switched at birth

Learning You Were Switched at Birth

The emergence of in-home DNA tests has certainly changed many lives. For some people, these easy-to-execute DNA tests provide links to lost relatives, or valuable information about congenital issues they may be curious about. For most, finding out they have a cousin they didn’t know about is pretty exciting! Some people even learn they’re related to someone famous. While many of the revelations can be fun and exciting, others can be quite serious and even devastating.  Imagine learning you had been switched at birth. Talk about scary and confusing! Once you wrapped your head around the idea that you were indeed, switched at birth, you might start considering next steps. 

What to do if you were switched at birth?

With sites like Ancestry.com offering you their in-home DNA kits, the temptation to learn more about your lineage is very real. Wanting to know where you came from is a normal feeling. With some sites offering access to their data,  the more people that utilize the service, the more defined the results are. If you’ve taken an in-home DNA test and you’ve learned any startling news about your heritage, you have some options. 

The decision about whether to contact a biological family member can be difficult. If you choose to reach out, Ancestry.com and 23andMe.com can facilitate  the interaction. Of course, you always have the option not to share your information, but will have to do so in order to connect with potential relatives. These sites also provide access to employees that have spent months training to help people overcome alarming DNA test results emotionally.

In some instances, individuals may decide not to pursue seeking out a biological family. If you decide to connect and your relationship with your biological family is a positive one, you might eventually want to work towards amending your birth certificate legally . In some cases, especially when minors and small children are involved, learning that they were switched at birth can lead to more complicated matters including custody actions.

It’s true, being switched at birth is an incredibly rare occurrence with only 20 babies a year actually being  switched at the hospital resulting in situations where they actually go home with the wrong family. Hospitals and birth centers have taken great precautions to mitigate any confusion. ID bracelets, even foot prints and electronic bracelets are used to avoid newborn mix ups. Unfortunately, it does still happen on occasion. If you learn that your DNA doesn’t match that of your parents and don’t have access to any other identifying information, a great place to start is a certified copy of your birth certificate. This should give you pertinent information regarding the hospital you were born at. From there, as an adult, you can make inquiries at the vital records office in that county, as well as at the actual hospital.

If you’re like some people, you won’t have the option of contacting your biological family. If that’s the case, you may need to invest in research resources and seek legal counsel to gain access to records that can help you on your genealogical journey. We understand that this news can be a shock, so it’s important to also seek support and ensure you care for yourself. No matter what unexpected news you hear, we hope the results are positive!


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