‘Babies’ switched at birth in Hanoi find their parents after over 40 years

By Staff reporters   October 23, 2017 | 08:33 pm PT
‘Babies’ switched at birth in Hanoi find their parents after over 40 years
Nguyen Thi Mai Hanh (L) with her daughter Ta Thi Thu Trang (C) and Trang's daughter. A DNA test in 2015 confirmed Hanh's concern that nurses had given Trang to her by mistake. Photo by VnExpress
‘I’ve found the daughter I did not get to cuddle for so long.’

A family in Hanoi has been put back together after their daughter was switched at birth over four decades ago. 

They have tracked down the biological parents of the daughter they were mistakenly given, and they have found their real daughter.

The reunion took place a year ago but the family only revealed the story this week due to personal reasons.

Nguyen Thi Mai Hanh, the woman who was given the wrong baby girl at an obstetrics center in Hanoi 43 years ago, said that she is very happy.

“I’ve found the daughter I did not get to cuddle for so long,” she told VTCNews.

Hanh said she and her daughter cried a lot and could not say a thing when they first met.

“Now both of our daughters have two families,” she said, referring to the baby girl they took home all those years ago and raised as their own.

Hanh is the mother of four children.

After she gave birth to her third on October 10, 1974, she was weak and so the nurses let her rest.

When a nurse came with a baby 12 hours later, she immediately feared there had been a mistake because the baby had the number 32 written on its feet while her baby’s number was 33.

The nurse explained that the number had been blurred when the baby was being bathed, and that's why it looked like a 32.

Since all the other babies born on that day had left the center, she had to accept baby number 32.

“The nurses insisted the baby was mine, but in my heart, I knew they were wrong.

“My mother’s instinct told me that my baby was somewhere else,” Hanh told Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper.

She and her husband returned to the center three days later hoping someone would show up wanting to exchange babies, but to no avail.

The couple named the baby Ta Thi Thu Trang, and chose not to share their concerns with anyone.

Hanh raised Trang amid whispers that she was the result of a love affair as she grew up differently from her other children, both in appearance and mannerisms.

But their urge to shield Trang from public criticism somehow made them love her even more than their other children, she said.

Her husband, who died 13 years ago, had told her to let it go because their family was happy regardless.

But eventually she decided she needed to know the truth.

She went to a DNA testing center in Hanoi in 2015 and the results confirmed her suspicions. She told Trang on her 41st birthday on October 10, 2015.

Trang cried for three days.

She said she was her parents’ favorite child and loved by her brother and sisters.

“Even in my wildest dreams, I never thought I was not from their blood,” she said.

But after finding out the truth, Trang and Hanh decided to start searching for their long-lost family members together.

They shared the story on Facebook and it was picked up by various media outlets and received widespread coverage for some time last year, prompting the police to step in.

Thanks to the publicity they found their "new" family three months later living just a few kilometers from the city.

“The woman who was switched at birth with me used to go to my school and I had no idea,” she said.

The two families now get together for festivals and anniversaries, she said.

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