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Switched At Birth: Every Mother And Child's Worst Nightmare

20/05/2009 10:21 | Updated 22 May 2015

What would you do if you suspected your new born baby had been swapped for another? It's hard to believe you wouldn't notice, and whenever you hear these stories, the mother always insists the child isn't hers, only to be ignored.

Sure enough, that's exactly what happened to Marjorie Angell back in 1953. The baby returned to her after a bath was not DeAnn, the girl she'd given birth to. She complained, but no one would listen.

Fast-forward to 2008, 55 years later. An Oregon man, Bobby Reed, got a phone call from an 86-year-old woman in a nursing home. The woman knew Reed's mother and once lived next door to Marjorie Angell. And she had an amazing story to tell. "She said she had something she had to get off her chest," Reed tells the East Oregonian.

When Reed visited the woman, she told him the story of Marjorie Angell's suspicions, then showed Reed a picture. Reed was astonished to find out that the child in the picture, who looked exactly like his sister Kay Rene Reed, was actually DeAnn Angell's sister. "Kay Rene is not a Reed," the woman told Reed. "DeAnn is a Reed." The women were switched at birth.

Reed was afraid to approach Kay Rene, so he told his older sisters instead. Eventually, both woman submitted DNA to be compared with their siblings (both sets of parents are now deceased), and the results proved the rumours to be true. Kay Rene Reed was actually an Angell, DeAnn Angell was a Reed.

DeAnn, for one, wasn't surprised. "After seeing Kay Rene, I went home and told my husband, I don't know why she's doing the DNA testing," says DeAnn. "I was shocked -- she looked just like my sister's twin." Despite this, DeAnn says that after getting the results, she sat in her car and cried.

Both women have declined counselling, which was offered by the hospital where they were born. Instead, they're moving ahead and focusing on the lives they have already built, while getting to know their new family members.

Do you think that the elderly woman should have shared her story sooner? Or not shared it at all? If someone in your family had been switched at birth, would you want to know the truth?

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