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SARASOTA, Fla. -- A 10-year-old Florida girl responded with tears, confusion and curiosity upon learning that she is the biological child of a couple she has never met, her father said.
Robert Mays broke the news to Kimberly Michelle, the daughter he has raised, after learning Friday that genetic tests showed that there is a 99.999995 percent chance she is the daughter of Regina and Ernest Twigg.
Mays's biological daughter apparently was switched just days after her birth with the Twiggs' child at the Wachula hospital where both girls were born.
Mays, a single parent, said Wednesday that he planned to tell his daughter the results of the test during a long weekend trip on their boat, but she sensed he was upset Friday when she returned home from school.
'She noticed the bags were packed and asked if we were going out on our boat,' Mays said. 'Then she looked at me and asked me what was the matter. She cried for a long time. She's feeling in her own way a sense of confusion. But she still calls me Daddy. And nothing is going to change as far as family is concerned.
'There is a certain amount of curiosity since there is another complete family out there that is biologically hers,' Mays said.
Mays would not agree to allow genetic tests to be conducted on Kimberly until the Twiggs agreed not to seek custody of her.
'I'm terribly upset. I'm terribly surprised,' Mays said. 'I feel a sense of betrayal toward the hospital.'
Ernest and Regina Twigg, who then lived in Pennsylvania, learned through blood tests last year that neither of them was the parent of the daughter they had raised. Arlena Twigg died last year after open-heart surgery never having learned of the controversy. She was buried in an Indiana, Pa., cemetery last year.
The death triggered the Twiggs' search for their biological daughter. Records showed Kimberly Mays was the only other white girl born at the hospital during that week.
Kimberly has always celebrated her birthday on Nov. 29, though she actually was born three days later on Dec. 2.
'We decided we'd (celebrate Kimberly's birthday) on the 29th,' Mays said in a quivering voice. 'Sort of in rememberance of Arlena.'
The Twiggs, who moved last fall to Sebring, Fla., have requested visitation rights. Mays declined Wednesday to give his opinion on that request.
'This is (Kimberly's) decision,' Mays said. 'She's the one whose feelings, rights and decisions should be respected. It's time for both sides to consider Kim.'
Kimberly will be meeting with two psychologists -- one selected by Mays, another by the Twiggs -- to determine how meeting her biological family would affect her.
If the two families cannot agree on visitation, the decision will be made by a judge.
Mays said of the loss of his biological daughter: 'I feel a sense of loss there. I was deprived of having a say-so in her life. I couldn't make a difference in her life.'