Parents Get Son Back Nine Months After Hospital Gives Them Wrong Baby
Cailyn Finkel 10/2/2018
Richard and Mercy Cushworth were thrilled to be new parents after they gave birth to their son, Moses, in Mercy's home country of El Salvador. The exhausted new parents agreed to have their son spend his first night in the nursery while they got a few hours of sleep.
But when nurses returned their boy the following day, Richard and Mercy knew something was wrong. Despite their concerns, nurses assured them things were perfectly fine and the happy new family soon left the country.
Mercy toldBBC the seconds following her son's birth were a whirlwind. She didn't have time to make heads or tails of anything before nurses whisked her baby away.
"He was just passed by me and I gave him a kiss and then he was taken to the nursery and that was the last time I saw him."
The next day, nurses brought a baby boy back into their room – but Richard and Mercy immediately noticed this child had much darker features than they remembered from the baby they saw briefly. After the nurses reassured her everything was fine, the trio headed home to Texas and started a life together.
However, as the months passed, Richard and Mercy had a nagging feeling something wasn't right. Their baby boy looked nothing like them. They sent out for a DNA test and were floored by the results: there was a 0-percent chance Mercy was the mother of the child living in their home.
She told BBC how petrifying those first few weeks were:
"The thought that the baby I had been nursing, taken care of, loving him, bathing him - that he was not mine. And then I had another thought which came with it - where's my baby? So I had two thoughts - what's going to happen with this baby, and where's my baby."
Richard worried about Moses being sold into human trafficking or other worse fates while simultaneously negotiating with the Salvadorian government. Emotional, Richard told BBC that he often blamed himself for the loss of his child.
"I just accepted [the first boy] as my child. Now I look back at the pictures around the time we came to Dallas when he was three months old and I'm shocked that I never suspected, because you can see that it's just obviously not my child if you look at some of the pictures... I don't know how I didn't ask myself. You just don't think about these things. Who thinks about these things?"
Mercy was quick to dispel that line of thinking.
"I think we were in love with the baby. Even when I did the DNA tests, I thought I was betraying him. That was the feeling I had - I'm betraying my son but I cannot live with this."
After nine months of working closely with the British Ambassador to El Salvador (since Richard is from England originally), the Cushworths were able to retrieve their little boy. This joyous moment was coupled with a tinge of pain. Sadly, there was only a moment to say goodbye to the other child, Jacob, before handing him off to his parents.
Now Moses, Mercy and Richard are back in Texas and trying to make up for lost time. Hopefully, the rest of their lives is filled with nothing but wonderful memories together!