A mother performed a DNA test three years after the birth of her fourth child, and the results flipped her life upside down — the girl she raised as her own had been switched at birth.
But the question remained. Where was her biological child?
Genetic testing procedures such as ancestry kits and DNA tests have assisted people in discovering long-lost ancestors and blood links. Often, the results of these blood tests are astounding, bringing strangers together or separating relatives.
A woman from Richmond, Virginia, was in huge turmoil and thought that taking a diagnostic test might help. Surprisingly, the events that followed led her to life-changing, eye-opening truths.
Paula Johnson gave birth to a baby girl, Callie, on June 29, 1995, at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, Virginia. She was overjoyed to have a daughter after three sons.
They were a happy family but it wouldn’t last for too long.
Johnson and her partner had a falling out three years after Callie was born. One thing led to another, and Johnson eventually petitioned for full child custody and child support.
But what occurred next took her completely by surprise.
In court, Johnson’s partner argued that Callie was not his child. She took the paternity test to prove him incorrect, and the results stunned her.
Her partner was correct, and Callie was not his daughter. But that wasn’t the only shocking thing about it.
The DNA test results showed that Callie wasn’t Johnson’s biological daughter either. The mother was taken aback and determined to delve deeper.
She then hired an attorney and went to the hospital where Callie was born. Reaching there she demanded additional DNA testing.
The results were conclusive, confirming Johnson’s worst fears: she was not Callie’s biological mother. This was unbelievable. But they had concrete proof now. There was no denying it.
The question now was, who was her biological child, and how did Callie end up with her?
Johnson found that a day after she gave birth in June 1995, Kevin Chittum, 18, and his 16-year-old fiancée Whitney Rogers received their baby girl, Rebecca, in the same maternity unit.
There was a terrible mix-up at the hospital when Callie and Rebecca were delivered, and the infants were accidentally switched and sent home with the incorrect moms. Callie’s biological parents were revealed to be Chittum and Rogers.
Johnson stood there seeing her entire life fall in front of her, wondering how the other couple would react to the baby girls being exchanged at birth.
But something awful happened before the doctors could tell Chittum and Rogers the life-changing news.
The couple died as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident. Chittum and Rogers died tragically, never realising that the daughter they raised as their own was not their own kid.
Johnson decided to tell Callie everything. ”I’ve always taught her from day one they are her parents, you know. She was born in Whitney’s belly, and she was born in my heart,” recounted Johnson.
Following the deaths of Rogers and Chittum, Johnson attempted to take legal custody of her biological daughter, Rebecca, in 1999.
However, the parents of the deceased couple fought back, resulting in a years-long family conflict.
The court conflict went on for years. The court eventually decided that the girls will remain with the relatives who raised them.
Both families were granted visitation rights, but there was more arguing and dispute over time.
Johnson also filed a $31 million lawsuit against the University of Virginia Medical Center, which was settled for $1.25 million.
Johnson claimed in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2001 that she still felt like a mother to Callie and considered Rebecca as her daughter.
She admitted that a part of her was upset about the baby swap because it strained relations between the two families. Despite their hardship, Callie and Rebecca tried their hardest to get along and act like sisters, according to Johnson.
The hospital personnel was contacted by a local television programme, but they declined to respond. One professional, on the other hand, stated that the ironic episode had inspired reforms in maternity wards.
Callie stated that she intends to publish a book on her life. Johnson said that she was angry with the hospital for causing havoc in her life and that she was sad that Chittum and Rogers never got to see their own daughter.
These are the kinds of stories that prove how life-changing DNA test results can be and how they can change people’s lives.