For ours 25th Anniversary, a favorite illustration from 2008. ~ above a summer day in 1951, two baby girls were born in a hospital in small-town Wisconsin. The babies were accidentally switched, and also went home with the wrong families. One of the mother realized the mistake however chose to save quiet. Till the day, an ext than 40 year later, as soon as she determined to call both daughters what happened. Exactly how the truth changed two families" lives—and how it didn"t.

You are watching: This american life switched at birth


Hi, everybody, it"s IRA Glass, and for this American Life"s 25th anniversary, us are putting eight favourite episodes from end the years right into our regular podcast Feed.


This episode, Switched at birth, is the episode they name. As soon as I listen this episode now, what hits me candid is how cunningly structured thing is where where girlfriend hear about the mommy from all these other people before you ever before hear native her and then exactly how your picture of her alters once you actually hear her.


buy it Koenig, who was then a this American Life producer and also who went on to organize Syria, she was reporter Jake Halpern"s producer for the story and was so crucial in shaping exactly how it functions on the air in enhancement to the exceptional reporting the Jake did.


Anyway, here"s the story. Ago in 1994, this is ago in the days when people still delivered huge news to each various other by letter to women that barely knew each other, Martha Miller and also Susan McDonald got a letter from Martha"s mom.


too ~ Martha and Sue, have actually you ever suspected or to be told that we took house the baby the belonged to Kay and Bob McDonald and also they later took residence the baby the belonged to us? That"s Martha reading.


and the function of this letter is that Mrs. Fearbut is breaking the news 43 years after the truth to Martha Insu the she took the wrong baby house from the hospital the Martha and also was switched at birth, that she"s no Martha"s organic mom, she sues.


yet what makes it for this reason strange is that this wasn"t the sort of thing where Mrs. Fearbut figured this the end to she surprise, after years of wondering and pondering and painstaking detective work. No, no, no.


She knew that the work she acquired home from the hospital in 1951, the she had actually the wrong baby, a baby born to a woman called Kay McDonald. And also she retained it quiet all those years.


The various other daughter in this baby, Squidge Sue, that was born come Mrs. Miller, the one composing the letter however raised by Kay McDonnell.


The various other woman reads, i had complete anaesthesia, so was asleep once our infant was born. The nurse sweet the baby and must have actually left her in the shipment room till after Kay"s infant was born.


Again, Martha Miller, who now goes through Marty, who once was the baby that sneezed five times in a row.


I thought that to be strange. Never had actually that happen with any of our others. We had actually a baby scale at home. When I weighed the baby, she sweet two and a half pounds less than her birth weight.


ns was sure then the there had actually been a mix up. I talked come Norbert around it, yet he walk not want to disgrace our good doctor Deathlok. A mainly or therefore after the baby"s birth, i was getting to for something way back in the attic closet and started to hemorrhage, then went into convulsions, back to the hospital for several days and despair because that my life. So i dropped the mix increase baby quest as Martha grew.


She did no look no one act like any other children. She to be a joy to all of us. For this reason pretty, therefore photogenic, so full of life.


ours other kids were an extremely serious. Martha excelled in music, to be a great cheerleader at school, very popular and also a blonde, our other children had dark hair. And also all required glasses because that nearsightedness, Martha did not require glasses.


Finally, on July 10th, 1994, Norbert was willing to walk to Kay and also Bob McDonald"s fiftieth wedding anniversary celebration in ~ Pershing joined Methodist Church as soon as he saw you. So he said, ns don"t need a DNA test. Sue is ours. She looks similar to Mary. Lydia would make a great twin to her. The is why I want to create this letter.


So now we are both conscious of what happened 43 years ago. Us love you, Martha Jane. I"m sorry. We love you, Martha Jane, as dearly together our other six children. Ns think you recognize that friend will always be our daughter, however I thought each of friend should understand your biological and spiritual backgrounds. I recognize you have actually mixed feelings about this revelation.


I have actually much anguish and many tears, but I feel i must acquire this out in the open so you come know how wonderful the you both are, believer and good workers in the church. Carry out let me hear native you. I love friend both. Thanks. And Jesus command you in this time. Happy 43rd birthday to girlfriend too. And also to you, Martha. Lovingly, her mom, mar Kay Miller. So at this point, you"re more than likely wondering why in the civilization didn"t Mrs.


miller straighten this out quicker? Why walk you hear to she husband back in 1951? Why the huge concern around disgracing the medical professional over, girlfriend know, having actually the not correct baby? and also as girlfriend heard in the letter, one thing that makes this whole thing even stranger is the the two couples knew each other. The Millers to be at the McDonald"s anniversary party, their mutual acquaintances, they obtained a brief drive from each other"s houses and also Waseca and also Kurdish in Wisconsin.


and when Mrs. Miller ultimately let everybody understand the truth, lengthy after both girls to be grown up with children of their own, it to be disruptive. That is the kind of news nobody ever before wants come hear. And also when you gain this sort of news together an adult the your mommy isn"t yes, really your mommy or your daughter isn"t really your daughter. And also at the same time, you have actually a new mom or brand-new daughter, that is not so clean what you"re supposed to perform with this new parent or brand-new child who"s now in your life.


What room you claimed to be through each other? and also both Marty and also Sue problem that the families that always thought were theirs and still desire to save them and both mothers and daughters each had to number it out on your own. All four women say things got very lonely because that them. Today on our show, we hear what happens as soon as somebody takes her family and also throws it up in the air choose a deck of cards native WBCSD Chicago. It"s this American Life.


I"m IRA Glass. We"re devoting the full hour today to what happened to these 2 families.


Jake Halpern is the reporter. And before that starts, just to aid you store everybody straight in this story, a quick overview of the 2 families.


The Millers space the bespectacled, dark haired ones from the letter. Miss Miller"s husband, the Reverend Norbert Miller, was an evangelical preacher devoted to the church, and they to be a bookish, severe bunch.


This is a house with a many rules. And there were a most kids, two seven kids in all the McDonald"s space the white haired people in the letter. And also it is a much smaller family, just two kids. And the emotion in their residence is really different from the feeling in the Millers house. They were easygoing, fast to laugh and also joke around. Mr. McDonald ran a TV repair shop in town. Here"s Jake Halpern. It was the 4 women in ~ the center of every this.


The two moms and the 2 daughters who were affected an ext than anyone. So let"s take it them one by one, starting with Sue, Mrs. Miller"s baby, that was raised by the McDonald"s. Before the letter arrived, the facts of Sue"s life, it appeared pretty orderly. She was a married mommy of 3 living in Michigan, whereby her husband functioned as a chemist. She was close to she mother. She called and visited she parents regularly. She additionally had an enlarge brother, Bob, called after their dad.


It"s every pretty straightforward. And also yes, Sue is different from the rest of the family members in particular ways, dark and tall and skinny and also a family that was none of those in a nice lighthearted household. She to be nervous, studious, serious, yet it didn"t seem for this reason strange in junior high.


ns remember mine friend said to me, you should be adopted because you perform not look at all like your parents.


and I said, i don"t know. Girlfriend know, ns asked my mother, i said, am i adopted? and she said, Oh, no, no. She says, i was pregnant and also you room my child. I wanted a baby, friend know, and you"re my baby. Girlfriend know, girlfriend were not adopted. So that that persuaded you. Oh, yeah.


the was enough. Ns mean, she that was right. My mom said, oh, well, you just take after great grandpa this year and so on. So we"re girlfriend know, so then I just forgot about the whole thing. Years later, as soon as she obtained the letter the told her the truth, she was stunned and also she knew she had actually to rest the news come the McDonald"s who elevated her, but she didn"t contact them best away.


Mr. McDonald had a poor heart and also she didn"t know what the stress would perform to him. First, she want to be absolutely sure it was true. Blood tests to be done v the Millers and they confirmed Mrs. Miller was right around the switch. Weeks go by and Sue started to fret. She wrote letters to she parents however didn"t send them. She worried her mother might reject her. Sue knew her mother had actually never to be a large fan of the Millers ever due to the fact that they met.


and then after ns knew that they were. That I had been switched and also that ns had various genes and also my parents preserved talking about these people that were so odd, the Millers, since they. Reverend Miller. The is an evangelical preacher, friend know, the wants people to understand Jesus Christ and also that they would be saved. And also and I"m really choose that to. Periodically my mom thinks I"m a tiny fanatical. I"m really a Miller, girlfriend know, what walk she think of me?


ns mean, that"s my biological family. So i did think, yeah, girlfriend know, she"s she"s walk to know that"s no my daughter and also she"s going to and also she"s going to gain this popular, Marty, who"s so fun loving and also and looks choose her. And then she"s going come say, well, ns don"t require that daughter anymore. Friend know, she"s component of the odd family, you know? A month ~ she gained the letter, Sue go to see her organic mother and father.


Reverend miller is affectionate through her placing his arm approximately her waist. Everybody"s smiling. Sue now had four new sisters and two brand-new brothers, and also the Millers display her photos of her other relatives. He"s throughout the border.


There"s a many nervous laughter. And also there room some azer moments, like as soon as Sue talks to Mrs. Miller around the reality that she never got enough breast milk together a baby.


yet overall, the Millers it seems to be ~ giddy that their daughter has ultimately come home and Sue seems eager to know them.


So friend look favor her, too? That"s what ns was thinking. And you looked so much like Carol.


later on that very same day, Sue drove to the McDonald"s to the parental she"d grown up with. After dinner, she sat down and told them around Mrs. Miller"s letter, told them allude blank she wasn"t your child. At first, they refused to believe her, however then she said them around the blood tests, finally Sue handed over all the letter that she had and sent castle in the past month, letters informing them exactly how much she love them and also how lot she want to remain their daughter.


and also like my dad said, you know, you are my child. I readjusted your diaper and my mother, nothing was going to it is in different between us. Yet it was simply it take it a while for united state to. Exactly how are friend going to think? Mrs. Miller has for 43 years to be longing to view her, the boy she"d offered birth to. Therefore she"s excited about it. And my mother"s like, what taken place to mine life? that exploded. As soon as things patience down, Sue came to two conclusions one, she wasn"t walk to become estranged from her mother, and two, it to be her brothers she can lose.


My name is Bob McDonald and I am 61 year old. I would say the Sue and also I were most likely not that close for whatever reason.


The factor was nice simple, actually. Lock have nearly nothing in common. Bob is four and also a fifty percent years older than Sue, a sweet, jovial man who never got in addition to his broody small sister. And when Bob uncovered out about Marty, discovered out the she to be his biological sister, he referred to as her best away in California.


as soon as she obtained on the phone, i was just completely blown away, by the way, she pronounced her words were similar with the way my mom talked. She can have been my aunt or my mother talking ~ above the phone. And I knew that she had to be my sister. And I to be super anxious to to accomplish her and also in person. And until that time, we simply talked all the time with every phone call that we made. You know, we opened up much more to each other and, you know, we had actually the same personality and we think so much alike.


mine brother and Marty are as with thick together thieves, friend know, it seems like and also whenever Marty concerns my house town, she remains with my brother and they remain up all hrs of the night talk for to she brother"s enthusiasm because that Marty carried out every insecurity she endured as a schoolgirl.


He to be popular. And also I was and also I was favor a significant person. Nobody would certainly dance with me in ~ the dances. And I friend know, I wanted he had a band, i mean. I was shy or i was whatever. And also I want to be a cheerleader. I tried out for cheerleading, I just couldn"t perform it, girlfriend know, i didn"t acquire picked. As years go by, as soon as there to be family events with everyone, Sue would gain anxious if Marty to be there to.


occasionally she"d malfunction and cry. Ns remember in ~ the wedding when my nephew acquired married, my brother danced with everybody, he danced v Marty and you can see they"re just having so much fun and laughing together and and simply dancing away. And also then that danced through my cousin. That danced through my mother. He danced with her. He didn"t dance through me. And also here i am. You know, it"s like I"m a teenager again and also nobody danced through me.


the was it to be bad. Yet the good part around that was as soon as I got home native the wedding and also my brother called me and he said, you know what? i didn"t even dance v you. And I said, who told you to say that? so he didn"t recognize what to do. Yet it just lugged up feelings the feel crummy again. And, friend know, because I wonder what"s going to occur when my parents space gone. Is my brothers going to treatment to also see me anymore?


This brings united state to Marty, the various other baby in this baby switch, prior to she uncovered out the truth about who her mommy really was, Bardes life wasn"t all that various from Seus currently was additionally married, additionally had three kids. She"d also moved out of Wisconsin, in her case to southern California. She"s also religious, favor Sue, but that"s pretty lot where that ends. Marty worked every one of her adult life and still does as a nurse. She flourished up as the sixth child in a household of seven kids.


Her mom ran a disciplined household, everyone had to work, she remembers washing and drying all the dishes. By the moment she was 5 or six, there wasn"t lot money around. The 5 girls common one bedroom. The church to be the center of their lives and the family members never walk on vacation or also to the movies. Instead, they were every taught come paint and encouraged come play music. Like Sue, though, Marty stuck out in her household for one thing, she was the only one that joked around, she says also now, the Millers can"t tell when she"s being ironic.


and also then there to be the blondness and also the perkiness and the socializing. Mary says she feeling like every little thing she was interested in was lost on her parents. I don"t think that they ever concerned watch me cheer in a game. The wasn"t something the they would have actually done because athletics to be really not a worth to them in ~ all. Ns was simply not ever meeting their expectation of pundit ism, and also my mother has actually told me due to the fact that then, friend know, you ns really didn"t suppose that lot from you since I knew that you weren"t our child.


Incredibly, as soon as Marty to be 21 year old, someone in reality told her that she can not it is in a Miller, among her enlarge sisters, Ruth, involved visit v her husband, Rudy. Rudy had actually a pair of beers, and after dinner, he gained to talking and also he started asking me what ns knew around the McDonald"s.


and also I really didn"t know anything about the McDonald"s. And also then the told me that ns looked like them and he said, What would you do if i told you the they were her parents? and I ns was sort of stunned. It was the first I had ever before heard anything around it. And also he did, in fact, say part hurtful things. Since he told me, you know, well, i don"t treatment what anybody says from as much as I"m concerned, you"re not really Ruth"s sister.


I thought it was simply Rudy being Rudy, girlfriend know, the just has crazy ideas and also he desires these points up. Ns was just horrified and and that didn"t call me ahead of time, it simply came out v it. That"s Ruth she and Faith and also Mary Lydia. The larger girls had actually sort of constantly known around the opportunity that Marty wasn"t their biological sister. A pair of them, including Ruth, had vague storage of their parents talking about it after ~ they lugged Marty house from the hospital about how this infant looked different from Mrs.


Miller"s various other babies and that perhaps this baby had been switched. Then when Ruth was around 16, she older sister, Faith, came home from a pilgrimage on a Mississippi river boat and told Ruth she"d checked out Sue McDonald on the boat, and also then she looked an dreadful lot choose them. They decided that Ruth chandelier to have a look to so the two girls cooked up a enlightenment mission ~ above one Sunday, they got their boyfriends to journey them 17 miles far to the McDonald"s church in Prairie Dasheen.


She states there"s Sue walking under the center aisle. And I assumed she also walks prefer Mary. Girlfriend know, I would I was simply like, wow, friend know, wow. That could be. That could be her. That might be my sister.


and yeah, ns think it might be. And also at any allude during this time, does that cross her mind? Well, why don"t we simply ask Mom and also Dad about this.


No. That"s not exactly how their family worked. They simply didn"t talk about these type of things. And as Ruth and Faith experienced it, that wasn"t their place to mess in their parents" affairs, i beg your pardon is why once her husband, Rudy, blurted it out a couple of years later, Ruth was so shocked and also Marty refused to believe it at the point. She denied, she says, oh, no, no, that"s not true. You know, so so then i thought, well, OK, then it"s not so bad if she friend know, she quiet believes she"s mine sister.


That"s good. The following week, though, once Marty was visiting your mom, Mrs. Miller, she inquiry her around what Rudy had actually said. Mrs. Miller gave her a noncommittal answer, saying that once upon a time they believed that maybe, perhaps might have. But even if it did happen, there is no way to prove it. So that was that.


over the years, the assumed that she can be who else"s boy festered in the earlier of his mind, and also much later on when she was in her mid 30s, she decided to gain to the bottom that it. She was working for a group of pediatricians, which included a hereditary counselor. She said the counselor her story and also said she wanted to acquire blood tests done. The counselor asked her what McDonald"s knew about all this, and I said, i don"t think they understand anything around it, so.


She said, well, if you to be to discover out that that this parents that you have are no your parents and also the other household doesn"t desire to have anything to perform with you, exactly how are girlfriend going come feel?


and I said, well, i don"t know. I don"t have any idea. And also she said, friend really need to think about how that"s walking to change your family for you and how it"s walk to change relationships because that you. So she claimed unless there"s a genuine reason that you need to understand that, ns don"t recommend the you dig right into it. That"s kind of spooked Marty, therefore she left it alone. That"s what it might have ended if it hadn"t been because that Mrs.


It"s hard enough to learn that your mommy isn"t your mother, but it"s even harder once that news is ceded by someone favor Mrs. Miller. Tact is in her strong suit. In fact, she seemed to have actually a tin ear because that the whole thing. For starters, Mrs. Miller didn"t contact Marty Insu in ~ the same time, she very first sent the letter come Sue McDonald, the daughter she right knew, and then waited almost two weeks prior to mailing the letter come Marty, the daughter she"d raised.


She stated she wanted to speak to Marty first, yet never regulated to with her as a result, Marty obtained worried about one of the most basic facts of she life, 2nd hand, all the while wait to hear directly from her mother.


and in the meantime, i had obtained phone calls from human being I didn"t also know the were informing me, friend know, hey, I"m her brother. Hey, i was switched in ~ birth v you.


you know, as soon as she lastly heard from Mrs. Miller, the mommy she"d grown up with, not just did she acquire the letter, however Mrs. Miller had just been to the fiftieth anniversary party the the McDonald"s, Marty"s organic parents.


and so she took one of the program from it and also she mailed it to me. And basically and also this is going come sound favor kind of. A small thing, but it was a big thing come me. She circled the names of people that were participating in the program choose my among my uncles ~ above the birth side, Earl Gonzales. She circled his name and she wrote, This is your uncle. And also she circled my brother"s name and also said, this is her brother choose Bob.


and she would circle their names and also say, these room your parents. And, girlfriend know, I"m analysis this point going, What execute you median these space my this is my uncle. This is mine brother. This is mine mom and dad. This is not my my family. Ns don"t also know who they are.


and I take it that as a, you know, OK, I"m saying as of ideal now, you"re no our kid. You"re your kid, you"re in their family. Hardy claims her mom, Mrs. Miller, look at the people in black and also white, she focused on the facts of the situation, perhaps hoping she can fix things by simply setup the record straight. She wasn"t malicious. She wasn"t do the efforts to it is in hurtful after all those years. She was just tired of secrets.


but it to be hard, Marty says, to it is in on the receiving end of this suddenly adamant fact telling.


There to be a couple of years there. Where? Every possibility my mommy got, she made it. Perfectly clean that, girlfriend know, i was a mcdonnel for the longest time, anytime she would certainly write to me, she would incorporate MacDonald in mine name.


simply absolutely bizarre. Things choose that. She she. That"s just exactly how she is. She. There is no gray area. Actually, my mother wanted to walk to court and also have my name legally changed back come Sue McDonald and also have Sue"s name changed. The was she idea. It"s kind of friend know, she tells me that this is, you know, you"re, ah, you"re my daughter. And also but in ~ the exact same time, she says when she describes Kay, she says, well, your mommy is act such and also such.


Your mommy said this. And also when ns think of my mother, ns think of her. During this time, it to be Marty"s dad, Reverend Miller, who reassured her they started talking on the phone a lot. He defined things like why all those years ago he refused to go back to the hospital and switch earlier the babies. And he permit Marty know that the still love her.


that did not want her to press me out of the family. He was he, in fact, would call me and tell me, friend know, ns don"t treatment what she says. You"re tho our kid and also I"m glad we had actually you. Did you feel the then after ~ this occurred a small bit closer to your dad 보다 your mom? Yes. Yeah, definitely at the point, my dad had actually this horrendous guilt because he felt favor it was every his fault that he need to have thought my mom for, you know, every those years.


and also he just I think the honestly never ever thought it was a possibility. He assumed she yes, really dreamed this increase in her head and. Just obtained obsessed v it. And the various other thing was the he yes, really thought, what distinction does it make a child is a child. She"s through us. She"s our now. The other problem for Marty was how to technique the McDonald"s for organic parents. They to be nice sufficient when she speak to them on the phone, but they weren"t specifically welcoming her into the family.


Here"s Bob McDonald that remember, was having actually these an excellent phone calls with his newfound sister. This is the daughter the actually was in you. And, you know, ns mean, I know you didn"t progressive her, but she is her blood, girlfriend know, organic daughter. And also I don"t understand that she was together excited about it together I was. And also I couldn"t figure that out at the time. She to be guarded. From Marty"s perspective, the genetic counselor"s prediction indigenous years before seemed to be coming true, it felt like she was losing both her mother"s.


Marty created a letter come Kay and also Bob McDonald, her organic parents. I want you to understand that I will accept whatever call you select to have actually with me, also if it"s none at all. I promise you, I"ll never try to make you think of me together your daughter. I understand that"s who"s her daughter and also no one could ever suppose you to feeling otherwise. Marty eventually made decision that the only means she was going to resolve this to be by acquiring on a aircraft and flying the end to Wisconsin to fulfill the McDonald"s confront to face and also give them a real possibility to acquire to recognize her.


They get together in ~ Bob and also McDonald"s residence didn"t go exactly as she wanted. From the McDonald"s perspective, Marty looked and also acted remarkably favor a McDonald"s. She acquired along famously with their son, Bob. She even had the specific same oil painting hanging top top her wall surface in California together they had actually in their living room, a landscape v trees and water. But Sue to be the girl castle had brought up and also they felt loyal to she protective. I kind of felt choose the choose Bob and also Kate were kind of keeping me in an arm"s distance since they weren"t yes, really sure how they feel or wanted to feel.


and also I don"t think Sue had that sense, in fact, that"s true. Maybe since some of the müller girls had actually suspected that she was your sister because that decades and also because Mrs. Miller always knew the truth, she to be being embraced totally by the fearbut clan. And so while Seward figured everyone would choose Marty, the outgoing cheerleader, end her, it didn"t work-related out that way. Here"s Marty.


In fact, it was the precise opposite. She had actually both households wanting come make sure that, girlfriend know, she was included in their family. The Millers want to combine her household into our family as conveniently as they can and. She i did feeling in the beginning like she was taking my place in mine family, and also that to be odd, very odd, and also sometimes ns don"t know exactly what her relationship is with my sisters.


friend know, i I open minded don"t know exactly how much lock communicate, just how much they"re in touch. Component of me really doesn"t desire to know because I think I would certainly feel left out of something. Coming up, what it"s prefer to be a mom and to discover at the age of 69 the your only daughter isn"t actually your daughter in ~ all. And if the weren"t bad enough that lots of human being in her town, people roughly you knew years prior to you did. Jakobson story continues in a minute indigenous Chicago public Radio once our regime continues.


This American Life, I"m IRA Glass. If you"re simply tuning in, Jake Halpern is informing the story this hour of two girls switched at birth. One mother, mary Miller, knew and kept the a secret.


they nothing about it for 43 years. The various other mother, Kay MacDonald, had no idea the 2 fathers in this story were not interviewed. Grandfather MacDonald"s health and wellness didn"t permit it. Mr. Miller died in 2000. And also so in this half of the story we hear from the mother again. Here"s Jake Halpern.


in ~ the hospital in 1951, Kay MacDonald to be told the she"d provided birth to a nine pound, four ounce baby. She didn"t concern that every day she to be at the hospital. The nurses carried her the same baby girl. Nothing seemed to miss out on to her. And as the baby Sue flourished up, the one thing that confused Kaye was the Mrs. Miller, who she knew only vaguely indigenous church, seemed so interested in Sue.


She always referred to the girls as sisters. ~ they were born, she had actually written together a Christmas letter and also and claimed she"d always like to keep in touch with Susan because the girls to be so much like sisters.


and also of course, I believed that to be foolish. However I went along with it because. Ns don"t prefer to do waves, i guess you might say. And also so that"s why i started sending out them a copy of our Christmas letter.


That"s just how Mrs. Miller maintained track that Sue over the years. Mrs. Fearbut would carry out or say things concerning the girls, points that simply seem strange come Kay. As soon as Kay"s church to be celebrating that 150 year anniversary, for instance, Kay was chairperson for the event.


therefore he and Mrs. Miller were invited and the Millers came. And I was in the hallway and also Mrs. Miller claimed to me, did you ever before think the our girls to be switched in ~ birth? and also I said, heavens no. I thought that was such a ridiculous thing to say. And and that course, ns was an extremely busy due to the fact that I to be chairperson and also I had actually so numerous other things to do. So ns passed it off. However that"s all she said. There was nothing any kind of further.


ns didn"t it didn"t stroked nerves me because I simply thought. Ns couldn"t see any merit come it. Ns didn"t have a doubt in my mind, and I"m no one to borrow trouble. What Kaye McDonald didn"t know was the there was a totality slew of human being in her church ar who had heard around the rumored infant switch native the beginning, Mrs. Miller and Kay McDonald were actually in various churches. Kay was a Methodist and the Millers to be evangelicals. Grandm Miller told civilization in the evangelical church around her suspicions, girlfriend of hers and people she hope would keep an eye the end on Sue.


but later, the two churches merged. Therefore a bunch of world from the evangelical church now knew Kay mc donalds was and who she was and also realized the this to be the girl grandm Miller, believed to be she own. And also this whole chop of human being knew yet never claimed anything come Kay McDonald. One of them was Darlene Wolfgram. She heard it an initial from her very own mom, who heard it at church.


She said everybody sort of in ~ church, after having actually seen Marty beside the remainder of the family, simply couldn"t believe that that was your child.


It was pretty surprise right in ~ our very own church. Probably the women aid, maybe, friend know, the little group that got together. In fact, my mother said, well, simply don"t tell anybody, girlfriend know. So we all we never ever said anything about it.


Darlene Wolfgram walk tell her daughter, though, and also the daughter there through me ended up marrying Sue"s brother, Bob, she the older.


however even she never ever divulged the secret to Bob or any kind of of the McDonald"s. Here she is. Her surname is additionally Sue.


So, no, ns didn"t since it was always just a rumor. And I thought, well, he"ll think I"m nuts, you know? and he was an extremely angry at first with me. And also I he said, why wouldn"t you have told me that? and also I said, would certainly you have thought me? ns mean, I"d say, gee, assumption: v what, Bob, i don"t think your sister is yours. Well, girlfriend know, there to be no DNA testing back then or anything else.


That"s what most human being in town seem to feel, that wasn"t their ar to lug up such a thing, especially with no means to recognize if it to be true for sure. What that expected was the after chemistry finally uncovered out the truth in 1994, civilization started coming up to her in church, largely casually stating that they"d known about it every along. I was surprised the nobody really ever told united state the booms, the teenager or the Lancs, the Hasan"s. I just couldn"t believe it.


I simply I just thought it was odd that so many world would know in a town of our size, i m sorry is favor 50, 500 people, once that many world were mindful of it, the the news didn"t gain to us. Slowly, anger began to collection in. K to be angry that Mrs. Müller hadn"t repair things ago in 1951, the Mrs. Miller had hijacked she life in this way, and also she to be angry that Mrs. Miller placed Sue in the challenging position of having actually to rest news choose this to she parents and also angry that now the Millers were questioning so lot of Sue"s time and also attention, it obtained so negative she had to walk on medication because that high blood pressure.


ns felt they to be trying come take she away indigenous us. And Susan constantly had said to me, Mom, why didn"t you have any an ext children after i was born? She want to it is in a part of a huge family. So climate she uncovered out she had all of these, um, brothers and also sisters and also the phone calls were fewer. And also I and also of course, Marty didn"t really speak to a entirety lot. She"s a an extremely busy gal, and also I to be not having that much communication with her.


And. I assumed I was shedding both of them. Kay McDonald began getting notes and phone calls native Reverend Miller. The told her that he believed it to be God"s will certainly that this had actually happened. Even so, the asked her for forgiveness again and also again. He"s just outright he"s just saying, deserve to you pardon me just just like that on the telephone. Yes. And quoting scriptures all the moment for me to read to console me, due to the fact that I had actually said that I had actually I had burned a lot of tears and also and I had actually probably every one of the emotions that you have with fatality in a family.


you know, ns think I got in a type of a depression about similar to what i did when my mother died. And so, of course, he was trying to get me come say that I had forgiven them and. Just how did you feel when he stated this to be God"s will? i mean, what was her reaction? ns couldn"t believe that since I don"t ns don"t have that feeling around I don"t think God. Punishes united state in any kind of way. Ns think what we do is pretty lot our very own doing.


but he had actually everybody convinced, i think, the it to be God"s will, yet I had talked to numerous of our former pastors that knew around the situation, and also they assured me the this was not God"s will.


when I pointed out that, ns told Mrs. Miller, ns felt that it to be God"s will when she realized the she might not have the ideal child, ns think it to be his will certainly that she perform something around it.


She composed that letter to Mrs. Miller eight years after she learned the truth. That"s how long it took she to kind out she feelings. Kay mc donalds in the miller is ultimately reached a kind of detente.


Kay is no longer angry the way she was, however she says she"ll never understand why granny Miller remained silent for all those years.


If I had as solid a emotion as she did that I had actually the dorn baby, ns would have actually pursued it. Ns don"t care whether mine husband objected or not, I. I feel like I should have made it a wrong right into a right. Ns only had one daughter and also she had 5 daughters. In fact, we were also weren"t even sure we"d have another child, for this reason of course, we were elated as soon as I did acquire pregnant and also and climate to think that ns didn"t get to progressive the one the I had actually wanted to so lot and.


So. I never will probably understand why, i mean. I"ve forgiven them, but that doesn"t median that I have actually forgotten. I have the right to still wonder why and probably never ever will know why it didn"t come up any type of sooner.


mar Miller is 96 now, she lives by it s her in the country, her residence is filled v the remnants of her and Norbert"s life together in the church. They were married for 60 years.


There"s a large statue the an angel in her sitting room which she"s to plan to put on her very own grave.


as soon as I first talked to Mrs. Miller about what had happened once Marty to be born, she called me pretty much the same story. She called in her letter how she knew as soon as she obtained home and also weighed the baby that the nurses had made a mistake.


Yes, ns told her, i think we have the wrong baby. And also he said, well, i wouldn"t disgrace the doctor by telling him it offered the not correct baby. And also he said, this is a nice little baby. We"ll save her.


Well, as soon as your husband said to you, this baby"s cute, let"s keep it. Did you agree through him automatically or to be there a little bit of arguing back and forth end what come do?


No, us didn"t obtain that. Yet I kept trying to find her and also I was always asking anyone who might have seen her, and that day as soon as I would go down, have any touch with the McDonald"s, we we acquired introduced to them, I, ns tried to talk to her about it and she she told somebody that ns was crazy. I assumed I had a girl.


It to be a small surreal come hear she talk around it in this way, laughing like that, particularly after hearing McDonald"s next of things. However then Mrs. Miller said me more of her side that the story. Because that one thing, she described just just how sick she was after they"d gone house with Marty in 1951. She was shedding blood and also having spasms. She thought she was going to die.


She said me the she even started calling approximately trying to discover someone who"d be a mom to her 6 children. The sickness, she said, lasted for six or 7 months by the moment she was, well, addressing the baby"s, which problem was that much harder. Also if she could somehow convince anyone it was true. What would occur if you unexpectedly took a six month old far from the only mommy she knew? and also the family"s relationship with Dr. Deathlok to be no tiny thing, either.


Reverend Miller had actually made plenty of visits come Dr. Dislocates wife once she was sick, and also now Dr. Deathlok refused to fee the Millers for anything. The Millers didn"t have much money and they might not have actually been able come afford the health care otherwise.


that course, the dead time because that doing that. This doctor had been sort to us and good to us. And also why ruin all that?


girlfriend know, that"s a huge consideration since Mrs. Fearbut didn"t want to cross her husband.


every she could do was hope that maybe if she dropped sufficient hints, phone call the girls, sisters and also such, Kay would eventually realize ~ above her very own what had happened.


He was an odd strategy, if you can even speak to it that. When Sue got married, because that instance, the Millers gave her a trivett Norbert had actually made the map was signed from her other feasible parents. Sue dismissed that as component of the entirety sister thing, however she additionally thought was sort of weird. Mrs. Miller"s most ambitious scheme occurred after the girls graduated from high school as soon as they were about to be 18. Mrs. Müller arranged for the McDonald"s to involved dinner.


She figured if she might simply get Kate a look at Marti Caywood figure things out, the night just became kind that baffling for everyone involved. Because only Mrs. Miller knew what was going on, however they didn"t an alert any.


ns don"t know why they didn"t an alert that Marta looked prefer them and also looks like them. I don"t understand why they didn"t say. The fact is Mrs. Fearbut longed because that Sue because that her organic daughter ever since she realized the mistake ago in 1951, yet it seemed futile trying to to convince her husband, Norbert.


i I think it"s not ideal to do that, girlfriend know. To store the storage of those baby. And then castle go appropriate to do that. And every time i talked to him, he"d say, oh, it"s every right, it"ll be all right. And. Ns can"t tell girlfriend how difficult it was, but I acquired me every along. To be you afraid of Norburg in ~ all? Well, I know I wasn"t afraid. Ns mean, ns knew the were things I couldn"t do and.


and keep his friendship, you know, if ns turn versus him, like, obtained on that. And, uh. I guess you have the right to understand. Ns I didn"t want I would as with that thing due to the fact that that would ruin our marriage, I would run it. And that no one around. Ns think small children take treatment of. Was there ever before a time when you thought back and believed I should have stood mine ground an ext with that on that? No, ns guess i haven"t, since I knew.


the wouldn"t work. I couldn"t execute anything. Norbert and also I had a great time while us were together, but. Nobody should have actually gone back and claimed this is no maybe. And also this to be a negative decision, yet he didn"t establish what effect that have the right to make.


neither Sue nor Marty blames Mrs. Miller for going together with her husband. They to speak they"re no angry through her. Castle knew Reverend Miller. They know what their connection was like. They know why she didn"t speak out sooner. Forty two years after the switch, Reverend Miller lastly laid eye on Sue at the McDonald"s wedding anniversary party. And the moment he witnessed her, he knew that she to be his biological daughter. She looked exactly like him. In ~ last, Mrs.


Yeah. I wanted him come agree v me. And also he did, and he did. But, boy, that was really for me. Due to the fact that it was destructive that hang over your head and. It"s collection that up and. It took an awful long time and also I"m sorry for. One point Mrs. Fearbut doesn"t regret is raising Marty. She remembers Marty always lightening the the atmosphere in their house as a kid.


She said she was really live choose he constantly had jokes. She had actually joked every day, and also you keep us laughing. You know, it was it was an excellent for us to laugh. Oh, really great for us. However, at. Ns mean, the my youngsters are every serious around their life yet, no, they"re more like i am prior to when I"d asked girlfriend if you thought it to be God"s will.


You stated yes. And also is the reason due to the fact that Marty lugged something vital to your family, girlfriend cheated.


She carried happiness. Too ~ Sue, I"m writing you this short note come officially offer you mine welcome to this fearbut family and relationship.


This is Sue analysis a letter she gained some time back from her brand-new found fearbut sister Faith, despite there are many, many great things about our family and parents and also being raised by the family.


over there were additionally some identify deficits. If you"re ever curious regarding what they were, I would be an extremely willing to to fill you in.


in between ourselves, Ruth and also me, us or at least I always figured friend lucked out, more than likely Martha, with her happy go happy nature, might take the climate that the Miller home better. And also we hope you thrived in the McDonald household. Wow, wow. For this reason she"s usually I mean, that"s so she"s usually saying come you, girlfriend may have actually acquired a break here. Gift in the household I locked out, ns lucked out.


i mean, space there times once you once you feeling a little bit guilty about kind of having actually lucked out through the home that was, friend know, possibly a tiny bit easier to flourish up in? Well, sure, i guess, yeah, a tiny bit the guilt, but it"s no my it"s not my fault. There to be nothing ns didn"t have anything to execute with it.


my sister confidence called and she to be talking around the way her mother would talk to her, and I"m thinking just how would I have actually survived with that sort of upbringing? girlfriend know, ns didn"t flourish up like that at all. I don"t know exactly how I would have actually survived. Yet Sue says there room a most things she missed the end on, too, through not cultivation up at the Millers, the family did all kinds of hobbies, painting and rock polishing and 3D photography.


They had actually dogs and also raised angora rabbits. Every sorts of exciting people pertained to the house, guests from out of town and missionaries. It was a different way of living, one the she admires. As for Marty, she doesn"t like to dwell ~ above the id that Sue could have to be the one who lucked out. Does the thought ever cross her mind? What if the switch hadn"t been made, however if the McDonald"s had actually just take away me home and also I had actually grown increase in the residence with my biological parents, my biological brother, that would i be?


Oh, that"s a funny question, I. Ns really. Ns really just thought about that one time, I just let myself think about it one time, it to be actually right after i met them and also I was going back to my my mother"s house. So i left practicing and I was driving. And also it was then that I began thinking, oh, mine gosh, friend know, my life would have actually been therefore different.


and also as ns the much more I thought about it, the an ext I realized, friend know, i can"t think around this since it"ll journey me stunner if ns do. And also so I type of make a promise come myself that. Ns would just never go down that roadway again, that ns was not going to simply not going to go there. And I yes, really haven"t, since there"s no point. It"s nice rare the Marty and also Sue actually meet face to face once every couple of years, they get together for a large family gathering a wedding, a graduation, a funeral.


This summer, Bob McDonald, younger son, acquired married in period. Ashin Sheen. As soon as Marty proved up at the home for brunch the work after the wedding, she couldn"t have actually seemed an ext at residence with the family that she didn"t satisfy until she 40s. She turns the groom and handed Bob"s older kid a existing for his baby.


It"s a tiny late for her child. It"s before kindergarten, therefore it"s OK. Yeah. Therefore it"s a birthday present.


once Sue arrived, she slipped in quietly. This to be the side of the household she was increased with, but she appeared tense, watching together Marty made the rounds, everyone laughing, having the two of lock so close to each other was a small awkward.


human being were definitely aware whenever both women were in the exact same room. In ~ one allude toward the finish of the party, as Sue stood nearby, Marty began talking around the room that she had actually grown up in. In the fearbut household. Every the girls to be in the very same room. Marty common a bed v her sister Faith and had come crawl with this vent to acquire to the bathroom in ~ night due to the fact that faith would certainly block the doorway to the hall.


So rather of going in the hall and going, oh, that would more than likely register going in the front. Well, mine sisters had actually this crazy thing going on as soon as they were when faith was a teenager, she would push the dresser and the cedar chest against the door.


and also in the room you were in, you average that"s that it was the an initial time I"d checked out them talk to each other. Yeah. In the room that we slept in the with the register to get to the bathroom, you had to go under the bed and also crawl like a dog door.


and also what to be what was her your room favor you in your very own room to our room. Yes ns did. And also my very own bed to every little thing I might about. Yeah. Everything it to be a various life.


Mrs. Miller claims she worries for Marty and also Sue about whether they"ll ever truly get along. However there"s no question things have actually gotten much better between the 2 girls and their moms. Kay McDonald is still tight with Sue, the daughter she raised, but she"s likewise much closer v Marty. Kay and Marty both cried once Marty left the wedding because that California. And things are great with Mrs. Miller to Marty"s embraced that despite some that the clumsy things that her mother said and did when she broke the news come her, she meant well.


Marty phone call Mrs. Miller once a main to inspect up ~ above her, similar to does now that the big family concerns are mostly worked out. One of the toughest things both Marty and Sue have to deal with is logistical. Having actually two set of parents and two complete sets of siblings and cousins is sort of a practical headache. There room birthdays and graduations and figuring out wherein to invest holidays. Previously this month, Sue"s daughter acquired married in Michigan. Every the Millers to be invited and also all the McDonalds to be to Marty thought about whether she need to go.


but in the end, she do the trip because she"s a Miller and also so is Sue and she"s a McDonald and also so is Sue. Jake Halpern, he"s the organize of the new podcast Deep Cover, around an FBI agent who goes undercover with an outlaw motorcycle gang.


It"s obtainable wherever you acquire your podcasts and. Our routine was created today by jane Marie and myself, our employee for today"s show consists of Alex Blumberg, buy it Koenig, Seth Lind, Lisa Pollak, Robin Semion. It was Matt Tierney, Nancy Updike and Diane Wu. Our an elderly producer for this episode is Julie Snyder, music indigenous Jessica Hopper. Special thanks to Sheri Weaver, JRA Nelson and also Gregg Williams. Thanks particularly to the McDonald and Miller households for letting us into their homes and also telling your stories.

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This American life is yielded to public radio stations by parks. The public Radio Exchange. Many thanks as always to a program"s cofounder, mr to, friend know, to run a huge radio station was not always the dream job that he wanted. No, no, no. His heart to be elsewhere. Ns tried out for cheerleading. I simply couldn"t do it. And also I want to it is in a cheerleader, girlfriend know, i didn"t get picked.


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