Turkish Couple Find Swapped Baby After Four-Year Search
Published: October 22, 2007 | 6727th good news item since 2003
NAJRAN — Ali and Yaqub were mistakenly switched at birth in a hospital in Najran where they were born four years ago. Ali, born into a Turkish family living in Najran, was mistakenly given to a Saudi couple whose son Yaqub was given to the Turkish family by the hospital employees, according to a report in Al-Watan newspaper.
Yusuf Jawed, 37, used to live in Najran where he owned a workshop. Yusuf described to Al-Watan newspaper how he took his wife to the King Khaled Hospital in Najran when she went into labor. It was there that his baby was switched with that of a Saudi family.
“When I first saw Yaqub, I felt he wasn’t my son. There was a very serious feeling growing inside me. I contacted the hospital several times and I met a number of officials there, but they didn’t take my suspicions seriously. One of them told me to fear God and asked how I could think such a thing,” said Yusuf, adding, “I also contacted a former manager at the hospital who also didn’t listen to me.”
After sometime, the family returned to Turkey with Yaqub. Yusuf’s extended family also felt Yaqub looked different and that it was impossible that he could be his son. Feeling uneasy, Yusuf and his wife underwent DNA tests, which confirmed that Yaqub was not the couple’s biological child.
Yusuf and his wife then decided to go back to Saudi Arabia to search for their real son. They lodged a complaint at the Ministry of Health, which in turn ordered another DNA test that proved that Yaqub was not their son.
The Interior Ministry together with the Health Ministry assigned a team to search for the Jawed family’s biological child in Najran. After sometime, it was found out that a boy with Turkish features was living in a Saudi family. The family was ordered to undergo a DNA test, the results of which have not been released yet.
“My wife considers Yaqub as her own and treats him like that. She has been doing so for four years. My wife has also begun teaching him Arabic to help him when he is reunited with his family,” said Yusuf.
The family is currently in Saudi Arabia waiting to be reunited with their son. “Yaqub is always longing to go back to Turkey and see who he thinks are his relatives. This worries me a lot,” said Yusuf, adding that he is ready to swap Yaqub for Ali as soon as the authorities confirm that Ali is his biological son.
“I love both of them and will do my best to help them both,” he said. “We celebrated Eid Al-Fitr this year differently, as we felt it may be our last Eid with Yaqub. We went to amusement parks and tried to make him happy as much as we could,” said Yusuf.
Meanwhile, the Saudi father, who asked his name not be published, said that his family is currently going through an emotional dilemma. “We can’t really make a decision until we’re sure that Ali isn’t our biological son. That is only after the DNA results are known,” he said.
Dr. Ali Zaery, a psychiatrist, said, “An immediate swap could negatively affect the children and could be harmful to them psychologically. Both children are now integrated in their surroundings and cultures. A sudden swap could cause them psychological shock. It’s like separating a child from his or her family and then handing him or her to a strange family,” said Dr. Zaery.
He added that the children could become depressed, which could lead to separation anxiety disorder in later childhood. “The children need to be prepared for the swap, which could be done by having them visit both families. During the visits, the children should be gradually introduced to the idea that they have a second father and mother, and a second family. That would prepare the children mentally to accept the new situation,” said Dr. Zaery.
For Yusuf the wait to be reunited with his biological son is far too much to bear.