The plot of ABC Family sitcom’s “Switched At Birth,” -- two teenage girls who discover they were accidentally swapped as newborns in the hospital -– is playing out in real life in Russia.
When Yuliya and Yuri Belyaeva were getting divorced, Yuri refused to pay child support. He didn’t believe his daughter Irina -– who looked nothing like him -– was his child. A judge ordered a DNA test to find out, and the results showed Irina wasn’t either of theirs biologically.
At that point, Yuliya remembered that on the day she gave birth in December 1998, there was another woman in labor at the same time, BBC News reports. And, she realized there must have been a horrible mistake. After the DNA test, it turned out the hospital switched the two babies’ name tags.
Police located the other mother across town in Russia's Chelyabinsk region, the Telegraph reports. As soon as Belyaeva saw the other child, she knew she was her biological daughter. She tells BBC:
"Their daughter, Anya, was blond and looked just like me and my ex-husband. And our daughter was dark-skinned and had dark hair and looked like the other father. He's a Tajik, and she looked just like him."
Both families now plan to sue the hospital for 5m roubles (£101,000: $158,300) in damages. But because it’s been so long since the mix-up, they can’t press charges against any individual staff members who were involved.
Anya and Irina both want to continue to be raised by the parents they know and love.
“Irina keeps saying to me: ‘Mum, please don't give me away!’ I comfort her by saying: 'I would never do anything against your wishes. Nothing has changed. I'm still your mother,' says Belyaeva. ‘As for Anya, my biological daughter, she also says she wants to remain with the parents she knows. She will just visit from time to time.’"