Kay Rene Reed Qualls of Condon, Ore., often wondered whether she actually belonged in her family, ABC News reports. After all, she was the only brunette in a light-haired household, and she'd even heard whisperings from her older sisters over the years that perhaps she wasn't actually related to them. Little did Kay Rene know that DeeAnn Angell Schafer, a woman just down the road in Fossil, Ore., had experienced similar doubts about her own biological origins.
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Kay Rene and DeeAnn's lingering apprehensions trace back to the day they were both born at Pioneer Memorial Hospital in Heppner, Ore., on May 3, 1953. According to ABC News, the two baby girls were switched at birth during their baths and so ensued two separate lifetimes under the wrong roofs. Then in 2008 Kay Rene's brother Bobby received a life-changing phone call from an elderly woman: A former neighbor of the Angells, who knew Bobby's mother too, wanted to show him a photograph of DeeAnn's sister. The woman looked remarkably like Kay Rene, the sister he'd grown up with. Now that the long-standing gossip seemed legitimate, Bobby eventually approached his other sisters with the information, and Kay Rene was eventually notified of the shocking revelation.

ABC News reports that in April of 2009, Kay Rene and DeeAnn underwent DNA testing to prove that they had, in fact, been switched at birth those long 56 years ago. Both women, who now have children and grandchildren and were deeply entrenched in the lives they always knew, explain the emotional repercussions of such a jarring discovery. Kay Rene reports feeling guilty for living a life she's not sure was hers, while DeeAnn admits to ABC News that she feels "sad," having never known her biological parents who are now deceased.

Jan Goodwin from More Magazine followed up with the women in 2011. Kay Rene admits, "We are still just picking our way through it all, trying to find a course that will work for us. There’s nothing we can do to change what happened. We’re both lucky that our lives, even if they weren’t meant to be ours, have been good." Despite the identity crisis she still copes with, DeeAnn notes, “I love Kay Rene. I feel like she’s my best friend in the whole wide world, which is not surprising, since we’ve lived each other’s lives.”