A mom and dad were left devastated nine years after their daughter was born. They found out during a major surgery that she was not their biological daughter.
At birth, Arlena Twigg was diagnosed with heart disease, and doctors feared that she would not live past her formative years. Arlena, the daughter of Ernest and Regina Twigg, was taken home at birth to be raised with her other siblings.
However, at the age of nine, the fears of her dying young came to pass. Arlena went through open-heart surgery and died a few days later.
Regina Twiggs. | Source: youtube.com/ABC News
ARLENA'S TOUCHING STORY
However, her parents were left to deal with her passing and the even more devastating news that she was not their biological child.
Arlena Twigg's story first made it to the public in 1988 after her parents discovered a somewhat confusing detail. The young girl was born at the Hardee Memorial Hospital in Wauchula, Florida.
The Twiggs did not think there was anything out of the ordinary beyond Arlena's heart disease when she was born. According to Regina, the young girl was "the sweetest, sweetest, precious little child."
But before she turned 10, she underwent open-heart surgery and did not survive it. The doctor in charge discovered Arlena was not Ernest or Regina's child during the surgery procedure.
Despite how they grieved Arlena's death, the Twiggs knew they needed to find answers. So the couple started searching for their real child, tracing the root back to the hospital Regina had given birth.
Regina Twiggs in her youthful days. | Source: youtube.com/ABC News
TWO BABIES WERE SWITCHED AT BIRTH
Regina and Ernest tirelessly searched for the evidence needed to conclude and fix the missing piece in the story of their real child. Finally, after thorough investigations at the hospital, the truth unfolded.
It was discovered that another woman gave birth to a baby girl in the same period Regina had her daughter. The woman in question, Barbara Mays, had her child two days before Regina went into labor.
Barbara Mays in her youthful days. | Source: youtube.com/ABC News
However, before the two women went back home with their newborns, some medical workers in the hospital were believed to have switched them. In retrospect, Barbara's daughter was raised as Arlena, while Regina's was introduced as Kimberly "Kim" Mays.
The issue blew up after the discovery, and the Mays were ultimately contacted. This was nine years before the switch happened. In all that period, a lot had happened.
Arlena Twiggs and her sister. | Source: youtube.com/ABC News
THE DRAMA THAT ENSUED
After the Mays were contacted, it was gathered that Barbara had passed on two years after taking home the baby. Kim had been raised by her dad, Bob Mays, and stepmom, Darlena.
The back and forths that culminated in a lawsuit showed that either Barbara and her parents or the hospital workers were behind the switch. Bob was exempted because he passed a lie detector test.
Barbara Mays and her husband, Bob Mays. | Source: youtube.com/ABC News
Ultimately both families sued the hospital and were settled with millions of dollars. According to Regina, the switch happened because the culprit felt pity for Barbara, who had been searching for a child, unlike her, who'd already had some children. She shared:
"They give me the sick baby and give Barbara the healthy baby. [Barbara Mays' parents] wanted her to have a healthy baby… They just were convinced that the baby was going to die."
Regina pushed to have access to Kim from then on, which was a bit of a worry for Bob. There was a bit of a tussle, but when Kim turned 11, Bob allowed her to know about her biological parents and visit them.
A family photo of Regina and Ernest Twiggs with their children. | Source: youtube.com/ABC News
HOW KIM LIVED OUT HER REALITY
Through the court drama, Kim was the most affected person. The youngster's mental health had been at stake as the adults solved the switch mystery.
Kim could not get over how her life changed as she discovered she was not who she thought she was. She once shared that each time she went to her real parents' home, Regina would ask her to call her "mom."
Regina also supposedly requested to call Kim Arlena. The couple would later demand legal custody, and it was granted. Kim moved to her biological parents' home, but things only worsened.
Kim Mays and her grandparents when she was a child. | Source: youtube.com/ABC News
The youngster became a juvenile delinquent, often running away from home. She also demanded in court to be separated from Regina and Ernest. Kim's request was granted, and she moved back in with Bob Mays.
However, things did not get better. She would often run away from home, and Bob was so worried that he asked her to go back to the Twiggs. By then, Kim's grades in school had drastically dropped, and there seemed to be no chance for improvement.
She eventually ran away from home and, by 18, was married. Unfortunately, the marriage did not last, and as of 2019, Kim reportedly has six kids with four different fathers, and she works at a call center.
Kim Mays and her father Bob Mays. | Source: youtube.com/ABC News
SWITCHED AT BIRTH
Another touching story reached public attention in 2018 when two families discovered that their babies were switched at birth. Both moms, Radigena Gaspar and Valdevina de Lima, gave birth to boys at Monsenhor Genesio in Juruaia.
However, they ended up taking home switched babies. At Radigena's home, neighbors peddled rumors about the child not belonging to her husband.
Radigena and her spouse Geraldo ignored the insinuation, but as their son, Romualdo grew older, they knew something was different. His looks and color begged to differ from their initial thoughts of him being their son.
As Romualdo became an adult, he got tired of the side talks about his legitimacy. So, the young man took a DNA test and discovered that Geraldo and Radigena were not his parents.
The revealing moment tore through their hearts as the couple searched for their real child. Finally, they traced their findings and found Valdevina and her spouse Osvaldo, who purportedly raised their own child.
It was discovered that the other boy, named Noel, died at one. The de Lima's married daughter, Nelma Rezende, proceeded to carry out a DNA test between her and Romualdo, and it showed that they were siblings.
The then 38-year-old young man reunited with his parents; however, the Gaspars believed their biological son wasn't dead. So, the couple kept holding on to hope after the switch mystery was solved.