Baby switch: How a Mormon family dealt with the fallout of a decades old secret

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • Kenngo1969 Pleasant Grove, UT
    Sept. 2, 2017 5:53 p.m.

    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.

  • The Caravan Moves On Enid, OK
    Aug. 18, 2017 1:47 p.m.

    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!

  • shamrock Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 12, 2017 3:01 p.m.

    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.

  • rickpyper Mesa, AZ
    Aug. 12, 2017 2:18 p.m.

    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.

  • coltakashi Richland, WA
    Aug. 12, 2017 9:17 a.m.

    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 sister.

  • country_girl , AZ
    Aug. 11, 2017 8:19 p.m.

    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 with everyone!

  • country_girl , AZ
    Aug. 11, 2017 7:37 p.m.

    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 story!

  • Nan BW ELder, CO
    Aug. 11, 2017 7:16 p.m.

    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!

  • Dale CA Sunnyvale, CA
    Aug. 11, 2017 6:04 p.m.

    Yes, i need a flow chart to keep this wonderful tale straight.

  • augie Los Angeles, CA
    Aug. 11, 2017 5:50 p.m.

    Interesting story, but confusing.
    Very hard as a reader to keep the facts straight.
    How about rewriting it and making it less confusing.

  • AribaD Spanish Fork, UT
    Aug. 11, 2017 4:33 p.m.

    I was thinking the same thing Peter R.

    This story needs a flow chart to keep all the characters and events straight.

  • me2 Yucca Valley, CA
    Aug. 11, 2017 3:30 p.m.

    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 !!

  • bakker Layton, UT
    Aug. 11, 2017 2:55 p.m.

    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.

  • Peter R Provo, UT
    Aug. 11, 2017 2:49 p.m.

    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 the switch.

  • AlexChristensen11 Brigham City, UT
    Aug. 11, 2017 2:02 p.m.

    Holy cow. What a crazy story. Great that everything turned out okay in the end. Very well written article!

  • clasiklmuzikbiz Tulsa, OK
    Aug. 11, 2017 1:59 p.m.

    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.

  • krisfishfaus Clearfield, UT
    Aug. 11, 2017 11:47 a.m.

    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!

  • Kouger Lehi, UT
    Aug. 11, 2017 11:32 a.m.

    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.

  • Mayfair City, Ut
    Aug. 11, 2017 11:07 a.m.

    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."

    Was kind of confused --but so glad for them that it has turned out as well as it has.
    Thanks for the story.

  • Hope & Faith give us strength Utah County, UT
    Aug. 11, 2017 11:05 a.m.

    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!

  • splitme2 West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 11, 2017 10:27 a.m.

    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.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Aug. 11, 2017 10:02 a.m.

    This is a pretty amazing story. Glad it all ended so well.

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 11, 2017 9:33 a.m.

    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 happy resolution.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Aug. 11, 2017 9:17 a.m.

    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.

  • Nan BW ELder, CO
    Aug. 11, 2017 8:56 a.m.

    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!

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Aug. 11, 2017 8:46 a.m.

    All I can say is Wow!