The fate of two blond 3-year-old girls switched at birth must remain with their families and not the courts, says a mother who raised one of the girls.
A tearful Paula Johnson told reporters Tuesday she only wanted to make sure both girls were happy and would consult with child psychologists before any action was taken."This has been absolutely devastating," she said. "There are no words to describe it." So far, all the families have traded have been baby photos.
Where the courts may have a role is in a lawsuit. Johnson's attorney said her client has not decided whether to sue the hospital.
Johnson, a 30-year-old construction company employee, discovered last month after DNA testing for a paternity suit that Callie, the baby she took home from the University of Virginia Hospital, was not her own.
Hospital officials now believe a couple from Buena Vista - Kevin Chittum and Tamara Whitney Rogers - took home Johnson's baby in June 1995, while she took theirs.
Chittum and Rogers were killed in a July 4 car crash - never knowing of the switch - and their parents have been caring for their baby.
The grandparents have said they are not convinced a switch occurred and want to share custody of the child. They have balked at allowing a DNA test that would show if they are blood relatives with Rebecca Grace Chittum - or if the little girl is Johnson's daughter.
Johnson said she is willing to give up Callie if that is what is best for the child.
"Whatever is best for these two children - whether it be to stay with the biological parents, whether they be switched, or whatever," Johnson said, her voice cracking.
Johnson, her former boyfriend and their attorney said they hope to work out custody and visitation arrangements with the family raising Rebecca.
"There is no reason to have the courts involved in this matter," said attorney Cynthia Johnson, who is not related to her client.