Swapped baby girls come home to stay

Veronika and Nikolka, photo: CTK

Nikolka and Veronika, two baby girls accidentally swapped at birth, are now back with their biological parents. After an agonizing eight weeks their parents took the plunge and finally swapped back their children.

Veronika and Nikolka, photo: CTK
It was never going to be an easy decision, but the parents of little Nikolka and Veronika say they had no idea just how hard it would be to let go and say goodbye to a child they had cared for as their own. For eight weeks they kept swapping the babies and swapping back again. In the end it was little Veronika who helped make the final decision. After four days spent with her biological parents on a trip to Germany where the family appeared in a talk show, Veronika burst into tears when she was about to be returned to her other parents, for the first time clinging to her biological mother. Her father Jaroslav Broz says that was the turning point.

“Our psychologist said this prolonged uncertainty was bad for the children. That it was time to make the swap definite. The girls perceive things differently now and new bonds have formed. So we’ll take the plunge and if they can handle it so can we. Making this swap was always going to be hard – whether now, next week or in a month’s time. We just have to do what’s best for the girls.”

Originally the plan was to swap the children on New Years Day, but as things are Nikolka and Veronika will be with their biological parents on their first birthday – December 9. The two families –who have become close friends – say they will celebrate their birthdays together: one day in Veronika’s new home, the next in Nikolka’s. Christmas will also see them under one roof and in January they are planning a holiday together. Their psychologist had recommended that after the swap they shouldn’t see each other for six weeks in order to let the children settle down. But that seems too much to ask –especially of the mothers – who have both had difficulties coming to terms with the situation. For the time being they say they will take things step by step looking only that far ahead. Child psychologist Alena Cerna says that is the way to go.

“I think that it is essential that the adults put the needs of the babies above their own feelings in this matter. There is no doubt that the situation is very difficult for the parents but as adults they are in a better position to cope with the problem.”

What will the children remember of this first year? There is some controversy over that – some psychologists say that the first year is extremely important and what has happened will come back and in some way influence their lives, others say that the children are still very young and they may forget and settle down.

“Well, it is true that the first year of our life is very important but again I would point out that in that first year both children were brought up in a loving home and even if their parents were not their biological parents they did not suffer any harm. They were loved and accepted and I think it is possible they will have no memories of this later in life because it happened at an early stage of their development – even before they started to talk – so if the parents are reasonable about this I don’t think there should be any serious problems.”