Society

Couple Whose Baby Was Swapped At Birth Return To US

| by Michael Doherty
The reunited Cushworth familyThe reunited Cushworth family

A couple whose baby was switched at birth with another baby in El Salvador have been reunited with their child and have gotten the OK to return home to the U.S. with him.

Richard Cushworth and Mercedes Casanellas were suspicious when they noticed the baby they left the hospital with seemed to have darker skin and hair than the baby Casanellas gave birth to, reports the Daily Mail. But they raised the child, who they named Jacob, for four months as if he was their own.

"I just accepted it as my child. Now I look back at the pictures around the time we came to Dallas when he was 3 months old, and I'm shocked that I never suspected, because you can see that it's just obviously not my child if you look at some of the pictures," Cushworth, 41, who grew up in the U.K., told the BBC.

A few months into raising Jacob, after they had taken him back to their home in Dallas, the couple decided to get a DNA test to determine whether Casanellas was the mother. The results shocked them: Casanellas was found to have a 0 percent chance of being Jacob's mother.

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"I think we were in love with the baby. Even when I did the DNA tests, I thought I was betraying him. That was the feeling I had -- I'm betraying my son but I cannot live with this," said Casanellas, 39, who is originally from El Salvador.

The couple feared the baby Casanellas gave birth to may have been sold to human traffickers. They went on Salvadoran TV to try to find their son.

After other recent mothers were asked to take DNA tests to determine whether their babies belonged to Cushworth and Casanellas, investigators finally found the couple's son, who was being raised by another family. The two families met in September 2015 to return the babies to their rightful parents, both families "[weeping] their hearts out."

In the months that followed, Cushworth and Casanellas struggled to get a birth certificate for the boy, whom they named Moses, after the prophet who had also been missing for three months, so they could return to the U.S. as a family. The couple says the process nearly bankrupted them, but that they will finally be allowed to return home with Moses.

"The pain, the thought that the baby I had been nursing, taking care of, loving, that he was not mine," reflected Casanellas on the swap, which the hospital has still not issued an explanation for.

Source: Daily Mail, BBC / Photo credit: Cushworth family via BBC

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