Sophie Serrano, a mother, made headlines around the world after it was revealed the daughter she had raised for 10 years was not her own. She has now spoken of how they have rebuilt their lives following the earth-shattering revelations.
According to Daily Mail, Sophie , 40, from Grasse, France, had her first baby 21 years ago but negligence on the maternity ward where she gave birth led to her being given the wrong child to take home.
It was a decade later after taking a DNA test that she learnt the daughter she has raised and loved, Manon, was not her own.
Then after meeting their biological relatives – who have always wished to remain anonymous to the press – the families took the heartbreaking decision to remain strangers to one another.
Speaking on the latest episode of TLC’S Separated At Birth, Sophie said this was the only way they could all carry on happily with their lives.
She now has no contact with her biological daughter while Manon has cut ties with her biological mother.
Explaining the difficult decision, Sophie said: ‘After we all met it was hard for us to go back to our normal lives. It was the same for them. So in order to go back to our normal lives we don’t see each other any more.’
She said the situation hasn’t changed how she feels about Manon.
‘Her place in my heart is untouchable,’ she said.
Manon agreed saying she feels closer to Sophie as a result of what they have been through.
‘We have a close relationship a bond of love and trust, our relationship has been strengthened,’ she said.
Sophie, who also has a daughter Laura, 17, and Mickael, 12, and had another baby this year, first discovered when Manon was ten that she was not her biological daughter.
Speaking of the moment she discovered the truth, Sophie said: ‘It was like I’d been knocked down. I thought “Oh my god, the babies were swapped at birth”.’
She said breaking the news to Manon was devastating.
‘I knew from the moment I told her the news I would change her life forever. I was scared, very scared,’ she said. ‘I worried that when the other parents found out about her existence they’ll want to take her back.’
Speaking to the TLC show, Manon said she was also scared about what the future would hold when she was first told of her true parentage at the age of nine.
She recalls: ‘In the space of two sentences my world fell apart. I had lost my identity, my family. I was scared of being separated from her (Sophie).
‘I had been with her for almost ten years of my life. I didn’t want to be taken away from her.’
Sophie has previously revealed in the MailOnline how the terrible mix up took place.
She explained: ‘After putting two babies in the cot, the child care assistant who was sick and had been drinking swapped the babies and brought me another familiy’s baby in my baby’s clothes.’
Eighteen at the time her daughter was born, Sophie had queried if the child was hers when brought to her for leaving as she looked different to how she remembered. Her skin seemed darker and her hair longer but she accepted the explanation that it was the result of exposure to the UV lights.
She said: ‘I had hardly seen her the first few days. I was tired, the families were visiting and you feel powerless too with all the doctors and nurses. You do what you’re told.’
Mother and daughter pictured together
As Manon grew up, she had darker hair and skin than the rest of her family causing rumours to circulate where they lived that Sophie must have had an affair to produce such a child.
Her father, who had been slower to bond with his daughter, began to have doubts about whether she was his. The stress took its toll her relationship and Sophie and Manon’s father separated.
When he stopped paying child maintenance lawyers suggested a paternity test would make the payments enforceable.
It was thanks to this test that Sophie made the shocking discovery that she was not Manon’s mother – and that she had another daughter somewhere in the world.
Investigations revealed the other family were still in the same region of France leading to them all being reunited.
Sophie recalls of the first meeting ten years ago: ‘We arrived. My biological daughter ran towards me and jumped into my arms. I was overwhelmed because the last time I had held her in my arms was ten years ago.
‘I really saw the similarities in her eyes, her hair, her face, her smile and the similarities with her father, my ex partner. It was really moving. I didn’t want to let her go.’
Meanwhile Manon said that she felt happy to finally discover where she got her looks from.
‘I had my biological father’s nose, the eye colour of both my biological parents. It was all these small facial details, the reasons my hair was like this. In some ways I was happy to see myself in someone else physically speaking,’ she said.
However she said it was also ‘distressing’ as ‘they were strangers I didn’t feel I belonged to them because what makes a family is love.’
The families continued to meet up initially until they started meeting less and less, before making the decision that it would be easier to move on if they stayed out of one another’s lives.
Last year, both families were finally awarded compensation for what had happened following a civil court case.
Sophie said the nurse who had swapped the babies caused ‘immense suffering’ to both families.
She said they were glad they had finally been given compensation for what had happened with a £1.5m payout between the two families.
‘This was unforgiveable negligence,’ she said. ‘For all these years the clinic never apologised, never questioned themselves, and even tried to attack us by saying we should have known our babies were not our own.’