A DNA test from Ancestry.com revealed much more than what Tina Ennis and Jill Lopez bargained for.
The two women learned that they were switched at birth May 18, 1964, by staff at Duncan Physicians Surgeons Hospital in Oklahoma City — each going home with the other’s parents 57 years ago.
The Daily Beast has reported that the two women, along with Kathryn Jones — who raised Ennis but gave birth to Lopez — are suing the hospital for the screwup.
Ennis said she only meant to bond with her daughter when the pair decided to take Ancestry.com tests in 2019, determined to locate Ennis’ estranged grandfather — who would turn out to be no relation at all.
But while intriguing, the results of their investigation have left all three women feeling adrift.
“It has not been something I would wish on anyone,” Ennis told the Daily Beast.
After Ennis and Jones took the DNA tests, the results showed no familiar relatives on their family tree. However, on Ennis’ results, there was an overwhelming number of family members with the last name Brister. Jones told her daughter she didn’t know any Bristers in their family.
That’s when Ennis and her mother became convinced that she had been switched at birth.
It was true that Ennis looked different from her siblings. But she chalked up the differences to her estranged father — Jones’ ex-husband who left when she was just 2. Besides that, she never had reason to believe her family wasn’t related to her.
“I never felt like I didn’t belong,” Ennis insisted.
Jones submitted further DNA testing, but the results came back missing her daughter and granddaughter. They called Ancestry.com to go over the confusing results. “You know, you find out some interesting things on Ancestry,” Ennis recalled the representative saying.
Using social media, Ennis tracked down Lopez, in Lawton, Oklahoma. She learned that Lopez had been raised by the late Joyce and John Brister in rural Oklahoma City. To their surprise, Lopez was receptive to the shocking claim, and agreed to take a test — removing all doubt that Lopez was indeed the biological daughter of Jones.
Jones knew it was true the instant she saw an image of Lopez.
“The first thing she thought was, ‘Where was I when that was taken?’ and ‘I don’t remember those clothes,’ because she actually looked just like me,” Jones said. “And it devastated me.”
The families have since filed suit in Stephens County District Court in Oklahoma against the hospital, alleging recklessness and negligent infliction of emotional distress, as the lives of three women and their families have been turned upside down by the truth.
The hospital has denied allegations, claiming that the facility where the two women were born no longer exists, as the location had merged with a separate hospital system by 1975. However, a judge has denied their motion to dismiss, according to the Daily Beast. A lawyer for the hospital declined to comment further on the case to the publication.
Now, nearly three years after the ordeal began, they’re still struggling to move forward — each unsure how to navigate their own new realities.
“I felt like I was losing my daughter and my grandchildren too,” Jones said.
“I just had to get my emotions straight for awhile, because it’s a whole lot to get your mind around,” Lopez added. “Like, you had a mom and I had a mom, and now I have a different mom.”
Meanwhile, Ennis admitted she’s jealous of Lopez at times.
“Jill got to be with my real parents, and now she gets to be with my parents I grew up with,” she said. “I didn’t know what to think about it at first, but the more I think about it, it makes me really sad.”