Aug. 15, 2006 — -- Lydia Fairchild was a proud mother who faced the most unusual of challenges. She had to fight in court to prove the children born from her body were her own.
"I knew that I carried them, and I knew that I delivered them. There was no doubt in my mind," Fairchild said.
Fairchild's fight for her kids began when she was 26-years-old, unemployed and applying for public assistance in Washington state. Everyone in her family had to be tested to prove they were all related.
The Department of Social Services called Fairchild and told her to come in immediately. What Fairchild thought was a routine meeting with a social worker turned into an interrogation. The proud mother was suddenly a criminal suspect.
"As I sat down, they came up and shut the door, and they just went back and just started drilling me with questions like, 'Who are you?'" Fairchild said.
The DNA test results challenged everything she knew about her family. Yes, her boyfriend was the father of the children, and, yes, they were all related, according to the DNA, except for Fairchild. She was told she wasn't the mother.
Fairchild was certain a mistake must have been made, but she recalled a social worker saying to her, "Nope. DNA is 100 percent foolproof and it doesn't lie."
Fairchild was not only denied government assistance for her young children, she was now suspected of possibly acting as a paid surrogate mother and committing welfare fraud. She was in danger of having her kids taken away for good.
Fairchild said before she left, the social worker told her, "You know, we're able to come get your kids at any time."
Fairchild began to panic. She knew they were her kids. So she rushed home to search for photos of her pregnancy and found her children's birth certificates. She told her parents, who couldn't believe the test results.
"I thought she was joking but then she started crying on the phone. I said 'Oh, it's got to be a mistake. I was there when the kids were born. I saw them come out. I held them in my arms, you know,'" said Fairchild's mother, Carol Fairchild.
"I almost went insane inside. I couldn't imagine why if this could happen, my daughter is not a liar," said Fairchild's father, Rod Fairchild.
Fairchild called her obstetrician, Dr. Leonard Dreisbach. He was there for all the births and assured Fairchild he'd vouch for her in court.
"I would have told them that she certainly had these three kids, and that they were hers, and that I don't know what's wrong with the DNA testing, but I know that she had the kids," Dreisbach said.
But none of that seemed to matter, because DNA tests were considered infallible -- the gold standard in court. DNA showed that Fairchild's genetic makeup did not match that of her children.
To eliminate any chance of human error, new DNA tests were ordered from different labs. It was an agonizing wait, but the results were the same: The children weren't hers.
Fairchild knew then that she was close to losing her kids. After three court hearings, she said the judge looked at her and told her to find a lawyer.
It was another uphill battle in the courtrooms. Most of the attorneys Fairchild turned to were not willing to fight DNA evidence.