On New Years’ Even in 1998, two baby girls were born at a hospital in a Sicilian fishing port, Mazara del Vallo.

The babies were accidentally swapped at birth, and when the mothers discovered the true three years later, they decided to raise them both together.

According to The Times, the two mothers raised the girls, Caterina Alagna and Melissa Fodera, on their own, believing they each had their biological child. But after three years, the truth accidentally came out.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

An Italian news site reported that at preschool, one of the teachers accidentally handed Caterina over to her biological mom, Marinella. The teacher assumed Marinella was her mother given the similarities they shared.

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The Times noted that Marinella grew suspicious since she recognized Caterina’s “mom,” Gisella Fodera, from the hospital ward where they were both giving birth. Not only that, but Caterina had a striking resemblance to Marinella’s other biological children.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The mothers decided to get a DNA test, and they were shocked to learn the truth: They had been raising the wrong girls!

At first, they were hesitant to “switch” kids back. After three years of parenting their daughters, it didn’t feel right to make such a drastic change for any of them.


Speaking with The Times, Fodera said, “I challenge anyone to raise a daughter for three years then give her up over a simple mistake.”

However, they eventually made the decision to switch back – but slowly and gently.

They decided the best way to go about things was to raise the girls together. They even went as far as to live in the same house for a period of time.

Photo: flickr/Fabrice Florin

They ended up growing incredibly close and the two girls became like sisters. According to The Times, Caterina said, “We are a phenomenon. We have eight grandparents, two fathers, and two mothers.”

Caterinaand Melissa learned the truth about their parents when they were eight years old. They both seem happy with their family life and are glad to have both sets of parents.

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