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Couple Finally Allowed To Take Son Swapped At Birth Home To The U.S.

Richard Cushworth and his wife, Mercedes Casanella, had to wait almost a year for official documents after they were reunited with their son Moses last year.

Posted on June 2, 2016, at 9:26 a.m. ET

A British man and his wife have finally been allowed to take their baby son home to the U.S. after he was switched at birth with another child in El Salvador.

BBC / Via

Richard Cushworth, from West Yorkshire in the U.K., and his Salvadoran wife, Mercedes Casanella, were reunited with their son Moses eight months ago after a DNA test proved the child they had taken home was not their son.

The couple said it felt "wonderful" to return with their son, after waiting almost a year for Moses' birth certificate to be approved. Without it, they were unable to return home to Dallas, Texas.

But the cost of obtaining a birth certificate for their son nearly bankrupted the family, Cushworth said.

"It has forced our family to be separated, it's been awful," he added. "I thought it would be a matter of days, maybe weeks but not nine months. It has been dreadful."

Cushworth had traveled to El Salvador with Casanella for the birth of their first child in May 2015.

But Casanella became suspicious after they returned home and she noticed that the baby boy appeared to have much darker skin and slightly different features than the child she was handed immediately following her emergency caesarean.

The couple took a DNA test, which proved there was 0% chance the child was related to them.

"The thought that the baby I had been nursing, taken care of, loving him, bathing him — that he was not mine," Casanella told the BBC. "And then I had another thought which came with — where's my baby?"

"I just felt a panic that my only child was lost or stolen," Cushworth said.

"I fell to the floor. If this wasn't my baby, where IS my baby?" Mercy Cushworth tells @BBCr4today

The couple, who are Christian missionaries, had feared their baby had been swapped to be sold by child traffickers, The Guardian reported last year.

Today, they told the BBC they still had no idea why their child had been taken.

Their son was swapped back with other boy, Jacob, when both children were four months old. But the couple also spoke of the pain in parting from the baby they had raised as their own for months.

"Even when I did the DNA tests, I thought I was betraying him," Casanella said. "That was the feeling I had — I'm betraying my son but I cannot live with this."

Charges against Dr. Alejandro Guidos, the gynecologist at the Centro Ginecologico hospital who delivered Casanella's baby, were dropped two weeks ago.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.