Two boys accidentally switched at birth; what happens when their mothers find out and how do the boys feel now as they look back?
It’s a plot point in movies, tv shows, and books. Two children born in the same hospital on the same day accidentally go home with the wrong parents. The first time I remember the ‘switched at birth’ storyline was in the movie Big Business (Bette Midler, Lily Tomlin). I thought it was the funniest thing I’d ever heard. Of course, it could only happen in a comedy movie; how could such a thing happen in real life? But it did. And two South African boys, Robin and Gavin, continue to deal with the fallout.
Two years after the boys were switched in the hospital, Gavin fell ill, and a DNA test was performed. Quickly it became clear Gavin’s mother was not his biological mother. Once the hospital informed all parties, the mothers made a shocking but impossible decision: they would not switch the boys back. (I can’t imagine what those mothers must have gone through while making that decision.)
At first, it seemed like the right decision. The boys were more than friends; they felt like brothers. Despite their history, or maybe because of it, they had a rare bond. But as they grew up, their lives began to diverge, and resentment toward each other and their mothers built up. One boy had opportunity and wealth, while the other grew up with very little when it came to money and possessions. As Robin and Gavin grew into adulthood, their opinions and attitudes toward the events of their lives changed, and their feelings may surprise you. Maybe you blame the mothers’ decision, but what would you do if you found out your child was switched at birth? Would any decision be the right one?
Watch the last time 60 Minutes Australia interviewed the boys in 2004 and again in 2012: