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Has anyone watched the tv series switched at birth? Not a doco all fictional but it's about 2 babies being switched at birth and not finding out til they were 16.
Anyways back on topic. I could never unless it was maybe a week or so from the swap it was noticed hand back a child I raised. I would like to meet my bio child and have some sort of relationship and I would allow it for the child I raised and their bio mum, but I certainly couldn't swap back.
At hospital both times I had ds and de they had wrist and ankle bracelets and stickers on their back as well as a paper thing with their names and my name and room number attached their their little bed/cart thing. They still had a little nursery when I had both mine that mums who were having a rough trot could get some sleep while the nurses looked after the bubbas. I used it on night 4 with ds pneumonia (sp) was kicking my butt and it was a relief to have a few solid hours sleep . But he was IDed up head to toe and I wasn't concerned
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The Czech baby swap families
20 Oct 2007 00:00Exclusive: We join the two Czech families trying to bond with their hospital mix-up kids. See the video here.
The two baby girls play on a quilted mat in the kitchen, crashing building blocks together and banging a plastic xylophone.
As they tumble on to each other and grab at one another's little feet and hands they are oblivious to the furore surrounding their birth.
Nikola and Veronika were born within 18 minutes of one another in the same hospital in the Czech Republic on December 9, 2006.
But in a dreadful mix-up the two children were switched that day - on purpose or, most likely, simply because their mums have the same first name, Jaroslava.
Since finding out the truth three weeks ago, the couples feel they have no choice but to swap back. The agony is that after 10 months bonding no one can bear to part with the children they have raised as their own.
All four parents are spending as much time as possible together with the girls. On this, their sixth meeting, the children are already at ease with one another, while the parents - respectful of one another's raw feelings - are still treading on eggshells.
"It is impossible to tell you how it feels," says 29-year-old Libor Broza, cradling Nikola who he has brought up for almost a year, in his arms. "It is so terrible that I wouldn't wish it even on my worst enemy."
Of the four parents, Libor was the one who suspected something was amiss. Nikola is a blonde, fair baby, and Libor's workmates kept teasing him that the child wasn't his.
He and his 25-year-old girlfriend of five years, Jaroslava Trojanova, both have jet-black hair.
"Insecurity made me discover it," he says, gently squeezing his girlfriend's arm. "Jaroslava told me she had no other man. But I wasn't sure so I had a DNA test in secret that showed Nikola was not my child.
"Still Jaroslava insisted she was never with another man. In April we decided she should also take a DNA test. It took five months to get the results. Waiting was agony, not knowing what to think."
A lorry driver, Libor had to pull over on a mountain highway when it sank in that the results of the family's DNA tests confirmed Nikola was not theirs.
"I broke down in tears. I was so shocked. I was crying so much I couldn't see the road, the lorry was swerving out of control," he says.
Jaroslava, a waitress, has taken it hardest of all the parents, knowing the day will come when she must hand over her beloved Nikola.
She barely puts the girl down during the meeting and Libor watches her anxiously.
"I would have preferred the other result," he says. "Yes, it would have meant Jaroslava had been unfaithful. But I already loved Nikola, even if she was another man's. Anything would have been better than this."
Sitting in his arms on the sofa, Jaroslava nods. "It was the worst result," she says. "There was nothing positive about it because it meant Nikola was not our child."
Libor and Jaroslava live in the tiny village of Jablonov 20 miles from Nikola's biological parents Jan Cermak and his wife, also Jaroslava.
For them the news came out of the blue. "The first time we knew anything was wrong was when we were contacted by the hospital and by social services," the lighter-haired Jaroslava says. "They told us there was a child born on the same day as Veronika who did not belong to her parents. We were totally shocked."
Her 26-year-old husband Jan, smiling sadly behind his beard, holds Veronika tightly against his chest.
"They asked us to take the DNA tests," he says. "We had to wait a week for the results. It was terrible, the worst time. We didn't know any more if our child was ours."
The Cermaks turned out to be Nikola's parents, while Veronika's DNA matched Libor and Jaroslava's.
Trebic hospital is investigating how the switch came about, although it seems likely that the mothers' common first name Jaroslava is to blame. Now, a 28-year-old nurse has been sacked, and each set of parents is suing the hospital for £250,000.
"Our first meeting was at a psychology unit," Jan, the manager of a pumber's merchants, continues.
"Meeting your child for the first time when she is already 10 months old is very sad and strange. It's a big confusion for all of us."
His wife, a finance assistant, says: "Nothing can describe it. Nothing."
At first sight, it seems as if it is the mothers who cannot let their babies go, and the men who feel more strongly about reclaiming their flesh and blood. But, as Jan holds his nonbiological daughter close you see it is just as painful for him as for his wife.
Of the two, he is closest to tears. "The first thing we noticed was that the children are very similar to our real children," Libor says. "Even their characters are very similar.
"But we were all so attached to our children - the children we had raised - that at first we could only be in the same room. We couldn't bond with the other child.
"We were trying to get to know each other as adults, not build a relationship with the other babies."
His girlfriend was so distraught she locked herself in the toilet for much of the first meeting. Mrs Cermak was close to fainting.
The couples have come a long way in three weeks, firing the psychologist given to them by the hospital and hiring a new one.
"The first psychologist insisted the babies should be swapped by their first birthday but we all felt it was too soon," says Jaroslava Trojanova, who twice walks out of the room during our interview with tears in her eyes.
"It was too fast and we were under too much pressure. Now, we have no plan and no arrangement."
"We will see the right moment when it comes," Libor says. "And when it comes we will make the exchange."
He pushes a plastic ball towards the two little girls where they are playing. "We have a lot of preparation to do. My Jaroslava is very, very attached to Nikola. It is very difficult for her."
Veronika crawls towards Jan and grabs at his legs. "The mothers and babies will go to spend time together by themselves at a cabin in the forest for a few days," Jan says. "That will help them to build up a relationship."
His wife is pregnant again, just starting her fifth month, and that at last has brought the couple some joy.
"We will be having the baby at a different hospital, that is certain," Jan says. "But at the moment we don't think like normal parents. We only think of the exchange."
In that room full of tears and tension, it is clear that both babies are loved so much.
As Libor says. "For the babies it will all be well.
"We will love our own daughters and we will be aunts and uncles to the other children we brought up. We will always be a part of their lives."
Jan Cermak and wife Jaroslava are the biological parents of Nikola but have been bringing up Veronika as their own.
Jan, 26, is the manager at a local plumber's merchants and his wife Jaroslava, 25, is a finance assistant at a nearby factory. Jaroslava is also five months pregnant.
Jaroslava Trojanova, 25, and Libor Broza, 29 are the biological parents of Veronika but for the past 10 months have brought up Nikola.
Jaroslava is a cook and waitress at a restaurant and Libor is a lorry driver. Jaroslava is a common Czech name and means "glorious spring".
The two families live 20 miles away from each other in the remote mountain region of Bohemia, a western province of the Czech Republic.
To see world exclusive footage of the families and babies together, go to www.mirror.co.uk
Check out all the latest News, Sport & Celeb gossip at Mirror.co.uk http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news...#ixzz2imTowI5Y
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COLIN DUCK: Gut-wrenching baby switch
| July 21st, 2011
Gwen Morrison and Lee outside court.
IT is not difficult to understand the distress of the two young mothers given the wrong babies to breastfeed in St John of God Hospital this week.
Imagine then the terrible anguish suffered by another pair of Victorian mothers whose dispute over their baby girls went on for years and years and years and never really ended.
Their struggle for custody of their daughters became known as 'The Whose Baby Case' and filled pages of newspapers around the world, was featured on cinema newsreels, engaged some of Australia's leading legal figures, divided a small country town and led to stringent new rules designed to eliminate any possibility of babies being mixed up.
The case had simple beginnings in the labour ward at Kyneton Hospital on June 22, 1945, when Gwen Morrison and Jessie Jenkins gave birth to baby girls in beds less than a metre apart.
Later Gwen Morrison would say that she saw a nurse carrying the two babies out of the ward, one under each arm, and heard the doctor warn: "Don't get them mixed up!"
She thought little of it until two weeks later when she took her newborn girl, Johanne Lee, home from hospital. The child's grandmother, Amelia Williams, sat in front of the warmth of an open fire and slowly unwrapped her blankets, admiring the latest addition to the Morrison family.
Then, in a moment that would change their lives forever, she declared: "Gwen, this is not the baby I saw in hospital. You've got the wrong baby!"
In the weeks that followed, Amelia Williams kept raising the subject and the Morrisons began to take her seriously. The little girl, known by her second name, Lee, had brown eyes while the rest of the Morrisons had blue.
Jessie Jenkins and her husband, Noel Jenkins, had no such misgivings. They couldn't have been happier with their child, the first girl after two boys. She was named Nola and while she had blue eyes, unlike her parents and siblings, that didn't concern them at all because other relatives also had blue.
During the following year the two families passed in the street on several occasions and Gwen Morrison and her mother saw enough of Nola Jenkins in the pram to strengthen their conviction that she was really a Morrison.
Grandmother Amelia Williams was to recall one of those encounters: "She (Mrs Jenkins) had her eldest son with her. I was immediately struck by the likeness between him and Johanne Lee. I said to Mrs Jenkins, 'I think you have our baby and we have yours.' She said, 'Don't be silly.'
I said, 'It's strange that we have the brown-eyed baby and you have the blue-eyed baby'.
"She said, 'Don't be silly."'
Eventually, the Morrisons had blood tests carried out by a Melbourne specialist. The verdict: Lee could not be their daughter. Bill Morrison, the father, confronted Noel Jenkins with the result. The Jenkins were not impressed but decided to consult their own doctor, the man who had delivered the two babies.
He carried out his own, simple blood tests and reported that Nola "could" be their daughter. For the Jenkins this was conclusive and for the remainder of their lives they would reject any suggestion that Nola might not be their child.
The Morrisons next sought help via the press and on January 31, 1948 more than two and a half years after the children were born the sensational Melbourne newspaper Truth published a front page account of the custody controversy under the headline: 'Mother claims two babies were switched'.
Was it not far too late to rectify the mistake, if, in fact, one had occurred? The Morrisons thought not and were overjoyed when Melbourne solicitor, John William "Jack" Galbally, came to their aid. A former Collingwood footballer who was later to become a leading Labor Party politician, Galbally offered to take up their cause for nothing and even persuaded leading barristers to do likewise.
The Jenkins did not have the funds to fight a serious legal battle but their plight won backing from many Kyneton townspeople and Country Fire Authority members around the state, who rallied to support their fellow volunteer Noel.
Nola and Lee had passed their third birthday by the time their case reached the Supreme Court. Gwen Morrison was in tears as she recounted the scene in the hospital on the night of the births but she was a persuasive and impressive witness.
She was followed into the witness box by the three nurses who had been on duty that night but their accounts differed and shed little fresh light on the events.
The man who might have been able to assist greatly, the doctor who had presided over the deliveries, was not available. He was on board a ship, heading for a new practice in Singapore.
If Gwen Morrison had been impressive, so too was Jessie Jenkins. Asked by the Morrisons' barrister, "Would not you like to know the real truth?" she replied, "But I do know it. I know I have got my own baby."
At the conclusion of the evidence, the man faced with resolving this heartbreaking case, Justice John "Jack" Barry, took the unusual decision to meet with the children and their parents in private in his chambers. The Jenkins felt alarmed when he asked them: "What would you do if you had to give Nola over?"
Back in court, the judge summed up: "The only conclusion reasonably open upon these facts is that Mrs Morrison was given Mrs Jenkins' baby and that Mrs Jenkins was given Mrs Morrison's baby."
With that, he gave the Jenkins seven days to produce proper, scientific blood tests.
Returning to court a week later the Jenkins' barrister told the judge that they would not have any blood tests and intended to appeal against Barry's ruling.
The judge then gave his formal finding: "It is ordered that the said child called Nola shall be delivered up, Alberta Gwen Morrison and William Henry Morrison shall have the custody and upbringing of the said child called Nola, and the manner in which the said child called Nola is to be delivered up reserved for future discussion."
To their immense relief, Justice Barry granted a stay of his order to the Jenkins, meaning that the two girls would remain where they were until an appeal was heard.
What hadn't been resolved was what would happen to Lee? Her custody had not been a subject of the case so, incredibly, if the Barry verdict was upheld and no further court action was taken, the Morrisons could end up with both children. They were not daunted by this prospect, having told reporters they were not only willing but determined to keep both girls.
However, immediately after the decision the Morrisons revealed that they were resigned to parting with Lee.
"We are prepared to give back Johanne," said Mrs Morrison. "We will miss her terribly as she's a wonderful child I don't know how we are going to do it, but I realise we can't keep them both."
Mrs Morrison also offered the Jenkins free access to see Nola as she grew up.
Three judges of the Supreme Court heard the Jenkins' appeal.
By the time it was completed, at the end of March, 1949, Nola and Lee were just three months short of their fourth birthdays. All three judges ruled in favour of the Jenkins.
The Morrisons may have lost the case but the fight was far from over, their lawyer Jack Galbally declaring: "I can say that trying to stop this fight is like trying to come between a lioness and her cub."
Five High Court judges heard what was effectively the final chapter of the 'Whose Baby' case and the drama continued to the end.
Two judges ruled for the Morrisons and two for the Jenkins. The fifth judge, Sir William Webb, would decide the outcome. The courtroom was hushed as he read his verdict:
"I would dismiss this appeal."
Webb's finding gave victory to the Jenkins by a majority of three to two, but his reasoning left many legal observers shaking their heads.
Two other babies had been born in the Kyneton hospital that week and Webb argued that it was just possible that one of those born two or three days earlier may have been substituted for Gwen Morrison's child.
A futile appeal was taken to the Privy Council in London but then it was all over. Nola stayed with her devoted parents in Kyneton, Lee remained with the Morrisons, who had left Kyneton before the court cases began and went on to live in a number of Victorian towns.
Gwen Morrison kept a picture of Nola Jenkins in her bedroom drawer and a friend in Kyneton telephoned her with any gossip or news about young Nola. Through this friend the Morrisons learned that many people in Kyneton,watching Nola grow up, were convinced that there had been a mix-up.
In 1971 Gwen Morrison died from cancer, the 'Whose Baby' case having cast a shadow over her entire married life.
Lee Morrison's adult life took a far happier course. She married a teacher, had three children and is now a doting grandmother. She counts the Morrisons as her family but remains convinced that she was born a Jenkins.
Noel and Jessie Jenkins saw her in the courts as a youngster but they never sought to see her again. They both died without meeting Lee.
COLIN DUCK is a former editor of the Sun News Pictorial in Melbourne, and a former general manager of the Geelong Advertiser. Duck and fellow journalist Martin Thomas wrote Whose Baby? in 1984. It was followed by a TV series shown to a worldwide audience of hundreds of millions.
I'd like to meet and if possible know my bio baby, and vice versa allow my baby to know his/her bio family, but absolutely no way would I give up either of my children.
Hopefully it would be Katelyn because if they did take her they'd bring her back after a few hours. Lol.
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Spain twins sue over birth mix-up Spanish twins separated at birth 35 years ago through a hospital mix-up are suing the authorities.
The twins were born in Gran Canaria
The women, who had been brought up in different families, were reunited by chance in 2001.
They were born in a Canary Islands hospital, where one of them was swapped by mistake with another baby girl.
All three women are suing the islands' government. A lawyer for one of the twins said she was seeking 3m euros (£2.4m) in damages.
"It does not take a lot of effort to put yourself in the position of any of these people to understand the damage that has been done," said lawyer Socorro Perdomo.
He said that of the three people most directly affected, his client had suffered the most.
"The first right of any child is the right to their own personal and family identity," he said.
The mistake only came to light when the twins were 28.
Mr Perdomo said a friend of one of the twins was working in a shopping centre in Las Palmas in the island of Gran Canaria.
The other identical twin came in one day to buy clothes, but when the sales assistant tried to greet her with a kiss, the customer refused.
The sales assistant, surprised, called her friend - the other twin - who assured her she had not been in the shop.
The sales assistant then realised she was dealing with twins and arranged for the two women to meet.
DNA tests proved they were identical twins, said Mr Perdomo.
The lawsuit is against the government of the Canary Islands - part of Spain - where the mistake was made in a state hospital in 1973.
Mr Perdomo said his client was taken out of a cot next to that of her twin sister and mistakenly replaced by another baby girl. His client was then raised by the family of that baby.
The non-twin was brought up believing that she was a twin sister.
All of those involved are remaining anonymous.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...s-1458414.htmlWhen a Child Says No
By Andrea Sachs Sunday, June 24, 2001
The news that Kimberly Mays received at nine years old was the stuff of childhood nightmares. Her father, Robert Mays, an Englewood, Florida, roofing salesman, sat her down and told her that he was not her biological father. Nor was his late wife, Barbara Mays, her mother. Instead, she was the blood daughter of a Langhorne, Pennsylvania, couple, Ernest and Regina Twigg. In 1988 the Twiggs' daughter Arlena had died of a heart defect. Blood tests led to the discovery that the two girls had been switched at birth in a small rural Florida hospital. The Twiggs were now determined to make their biological daughter part of their life.In the five years since then, Mays and the Twiggs have been battling for Kimberly's affections. In a settlement in 1989, the Twiggs agreed not to seek custody, in exchange for visitation rights. But Mays put a halt to them after only five visits, saying they were causing too much emotional turmoil. The Twiggs resumed their fight for custody, but lost in state court. Undaunted, they are now suing for visitation rights.
Fourteen years old now, Kimberly is determined to rid herself of the Twiggs forever. She has got her own attorney, who has filed to terminate the Twiggs' rights as her natural parents. Like Gregory K., the 12-year-old boy who successfully sued to be separated from his parents, she wants to "divorce" hers. She is represented by George Russ, Gregory K.'s lawyer. "She has lived in fear for five years of being taken from her father in the name of her so- called biological parents," argues Russ. "The problem is we've defined parenthood in terms of biology. That's a myth. Once a child is nurtured and cared for, you've got a family."
In June, Kimberly found a court that agreed. If a minor in Florida can choose abortion, ruled circuit court judge Stephen Dakan, "then surely a minor child has the right to assert a constitutional privilege to resist an attempt to remove her from the only home she has known . . . and declare her the child of strangers." In August, he will decide on visitation rights for the Twiggs. If all goes as planned, the legal maneuvering will be over by the time Kimberly starts the ninth grade. Says Kimberly: "I want my life back -- the way it was before the Twiggs got involved."
The Twiggs have moved down to Florida to be near Kimberly. Regina wrote an open poem to her: "Precious baby in our arms, we never shared your baby charms; denied the right to love us then, perhaps you'll love us someday when." "Parents are frequently hurt by their kids," says John Blakely, the Twiggs' attorney, "but it's not their job to back down."
Read more: http://content.time.com/time/magazin...#ixzz2imXcCCqb
http://articles.latimes.com/1994-03-..._kimberly-maysBlood versus love in US custody battles: Kimberly Mays divorces parents: Courts must decide whether the rights of biological parents should come before the happiness of their children. David Usborne reports
SUNDAY 01 AUGUST 1993
'THE DEFINITION of a dad to me is somebody that loves me, somebody who's been there for me. Biology doesn't make a family,' explains Kimberly Mays, a 14-year-old Florida girl who tomorrow will go to court to do what the infant Jessica DeBoer in Michigan cannot: say no to blood parents seeking her affections.Kimberly, like Jessica, was separated from her genetic mother and father almost directly after her birth. The legal and moral dilemmas involved in her attempt now to keep them away echo those in the Jessica affair. The origins of her situation, however, are different. She was not given away, but switched accidentally in the maternity ward for the baby of another couple.
The result of the 1978 mix-up, which the hospital concerned never explained, was that Kimberly went home with Robert Mays and his wife, who has since died of cancer, when she should have been with Ernest and Regina Twigg.
The Twiggs, in the meantime, took home the Mays' daughter and brought her up thinking she was their own. The error did not come to light until five years ago, when the girl who had become a Twigg, Arlena, was treated for a heart ailment from which she later died. Blood tests revealed that Arlena was not, in fact, the Twiggs' daughter. They reacted by going to the courts to seek custody of Kimberly.
Since then, Mr Mays and the Twiggs have been locked in legal battle. In 1989, a settlement was reached, giving the Twiggs visiting rights. After a few visits, Mr Mays severed the arrangement on the grounds that it was causing Kimberly too much emotional stress. Now, Kimberly is going to a judge in Sarasota, on Florida's west coast, to demand that she need never see the Twiggs again. Her action would amount to 'divorcing' her blood parents, in a virtual replay of last year's successful effort by a young boy, Gregory K, to divorce his parents after they left him in care, then tried to reclaim him. Kimberly's lawyer, George Russ, represented Gregory, and went on to adopt him himself.
'If the right to privacy and the pursuit of happiness have any meaning for children at all, it must be in the context of having a say in who your parents are,' said Mr Russ. Kimberly says she continues to consider Robert Mays, a roofing contractor, as her father, and wants nothing of the Twiggs. 'I want my life back, the way it was before the Twiggs got involved,' she said.
If Kimberly wins her case, a conflicting precedent would be set to that now being established in the DeBoer-Schmidt affair, and it would be arrived at, apparently, only because of the difference in ages of the offspring involved.
The fundamental question of what constitutes a parent in the US, nature or nurture, would remain as confused as ever.
Kimberly Mays Moves in With Birth Parents : Family: Teen-ager switched as newborn asks to stay with couple she told court she never wanted to see again. 'Personal difficulties' cited.
March 10, 1994|MIKE CLARY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
MIAMI — Kimberly Mays, the girl who was switched at birth and became the center of one of the nation's most celebrated custody fights, has moved in with her biological parents--the same couple she once told a court she never wanted to see again.
The surprise move follows weeks of turmoil in the life of the 15-year-old, who for the past several days had been living in a Sarasota YMCA shelter for troubled teens.
An attorney for the girl's court-appointed guardian confirmed Wednesday that Robert Mays, the only father Kimberly has ever known, approached Ernest and Regina Twigg about taking her into their home on a "temporary and informal" placement.
"Kimberly Mays has been experiencing certain unique personal difficulties in trying to deal with certain teen-age issues that face all teens," said attorney David L. Denkin in a statement.
"Mr. and Mrs. Mays will maintain parental control and open communications with Mr. and Mrs. Twigg. . . ," said Denkin. "It is hoped by both families that as a result of the two families' communication and joint efforts toward Kim's best interests that Kim will pass through this difficult time and once again be able to direct her efforts to her education and growth."
Kimberly has moved into the Twiggs' home in Sebring, Fla., and is expected to enter high school there immediately.
The move by the slight, blond teen-ager adds another remarkable chapter to a wholly improbable saga, and represents a complete turnabout for a girl who last August tearfully recounted for a judge and a national audience watching on cable TV how she begged Robert Mays, "Please, don't let them take me away."
The Twiggs, who have seven other children, have been fighting to win parental custody and visitation rights since 1988. That year a blood test following the death of their daughter Arlena revealed that she could not have been their child.
Detective work along trails of medical records eventually established that Arlena and Kimberly had been switched in December, 1978, in a Wauchula, Fla., hospital, where both were born three days apart.
The Twiggs sued for custody of Kimberly, even suggesting that Robert Mays and his late wife may have orchestrated the switch of infants after discovering that their daughter had a congenital defect that would eventually kill her.
Mays denied any role in the switch, and while conceding that Kimberly is not his biological child, argued that Kimberly should be free to stay with the father she had known from infancy. In a landmark ruling hailed by proponents of rights of minors, Circuit Judge Stephen Daken agreed.
"The evidence is clear that Robert Mays is her psychological parent and that the plaintiffs are seen by her as a constant source of danger to her father and to her family relationship," Daken wrote in his opinion.
Furthermore, the judge criticized the behavior of the Twiggs, saying their earlier efforts to forge a relationship with the girl had "created a chasm . . . that may never be bridged."
Both the Mays and Twigg families have become millionaires as a result of the infant switch and its emotional aftermath. In September, 1992, Robert and Kimberly Mays accepted $6.6 million in a settlement of their suit against the hospital. The Twiggs had earlier settled for $3.5 million.
Word that Kimberly Mays had left the Sarasota shelter and moved in with the Twiggs in Sebring set off a news media free-for-all in the Central Florida town of 8,700. Ernest Twigg wrestled briefly with a news photographer Wednesday afternoon as other family members screamed at reporters to stay away.
Anticipating a continuing media onslaught, however, the Highlands County Sheriff's Department designated as a staging area a field across from the high school.
"It's sad that she got gypped out of life like that," Sebring High student Shannon Brown told one reporter. "But I'm glad she's coming here."
Researcher Anna Virtue contributed to this story.
I was 8 when I found I'd been handed to the wrong parents at birth .. the custody battle tore me apart; SAYS KIMBERLY MAYS, WHOSE TRAGIC STORY SHOCKED THE WORLD.
A FREEZING chill ran down Kimberly Mays's spine. The unthinkable had happened again... two innocent babies had been swapped at birth in a US hospital.
The sad, shocking news coming from the radio in her Florida home was to echo round the world before the day was out.
Instinctively, Kimberly ran to check on her one-year-old son, Devon. He was there, safe and sound. She offered a silent prayer of gratitude.
Her thoughts moved to her husband. That, too, comforted her.
"Thank God I have a husband and son," she said to herself. "They belong to me. And I belong to them..."
But she stays transfixed by that news bulletin. At 19, a painfully young wife and mother, she is still haunted by memories of the day that she, too, discovered that she was no longer the person, the daughter, she believed herself to be.
In the Eighties, Kimberly Mays's case gripped world sympathy, echoing the reaction to this week's story of three-year-olds Callie Marie Johnson and Rebecca Chittum.
She was eight when she learnt that "dad" Robert Mays was not her real father. That Barbara Mays, who died of cancer a few months earlier, was not her "mommy".
And so began a tragic saga which tore apart one family, damaged another and left Kimberly labelled "The Love-Tug Tearaway".
All those memories jostle now as, during an exclusive interview with The Mirror, she tries to point up the lessons of her own heartbreak.
Lessons she fervently hopes will be recognised by the families at the crying heart of this latest tragedy.
She is sitting calmly in her four-bedroomed home near Disneyworld, where her husband Jeremy Weeks works as a security guard.
She says she didn't marry so young, or get pregnant, to compensate for the lack stability in her own childhood.
BUT then she thinks of her son's birth and the insecurity she felt. She was so haunted by her own experience she wouldn't let him leave her side.
"I had him beside me all the time in hospital. I questioned every hospital worker who came into the room.
"I wanted to know who they were, why they were there, what they were doing."
She feels a desperate need to show that she loves her child. She says she loves her husband. Then, quietly, she adds: "But we've got our problems, and I don't think he loves me at times.
"It's what I felt as a child - that nobody could love me. It's a hard feeling to be rid of."
Her voice drops to a whisper: "I've had problems. I had to get over them.
"I've accomplished a lot. We have the house. We own our car. I work. We work hard for our family."
She remembers someone once saying, "Kimberly, you'll never amount to anything". And her eyes gleam: "Well, look at me now. I have a beautiful child.
"I've got my own life. I'd put the past on the back-burner. But then I heard the news about the other girls...."
She pauses, takes a few deep breaths and shakes her head slowly.
"I thought, how can it happen again? Hospitals are supposed to take precautions. How are those kids going to deal with it?
"When and how do you tell them their mommy is not their mommy? I feel bad - for them and for their parents."
But this time at least it seems that sense is winning out. The families of the girls have pledged to avoid traumatic legal action and hope instead to resolve the potential conflicts over custody by themselves.
"At least these families are trying to do things the right way. It's the best thing they can do - have the girls over, stay weekends, interact with each other's family. They should stay on the road they're on.
"If they feel like contacting me for anything, they can. They will have lots of questions they want answered.
"I'd love to meet them to tell them they're doing a good job. And to tell them that court should be a last resort." Kimberly fastens on something Mrs Johnson, Callie Marie's supposed mother said a few days ago.
That her doors are always open if her real daughter needs her.
"That's very, very special," Kimberly whispers, "because Regina, my natural mum, wasn't like that."
And so the bitterness surfaces. The pain floods back. Of separation. Of crises of identity. Of love given and taken away.
Kimberly's thoughts move to Regina and Ernest Twigg, the Christian-strong couple who lived nearby when she first heard the news of her true birthright.
"Dad Mays told me about them. He said they'd had a little girl called Arlena and she'd died. I felt really sorry for them, but I didn't understand what it had to do with me.
"When Dad told me, I didn't believe it. I'd always thought I looked like Dad Mays. I thought I had his characteristics."
It was the Twiggs who first discovered the truth when they had Arlena's blood tested for her heart condition.
The couple already had several healthy kids. With Arlena gone, they wanted back their real child.
Kimberly, who works in a clothes shop, recalls what followed all too well.
"I had a blood test. Dad Mays looked worried when the result came through. He said: 'I'll always love you. You're my daughter... to me'.
"It was really hard for dad. It must have been hard for the Twiggs, too. They'd raised Arlena for eight years before she died."
And there was Kimberly. Confused, devastated. And maybe just a little bit excited about having more parents in her life.
She hoped she could embrace her real mum and dad, that they would become an extension of the life she had with Robert and his new wife Cindy.
She was 10 when she met the Twiggs for the first time. "It was nice. I felt they were friends," she says. "And it was really neat having brothers and sisters. But then the Twiggs made a crucial mistake..."
Instead of setting up an amicable visiting schedule between the two couples, Regina and Ernest pursued full custody through the courts.
There was fighting and feuding. Everyone torn every which way. And the geeky kid in the middle got interviewed and written about in the newspapers, andbullied at school by kids jealous of her instant fame.
Kimberly turned to Dad Mays for help. But this solid man, this man who fixed roofs as a job, her "superman", couldn't protect her. So Kimberly ran away, not once but several times.
Then, in 1993, when she was 14, there came a discovery almost as shattering as the first.
Kimberly learnt that the hospital switch hadn't been an accident.
A dying nurse revealed that a doctor at Wachula Memorial, the local hospital near Tampa, decided to play God, by giving healthy Kimberly to the childless Mays and tragic Arlena to the Twiggs.
Four years ago, they were awarded a pounds 4.5 million settlement from the hospital.
Kimberly got pounds 1.3 million in her own right, to be paid in instalments until her 65th birthday. The money is welcome. But it can never make up for the intervening years when she bounced to and fro between the two families, falsely denouncing Dad Mays as a child abuser one moment, renouncing her natural parents the next.
She says it was her way of asserting herself, of reminding the warring adults she wasn't a pawn.
Eventually, she went to live with the Twiggs in a pink bedroom all her own.
Regina tried desperately to make up for missed time. Kimberly admits "having loving feelings" for her.
But, in the end, even a marriage as solid as Regina and Ernest's foundered amid the turmoil.
There can be little doubt Kimberly drove them apart.
So she returned to Dad Mays. And there she stayed until the time came to be a wife and mommy herself.
Cuddling Devon on her lap, she does not seem devious, or manipulative, or all the other words she has been called in the past. She just seems nervous and messed up and trying hard as hell to live up to being Mrs Weeks.
SHE hasn't seen her natural parents in months. She says Regina no longer wants to have anything to do with her.
Kimberly believes she was forced into a role of being the bad one, the delinquent, the one who ran away.
She admits that she loses her temper easily, screaming at her husband for nothing.
Rage at her mum. Rage at her husband. Then she shrugs: "I know I need counselling." And then she looks away...
Of course Kimberly Mays-Weeks is a troubled woman.
But how much easier could it have been for her if the adults around her had behaved like the best of parents - selflessly?
If they'd behaved as the families in the midst of this week's heartbreak have promised to do.
In the interests of the child. With dignity and sense in the eye of a raging, emotional storm.
COPYRIGHT 1998 MGN LTD
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1998 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.
http://news.google.com/newspapers?ni...g=4356,5376422Kimberly Mays Gets Son Back
April 7, 2000|By DEBBIE SALAMONE WICKHAM The Orlando Sentinel
ORLANDO — Florida's famous switched-at-birth child -- now a grown-up and mom -- was reunited with her son Thursday after a yearlong dispute with state child-protection workers.
Kimberly Mays Weeks and her husband, Jeremy, have cooperated with the state Department of Children and Families to win back full custody of 2-year-old Devin.
"I'm excited," Kimberly Weeks, 21, said after the hearing before Circuit Judge Janet Thorpe in Orlando "I love my son very much."
Devin was taken from his parents and put into state custody a year ago after calls to the state's child abuse and neglect hotline.
The mother's lawyer, Diana Tennis, stressed that the allegations -- still confidential -- did not center on child abuse but on an unstable home environment stemming from her client's marital and financial problems.
Although the Weekses appeared on the brink of divorce last summer, they were hopeful on Thursday that their family will succeed. The couple is required to undergo marital counseling and have fixed up their west Orange County home. Kimberly Weeks also has been in individual therapy.
"We both need to face our issues with the counselor," she said. "We need to grow up in our marriage. We're very immature."
The young mother worries that the custody turmoil will affect her son in much the same way her birth troubles burdened her.
Weeks gained national attention when it was discovered in 1988 that she had been switched at birth with another infant at a Wauchula hospital. After the other girl, Arlena Twigg, died of heart disease, tests showed she was not the biological daughter of Regina and Ernest Twigg.
The Twiggs fought a five-year custody battle with the man who had been raising Kimberly, Robert Mays. After a judge ruled the Twiggs had no legal rights to act as her parents, Kimberly ran away from Mays and moved in with them. But she ran away from the Twiggs several times.
Kimberly Mays married Jeremy Weeks, a security guard and aspiring actor, in February 1997; Devin was born later that year. She said family disputes prompted relatives to call child-care workers, who took her son into state custody in April 1999.
She said her son went through four foster homes. Two months ago, he went to live with Jeremy Weeks' mother and stepfather in the Orlando area. Jeremy Weeks, 22, and his stepfather now share custody of the boy, but Tennis and the judge expect custody will be returned to the boy's parents at another court hearing next month.
State officials opposed returning the child to the couple on Thursday, saying beer was found in the mother's refrigerator and she had not been to counseling recently. But the Weekses are of legal drinking age and Kimberly Weeks explained that she missed some counseling to coordinate home repairs.
She said she has learned to be a better mother. "I've learned to mind my p's and q's, control my anger toward my child."
Sorry I cannot copy the text of that one because it is a picture of a newspaper article, but it is a nurse claiming the babies were switched deliberately - but no reason given as to why.
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