She was already struggling to provide for herself and her children when she got the worst news of her life.
After taking a DNA test, the doctor informed her that her children weren’t biologically hers. But how was this possible?
Lydia had her first child when she was just 21 years old. She and her boyfriend split up before she found out she was pregnant. She was young and wasn’t prepared for motherhood.
Even though Lydia and her boyfriend weren’t together anymore, they had a second child almost a year later. But, then, life took a turn for the worse.
Lydia once again found herself alone after giving birth to their second child. She didn’t have a job to provide for her babies, and she desperately needed help.
After thinking it through, Lydia decided to apply for welfare benefits. Little did she know what she was in for…
To receive the welfare benefits, Lydia needed to get DNA tests to prove that Jamie was the father of their two children.
Then, a few months later, she received the call that would turn her life upside down.
An Unexpected Call
She got a call from the prosecutor’s office regarding her DNA test results. “He called me, and I said, ‘Well, can’t you give me the results over the phone?” Lydia recalls.
“He goes: ‘You really need to come up to the office.’ So that’s when I went up to the office, I went into the back room, and it was just him and a lady. They sat there and just stared at me now.”
“You’re Not The Mother”
“He goes, ‘Well, he’s 99% the father.” Then, the prosecutor looked and her and said: “There is absolutely no way that you are the mother.”
At first, Lydia thought that the prosecutor was joking. However, he was taking the matters very seriously.
They Were Serious
“They were serious! I could just see the seriousness in their faces. I mean, they’re just staring me down!” she recalls.
But how was this even possible?
The prosecutor was bombarding her with questions: “Are you Lydia Fairchild? Who are you really? Where did you get these kids from?”
“Did your sister have these children, and you are using them to commit welfare fraud?”
Not A Match
“They just kept on drilling me,” Lydia recalls. Her DNA test results just didn’t make any sense. According to the prosecutor, there was a 1 in a billion chance that she was the mother of her two children.
Lydia was tested three separate times, and each time, the test proved that she had zero matches with both of the kids.
Lydia was hysterical. She called her mother and broke the news.
“Lydia called me up, and she was hysterically crying. When she said that she got the test back and it said that she wasn’t the mother, I just started laughing.”
Her Mother’s Reaction
“I couldn’t understand why she was crying, and I said that is so stupid that they’ve got to do it again she said, ‘mom, they’ve done it three times, and it’s not working,” she continued.
She couldn’t believe that Jamie was the father of both of the kids and her daughter wasn’t.
If a woman named Karen Keegan hadn’t reached out to the prosecutors on time, Lydia would have been imprisoned.
Karen had a rare genetic disorder and an illness that required her to receive a new kidney.
The Guinea Pig
When she first reached out, her three children, who were already grown up, were tested, but none of them matched her DNA.
Karen was working with a team of scientific investigators, and she was willing to be the guinea pig for their research. She would be the only hope in Lydia’s world.
No one knew exactly what to research until one of Karen’s colleagues sent a letter to the researchers. He pointed out that what they were studying was very rare.
There were only 40 cases worldwide. So, was there a chance that Karen was a chimera?
Chimerism is a very rare condition where humans have two DNA profiles instead of just one.
A person with this condition has two sets of DNA, each with the genetic code to make a separate human being. Could Karen really be a chimera? It sounded impossible at the time as most of the studied cases reported physical abnormalities, and Karen looked completely normal.
In the meantime, Lydia was going through a difficult time, trying to prove to the court that she was the biological mother of her two children and Jamie was the father.
She felt alone and didn’t know what to do. Everyone thought she was a liar.
Not A Chance
Lydia contacted dozens of lawyers, but not a single one of them agreed to take her case.
All of them told her the same thing: “DNA is foolproof. There is no way to win your case.” As a result, the trial went very badly for her.
The Judge’s Decision
The judge concluded that she wasn’t the biological mother of her two children based on all the evidence. The prosecutors were planning to appoint guardians for each child while the investigations continued.
Jamie was in complete shock as he stood beside his ex-girlfriend. “I knew they’d be taken away because they said they were already setting up guardian parents to do just that,” he recalls.
“I just didn’t understand. It’s not like the kids were in danger, and you know she’s a good mom. I just felt like we’re just one old scam,” he continued.
However, at one point, the judge was torn. Lydia was very determined to keep the children, which was unusual for someone who was ‘trying to work the system’ for benefits. So, he decided to go with a very strange action.
Lydia was pregnant with her third child during the investigation, and the judge decided to use the birth of her third baby as an experiment.
“He ordered that somebody be there to witness the birth and to take blood from baby and me right then and there,” Jamie recalls. “We’ll go from there.”
Everyone Was Waiting
Everyone couldn’t wait to see what the results would show this time. Was Lydia lying? Or was she really the biological mother of her children?
When the baby was born, the doctors immediately took the blood from them both. Lydia had to wait two weeks to get the results.
“I’ll always remember day by day what I went through for those two years. It will never leave me! It’s like a nightmare,” she recalls.
“After giving birth, you bring your newborn home you are just happy. I went home, still scared because it was still going on. Still scared that they can come any minute and take my kids.”
Jamie was also terrified. “I wondered what the courts would do if he were hers, then the courts would assume we were lying about the whole thing, so it was kind of like, ‘okay, let’s hope these tests come back negative.”
But when the results finally came back, they were shocked.
No Matching DNA
There was no matching DNA between the newborn and Lydia.
But just when Lydia thought she would finally prove her innocence, a lawyer called her, saying he would take on her case.
The prosecutor had different ideas going through his mind: from Lydia being involved in criminal behavior, being a surrogate mother, to even her being a child kidnapper.
They just couldn’t believe the real scientific evidence in this case.
Chimera is a single organism that’s made up of cells from at least two different people. As a result, it contains two sets of DNA, with the code to make two separate organisms.
But how can chimeras happen naturally in people?
A chimera can happen naturally when a twin fetus absorbs its twin.
This can happen with fraternal twins if one embryo dies early in the pregnancy. Some of its cells will be absorbed by the other twin.
The remaining fetus in the womb will have two sets of cells, its twin’s and its own original set.
Karen was declared a chimera during the research, and it opened doors for the scientists to carry out testing on Lydia. Everything these both women had gone through finally had a scientific explanation for it.
After the testing was carried out on Lydia, the judge proclaimed that she was the biological mother of three of her children.
Lydia is just happy this is all over now.