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California Woman Reunited With Son She Was Told Died At Birth 30 Years Ago

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Who Is Tina Bejarano Gardere? New Details On Woman Reunited With Son She Was Told Died At Birth 30 Years Ago

Losing a baby right after giving birth is a nightmare for any parent. For Tina Bejarano, that has been her reality. Twenty-nine years ago, when she was 17 years old, Bejarano gave birth to a baby. After the birth, her mother told her that the baby died 15 minutes after delivery. But that story was a lie. In reality, Bejarano's mother placed the infant for adoption and never told her daughter what she did.

For decades, Bejarano has been mourning the death of her first child, even as she got married and had a wonderful family with her husband. But last year, she took a DNA test and everything about the story of her long lost baby changed. Everything she thought she knew about what happened when she was a teenager turned out not to be true. 

In a nearly miraculous story, Bejanaro has been reunited with the baby she thought had died thanks to a home DNA test.

Who is Tina Bejarano Gardere?

Read on for the amazing story.

She grew up in an abusive home.

Bejanaro says that she hasn't spoken to her family in decades. She grew up with her mother and stepfather but she described them to reporters as abusive. They don't have contact now, but when she was a teen, she was living and home and her mother was in control of her life. 

She was only 17 when she became pregnant for the first time and her mother told her she wasn't allowed to keep the baby. She delivered her baby girl but Bejarano says her mother came and told that the newborn didn't survive. "The next day, she comes back to tell me, 'The baby died 15 minutes after it was born. It never made it. It was sick,'" she said.

Bejarano's mother placed her up for a clandestine adoption.

In actuality, Bejarano's mother did something unspeakably cruel to her daughter. She placed the baby — her own grandchild — up for adoption without telling her daughter what was happening. The child was adopted five days later by a couple in Las Vegas and grew up in a loving home. In all those years, however, Bejarano never stopped mourning for her lost baby. She says that around the date of the baby's birth and alleged death, she would cry all the time.  "It was a hard time every year," Bejanaro's husband Eric Gardere told KMPH. "She would go into a major depression," added.

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She took a DNA test and received surprising results.

Bejarano married Gardere not long after the birth of her first child. He was not the father of that baby but he shared her grief over the loss, marking the anniversary of the baby's birth and supposed death together each year. They also had five more children together in the years that followed.

Last year, one of their daughters suggested that her mom do a commercial DNA test to learn more about their heritage. Bejarano went ahead with the DNA test and sent it in. After doing that, her information was added to the kind genealogical database that people can use to trace their family trees. Those services are also useful for adoptees trying to find out more information about their biological families. Bejarano's long lost baby did just that and found a match to Bejarano's DNA.

That's when she got an email with the surprise of her life. A man in New Jersey wrote to her saying: "I think we need to talk, it says we’re related, and it says you’re my mom.” 

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Her long lost baby — who she thought was dead — was living in New Jersey.

The email was from a man named Kristin who is currently living in New Jersey with his wife and baby. He told Bejanaro that he is the long lost baby she thought had died. He had never known much about his biological mother, which only makes sense since she never had contact with his adoptive parents. It's not clear how much they were told about her since the entire adoption was arranged through Bejarano's mother. 

When they finally connected with each other, Kristin shared with his biological mother that he had been assigned female at birth but is transgender and in currently transition. He told her about his life with loving parents in Las Vegas and his life now, as a married adult and a parent.

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Bejarano says she's just happy her child is alive.

Bejarano is overwhelmed with joy that her baby is alive and well and happy. The news that he is transgender doesn't bother her, she says. "I don’t care,” Bejarano said. “I don’t care if he’s in transition. I don’t care if he hasn’t transitioned. I don’t care. That’s my kid. We’re just glad he’s alive.”

They're planning a visit.

Since the mother and son have found each other, they've been in daily contact, slowly building a relationship after all the years of separation. Bejarano says that he texts and emails her daily, sharing photos of himself and his own baby. Gardere is just as involved with building a relationship with Kirstin. "He calls me Dad, I call him son, I text him every morning," Gardere says. 

The family is planning to meet in person very soon. Kristin and his family will become to visit his biological mom for a few days in November. Gardere and Bejarano say they are nervous but very excited. 

Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.

Editor's Note: This article was originally posted on October 18, 2019 and was updated with the latest information.