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Real-life switched-at-birth story has a Hollywood ending

Monica Beyer is a mom of four and has been writing professionally since 2000, when her first book, Baby Talk, was published. Her main area of interest is attachment parenting and all that goes with it, including breastfeeding, co-sleepin...

Baby switched at birth is home thanks to mom who trusted her gut

It's the stuff of movies or ABC Family TV shows, but finding out their baby was "switched at birth" is very real for one set of new parents.

Mercedes Casanellas, who is El Salvadoran, and her British-born, U.S.-based husband, Richard Cushworth, welcomed their son five weeks early at a hospital in her home country, but they soon realized something was "off" with the baby. Cushworth, who runs an evangelical Christian mission in El Salvador, was out of the country during their baby's birth, but Casanellas began to grow suspicious shortly after the baby was born, because he looked a little darker than he had been the day before. She took her infant home, breastfed him and took care of him, but her suspicions increased. Not only was the baby darker than he was at birth, but he didn't really resemble either Mom or Dad, and relatives began questioning whether he was really their baby.

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The couple eventually had DNA tests conducted on their small family, and it was discovered he was indeed not their biological child. They feared their son had been switched out purposely at the delivering hospital (and the doctor who delivered has been investigated for possible baby trafficking), but a round of additional tests that were done on the other mothers who had male babies that day revealed it was likely an honest mistake — a devastating one, to be sure, but there was likely no malicious intent.

Happily, Cushworth and Casanellas were reunited with their lost boy and returned the baby they'd been raising back to his own biological mother and father.

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Can we give a big "hell yeah" to this mom and dad for following their instincts? Gut feelings, especially if you're a parent, are usually best not ignored, and even if a different truth or reality isn't dug up, you will at least know all avenues were explored. For example, so many parents have pressed on, because even though a child was deemed fine by a doctor, he really had a health issue that needed to be treated.

And while it's easy to just accept things the way they are, it takes a lot of motivation and bravery to speak up when something just doesn't seem right. These parents were prepared to love the baby they brought home if his biological parents couldn't be located, but they also knew they had to at least try to find their own infant if it was possible.

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In the U.S., infants being switched at birth is pretty unlikely, as hospitals have stringent policies in place, and both the mom and baby get slapped with matching hospital bracelets once the child has arrived. That said, it's still a situation where you can imagine how this mom and dad felt when they realized their baby had been switched at birth. Fortunately there was no child trafficking going on, and they were able to be reunited with their child, but those moments when they had to track down the other family had to be extremely stressful.

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