I'm not sure who "Vera Cruz" is, although I'm sure she's
a lovely woman. If you're referring to the city in which Gene served his
mission, that is "Veracruz." Thanks.
While I'm glad that everything appears to have worked out I have to ask,
what kind of a woman (both the birth mom and the birth grandmother) knowingly
switch babies at birth? And all because of red hair and freckles?What a mess to have to solve later in life!
This is a remarkable example of the principle that's it's not the
situation that matters the most, but how you handle it.I attended a
lecture once by a psychologist who told the story of meeting with a patient who
had attempted suicide. When he asked her what prompted the attempt, she said,
"My boyfriend dumped me." He pointed out that people get dumped by
their lovers every day of the week but very few of them attempt suicide, so
presumably the reason for her despair must lie deeper.I've
thought of that often. The Fishers and the Williams faced an extraordinarily
difficult situation, but they reached deep and drew upon love and kindness to
find an extraordinarily loving resolution.
Thank you Parker Atkinson for telling a very complex story in such an accessible
way. A difficult task that you make look easy—the sign of a true expert.
And thank you to the Deseret News editor that allowed so much space to be
devoted to this heartwarming, amazing story. Every sentence earns its place.
I'm grateful you recognized that.
Years ago, before my grandmother passed away, she was contacted by two women who
said that they were the daughters of a brother she had never known. Grandmother
Ruth had been left at the Catholic orphanage on 21st South in Salt Lake and was
adopted at age three by the Thomsens. Her new parents had no idea that she had
a brother. Even when her birth mother tracked her down and found her, her
mother never told her about her brother. He had grown up and raised a family
in Orem without knowing about his birth mother or sister. Only after he died
did his children start looking into the adoption records and discover his
I also commend the entire Fisher family, including Rod, for welcoming Gene into
the family, and for the love they extended to both Gene and Rod. They are very
mature to be willing to hear Gene's story and then to accept Gene with open
arms! I admire their abundant mentality and the great love that they shared
This story was such an inspiration about love, faith, loyalty, and healing. I
admire Gene for his courage and tenacity to reach out to the Fishers, and I
admire the Fishers for their willingness to be open to taking the DNA tests to
see if they were a match to Gene! My heart went out to Rod and the feelings of
being displaced and I can only imagine the fears of rejection that he
experienced. I was so touched that he was blessed with love from the Fishers,
the only family he knew! I was also so touched when I read that Gene's
father, Mr. Williams, continued to lovingly raise Gene, knowing he wasn't
his son. What devotion and unselfishness! Above all, my heart was filled with
gratitude for our Savior who can provide healing in difficult situations and He
will eventually make all things right so that we all feel loved and cherished
and feel that we belong. I'm so grateful for the Atonement that we can
trust that our Savior has our greatest happiness in mind and He will provide a
way for us to receive that happiness.Thank you for sharing this beautiful
I read this story twice in order to understand it more fully. I think it is
written well, and that the confusion arises in having so many players in the
drama. That said, it is still a wonderful example of how old mistakes and the
foibles of humans can be forgiven and issues resolved, especially when we follow
the gospel message.I gained a son, one I had given up for adoption,
in 2006. In having him contact me and ask to be a part of his bio-family, I
gained four grandchildren, and a great granddaughter, as well as a daughter in
law, a former daughter-in-law and an acquaintance with many members of his
adoptive family. His adoptive mother had died and initially he just wanted
health information. Now we stay in contact, get together when feasible and lot
of other benefits. His younger bio-brother had twins the same year so I gained
six grandchildren in 2006. Like most family relationships, it isn't
perfect, but I'm glad he is a part of my life. However, babies switched at
birth, make for much more complicated scenarios, and I'm happy for the
people in the story!
Yes, i need a flow chart to keep this wonderful tale straight.
Interesting story, but confusing.Very hard as a reader to keep the facts
straight.How about rewriting it and making it less confusing.
I was thinking the same thing Peter R. This story needs a flow chart
to keep all the characters and events straight.
So happy for your family that all turned out as the Lord would have it !! I work in the Family History Center here in Yucca Valley, Ca. and we hear so
many stories with happy endings !! Now you have a lot of years to catch up
on and to make new memories, It is wonderful that Maxine lived to be blessed
with having her son Bruce sealed to her and the family !!
I also know a family this happened to in Preston Idaho.I am guessing the adults
are about the same age as these men. It makes me wonder if there are more
famililes out there this has happened too.
Here's my guess on what happened: the red-headed birth mother asked her
mother to switch the babies. This grandmother did so, but with some
trepidation. She then thought she "got the babies back to the right
mothers," and pulled the wool over her daughter's eyes. However, a
doubt remained as to whether or not she did so correctly. As she watched her
grandson grow, she realized he didn't look like anyone in the family and
probably figured out that she'd messed up. She must've discussed it
with the father (Williams) or else he knew about it from the get-go. She
dropped the hint to her grandson as he left on his mission as a way of trying to
let him solve it as an adult, but ultimately went to her grave worrying about
Holy cow. What a crazy story. Great that everything turned out okay in the end.
Very well written article!
Congratulations to these families, for being able to work out a complicated
scenario. With DNA testing, I am thinking we are only beginning to
see the 'tip of the iceberg'. There are a myriad of stories already.
Here's one with strong religious and cultural challenges. Look up
'Alice Collins Plebuch' in a Washington Post article. Remarkable.
This is my family and the story is true! (my grandfather is Maxines brother).
Our extended family gathers yearly at my great grandparents home in Oxford,ID.
When this all came to light it was a shock to everyone. We were excited to
welcome this new branch of family we were unaware of. In fact, The resemblance
to my grandfather is very present in Gene's face!
Very interesting and emotional, though convoluted to me too. A truly
made-for-a-movie story, only then it will be a lot clearer I think.
Samhill said: "I have to admit to considerable confusion trying to keep all
the parties straight in this very elaborate tale as it came to its ultimately
comforting conclusion."Amen. Was kind of confused --but so
glad for them that it has turned out as well as it has. Thanks for the
Their example proves many things about our faith. I feel grateful having been
merely blessed to know of this example.What I took from it:1) How the gospel provided them a unique strength and insight to not only
coping with this, but coming out on top of it with greater happiness. The
doctrine of eternal Families & strength through Jesus Christ is how they did
it.2) When we turn to God, He'll take a seemingly small human
error and turn it into a strength and joy in our character that will define our
lives now and in the eternities to come.3) Family happiness is truly
at the core of the gospel. Wonderful!
It was a little confusing trying to keep everyone in order. I just cried through
the whole story because my family has a story of their own. It is very
unsettling to learn of family histories so many years after the death of people
who knew and others who heard the rumors. I/we are still trying to sort things
out and come to grips with what the story and DNA tells.
This is a pretty amazing story. Glad it all ended so well.
Thanks for the story.I have to admit to considerable confusion
trying to keep all the parties straight in this very elaborate tale as it came
to its ultimately comforting conclusion. I can barely imagine how unsettling it
must have been for the people involved.Its very good to know they
all were able to handle it so well and, apparently, to the benefit of all. With
perhaps the exception of Rod's birth mother Eva, who appears to have been
the genesis of the entire upheaval. I hope she too will eventually come to a
Good people and it seems that the moral of the story is that love is thicker
than blood. If there is anything of a Mormon heaven then there is going to be a
lot of sorting out of the ins and outs and lose ends. Let's hope eternity
is a reality.
That is an incredible story. I will have to read it again to try to sort out all
the complications in my own mind. I am so glad that they were all able to accept
reality without bitterness. Amazing!
All I can say is Wow!