in support of trading two year olds. Blood bond? Really? What about love bond?

Anonymous April 1, 2009, 12:10 PM

PLEASE Blood does not make the mother. Love does. In my opinion these women should both stay in these childrens lives. Although I can not imagine being in these mothers situation I would imagine I would want my biological child but also want the child I raised. Obviously I could not have both so I believe the next best thing would be to create an extended family so the child nor the family will lose each other. Bonds have been formed and they should be respected. Nothing matters but the children. I hope these families make the best out of this horrible situation and respect the relationships that have formed over the past 2 years.

Heather April 1, 2009, 12:27 PM

Wow. I don’t even know what to say. They must all feel so torn and those little boys must be so confused. Very sad.

2boys&ababygirl April 1, 2009, 12:34 PM

I agree with the previous poster. Both families should make an effort to blend and see each other often. I can’t imagine giving up a child I’d raised for 2 years. Blood doesn’t mean crap really. Of course I adore my children, but if I found out one of them wasn’t mine biologically, I’d fight like hell to keep them. I have blood relatives I don’t speak to or associate with and friends who are my family. I was adopted and my parents are the ones who raised and loved me, not the idiots who abandoned me and my sister at 5 and 8 years old. So I sortof understand this. Just my 2 cents worth.

Sara April 1, 2009, 2:18 PM

Very sad. I think the children should have been kept with the parents who have raised them so far and stay close to the other famliy so that the children can know both sets of parents. Uprooting them from their homes makes no sense. So sad for everyone involved. What a nightmare.

sunshine April 1, 2009, 3:42 PM

Oh boy!!! I think that these families need to be bonded and see eachother as much as possible. There is no easy transition for this. It is sad. The careless nurse should be prosecuted.

Al Lucero April 1, 2009, 8:58 PM

When I was four years old or so there was a meeting between the woman who raised me, my natural mother, the other child who was accidentally switched in the hospital, and me. The mothers’ consensus was to keep the child they had been raising. I was not aware of any of this until I turned fifty years old and discovered I was not biologically related to the people whom I had always assumed were my family in the traditional sense. I sympathize with the plight of these two families and hope the best for all involved. My memoir is about to be published in some form. For those interested I can be contacted at

Gigohead  April 2, 2009, 9:58 AM

Thanks for sharing that Al. Do you think the right decision was made on your behalf? I wonder if you would have wanted to stay with your biological mother. I will be looking out for your story.

we had a similar case here in the states about 15 years ago where there was 1 remaining child (the other girl died from the same illness as her mother) and she was a preteen when she found it she had been switched. If I recall, she ended up bonding with her family and ended up emancipating from the father she thought was her birth father. I do remember there was a movie about this.

Sharon April 2, 2009, 1:57 PM

I have never had a biological child, but I have adopted 3 children. I can’t comprehend what would happen if someone tried to take a child away from me. I can’t speak for nature but I can say that nurture grabs a hold of your heart and won’t let go.

Kim April 2, 2009, 2:48 PM

This is just so sad. I feel for those boys. They must miss their original family so much…and to have your name changed at 2 years old. That is just terrible.

Sheri April 2, 2009, 8:07 PM

I have two adopted children and am adopted myself… there is no such thing as a “blood bond” or anything stronger than the love I have going in both directions. I would never be able to give up my children.

Annette April 2, 2009, 8:09 PM

as a mom to a 3 year old little girl, i cannot understand how someone could be so absolutely heartless to inflict this pain on little children. do these people have any idea the kind of psychological damage theyve caused to them? to seperate them from the mothers who’ve loved and cared for them from birth. unbelievable!

Terzhan April 2, 2009, 8:13 PM

OMG - this is so tragic and probably very traumatic for the children. They do not understand why they were ripped away from the people who raised them. Also, what about the stress on their siblings? The parents are being selfish and should have let things be for the emotional well-being of the children. They could have set up some sort of visition or formed a relationship with each other. Anything to keep these kids with the people who raised and loved them for 2 years. So sad.

chrisb April 2, 2009, 8:15 PM

Giving them back to their rightful Mothers is the right thing to do. Those who say there is no blood bond are very wrong and it is much stronger than you think. Some of you must be touchy adoptive Mom’s on guard against your child ever wanting to know his real family? They will want to know that someday whether you like it or not. I am glad that they found this out when they are this age and not much older. In a few years neither child will remember anything about this.

Kim April 2, 2009, 8:15 PM

These poor little boys are now scarred for life. What a sad story!

Person April 2, 2009, 8:17 PM

this is i mean c’mon they been with these women for 2 years just let em stay the poor things i feel bad this was a stupid choice

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