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Posts Tagged ‘DeeAnn Angell Shafer’

Isn’t that a headline that makes us all look back into our own families and wonder if it happened to us or at the very least to one of our siblings? It was only after years of rumors and a DNA test that Kay Rene Reed Qualls and DeeAnn Angell Shafer of Heppner Oregon found out they had been switched at birth by accident, back in 1953.

I had to agree with what Shafer reportedly said, “”I’m trying to move forward at look at the positive. You can’t look back. It just drives you crazy.” Can you imagine? Everything you thought about your family history has now changed when you are no longer a blood relative – and yet, not changed since your history is also their family history now too.

Over my lifetime, I’ve had many numerous discussions of being “switched at birth” with friends as we diagnosed various members of our respective families and thought there was no way we could be related. This at times led to interesting insight from friends who were adopted, however, they considered themselves the “chosen” one rather than the outsider. To find out you were switched at birth for real?! I did read the hospital in question, Pioneer Memorial in Eastern Oregon, offered to pay for counseling. I have to wonder if either or both ladies in question (or their families) will look for other means of retribution, but somehow doubt it.

Is it a blood connection that makes a family really? Genetics do come into play for medical reasons, more so as science and technology continue to advance and we can become more proactive (if we can afford to, but that’s another blog post).  But I can think of non-blood “relatives” who I consider just as close as my real family. Not just spouses or partners but friends who act more like family than family. It’s the connectivity people have, the caring for each other, the sense of community they build, the support they provide that make up a “family”.  It sounds like once the shock of discovery wore off, the “switched at birth” ladies now consider themselves “sisters.” And that’s not a bad thing.

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