MOSCOW – Two Russian families are suing a local maternity hospital after discovering they were given the wrong babies 12 years ago and each had raised the other's daughter, the BBC reported Monday.
However, neither child wants to leave her home and the only parents each has ever known.
The network reported the truth about the girls' identities only emerged after the ex-husband of one mother refused to pay support for his daughter because she looked nothing like him.
The case went to court in the Ural Mountains town of Kopeisk, DNA tests were ordered, and the results showed the child was not related to the parents.
"We did two DNA tests," Yuliya Belyaeva told the BBC. "Both tests showed that neither my ex-husband nor I were Irina's biological parents."
"The judge couldn't believe it. She said she'd only seen cases like this on TV and didn't know what to advise us."
Belyaeva recalled that when she gave birth to her daughter in December 1998, another woman had been in labor in the same ward.
A search for that woman turned her up across town -- along with her daughter.
"It was true," Belyaeva said. "Their daughter, Anya, was blond and looked just like me and my ex-husband. And our daughter was dark-skinned and had dark hair and looked like the other father. He's a Tajik, and she looked just like him."
"Suddenly my whole world turned upside down and inside out."
But neither child wants to leave home.
"Irina keeps saying to me, 'Mum, please don't give me away!'" Belyaeva told the network. "I comfort her by saying, 'I would never do anything against your wishes. Nothing has changed. I'm still your mother.'
"As for Anya, my biological daughter, she also says she wants to remain with the parents she knows. She will just visit from time to time."
Both families are now suing the hospital for $155, 300.