A mother was shocked to learn her daughter was not actually hers, and that her baby was accidentally switched at birth.
Yulia Belyaeva married her husband, Alexei, when she was 18 years old and soon became pregnant. She was rushed to hospital to give birth to her daughter and placed in the save delivery room with another young woman having her first baby, reports Little Things.
Belyaeva’s daughter was born around 1:30 a.m. on Dec. 17, 1998 -- just 15 minutes after the other woman gave birth to her daughter. Belyaeva’s daughter was taken away by hospital staff and she got some much-needed rest.
“In the morning, it was about 8.30, I was in much better state. I slept, and finally I felt that overwhelming happiness and relief that my baby was born, and she was fine, and the doctor said she was beautiful. I waited to see her and look at her. They brought the babies all completely wrapped up,” she told The Siberian Times.
“They were literally like dolls -- all you could see were the eyes and eyebrows, cheeks, nose and mouth. The babies were given to us every three or fours hours for 20 minutes or half an hour, and then nurses took them away to clean them up, change them. We were not allowed to do it ourselves.”
Belyaeva said it was only after she and her husband returned home six days later that they were able to really spend time with their daughter. Family life seemed to be going well, but the woman said she began realizing things about her husband that were troubling.
“We started life as a new family. I realized that my dear husband was a great lover and nice looking man, but he wasn't all that good as a father. He left quite a lot of the baby care to me. We named our daughter Irina,” she said. “When she was 3 years old, her father got drunk at friend's party. He got into a fight. He injured another man, was detained, arrested and jailed for several years.”
Belyaeva was raising Irina on her own, but would try and visit her husband in prison often. He was never happy to see them, and she eventually confronted him about it.
“I don't believe that Irina is my daughter. You must have cheated on me! Her hair is too dark!” he told her.
After Alexei was released from prison, the couple divorced and he continued to insist he wasn’t Irina’s father. After refusing to pay alimony, Alexei was taken to court by his ex-wife. It was there that he demanded a DNA test before he agreed to pay anything.
“By then, I was married again and expecting another child. My second husband Maxim kept telling me to stop demanding the money. But I felt really badly treated. I knew I didn't cheat on my husband. I felt humiliated by him, and couldn't leave it like this,” Belyaeva said.
After two rounds of tests were completed, the judge called both parents in without their daughter, and revealed to them that neither was the girl’s biological parent. The devastated mother broke down in tears.
“The judge told me to stop crying. Tears won't help anything -- you've got to find your real daughter,” she said.
“When my brain started functioning again, I forced myself to go back to the day when Ira [Irina] was born. That girl, who gave birth next to me... it could only be her child who they gave me by mistake. As I sat there, my ex-husband phoned the judge if asked her again if the results were real and were not some mistake. Then he called me and apologized for everything -- for mistrusting me, for betraying me and our daughter, and for not being with us.”
The distraught mother insisted the courts use an investigator, who eventually tracked down her daughter’s real father. She learned that the mother was neglectful and that the two were divorced, but the father was not willing to see Belyaeva or his real daughter.
Days later, Irina’s biological father, Naimat Iskanderov, had a change of heart and met with Belyaeva. He apologized for not wanting to see her and thanked her for raising his daughter. Balyaeva’s real daughter was named Anna, and had been raised by Iskanderov for her entire life.
“We both exchanged the family albums, and for the next half an hour, maybe more, we were sitting and openly crying,” she said. “Then we calmed down a bit, and I invited him to our place so that he could see Irina. He rushed out to the shop, and as we walked back home he kept asking me about my family.”
When Iskanderov finally met his real daughter, there was no question -- she looked exactly like him. The next day, Belyaeva met her real daughter.
In the end, both girls were told of the mixups and decided that they wanted to stay with the families who raised them. Belyaeva and her daughter’s real father ultimately sued the hospital where the girls were born and each family settled for $100,000.