MOSCOW — A Russian court on Monday ordered a maternity home to pay an equivalent of $100,000 in compensation to each of the two families whose babies it has accidentally switched at birth.
The two families only have found recently through DNA tests that their 12-year old daughters were switched by mistake after their birth, and their drama has captivated the nation.
The parents laughed in joy and embraced each other in the footage from the courtroom in Kopeisk in Russia's Ural Mountains after the judge delivered the verdict. The compensation is huge by Russian standards, where an average monthly wage currently stands at the equivalent of some $500.
The families learned about the swap after the former husband of one of the mothers, Yuliya Belyaeva, had refused to support their daughter, Irina, because she didn't look like him.
A DNA test revealed that neither of them were Irina's biological parent. An official investigation tracked down her real parents and found Belyayeva's own child.
Despite winning the court battle, Belyayeva continues to feel bitter.
"All the money in the world isn't worth a child's look at mother," Belyayeva said in televised remarks. "I wish they could put our lives in place."
The girls don't want to leave the parents who raised them, but the families are thinking about spending the compensation to get houses close to each other.
"I would like us to share a house so that we don't worry about her daughter coming to me and the other way round," Irina's biological father, Naimat Iskanderov said.
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