California Mom Meets Her Child 29 Years after Being Told He Had Died at Birth

A mother secretly celebrated the birthday of her baby daughter for nearly three decades. She was told her little angel had died after birth, but what she found out in 2019 changed everything she had known for almost 29 years. 

A mother’s love for her child is endless, and it only gets stronger with time. However, losing her bundle of joy can be just as hard, and nothing can ever prepare her for coping with the void left behind. 

Tina Bejarano from Los Banos, California, spent a long time thinking that the baby daughter she gave birth to as a teenager had died after being born. However, there was still a lot she didn’t know. 

Tina Bejarano reunited with her son, Kristin Cooke, almost 29 years after being told he didn’t survive at birth. | Photo:

Bejarano had given birth to her baby daughter in 1990 when she was only 16. She also had a 1-year-old daughter at the time but was pressured by her mom to give her newborn up for adoption. She revealed: 

“The next day, she [my mother] comes back to tell me, ‘The baby died 15 minutes after it was born. It never made it. It was sick.”

For 29 years, Bejarano longed for and mourned her baby girl. Each year on April 6, Bejarano and her husband, Eric Gardere, hid in their room, brought a cake, lit a candle, and wished “happy birthday” to their little princess. 

She even recalled writing a sweet letter to her baby daughter, should she get the chance to read it one day. But after finding out about her death, she was shattered. While she went on to start a new life, she still missed her little girl. 

Bejarano married Gardere when she was 18 and he was 28. They had two sons, and she began pursuing her dream of studying photography and arts. But there was a part of her that still yearned for the child she had lost years ago. 

In 2018, her daughter encouraged her to go for a DNA test to learn about her ancestors, since she never knew much about her father. Surprisingly enough, she received an email from a man named Kristin Cooke living in New Jersey. 

She then found out that the man contacting her was indeed her child, but she was unable to connect the dots as she had given birth to a daughter. It was then that she found about her child’s transition. She also added: 

“I was like, ‘Oh my God, that’s my baby.’ I thought he was dead. I never got to name him. I never got to hold him.”

Cooke told her that he had been raised in Las Vegas and transitioned into a man. Bejarano explained that she didn’t care whether or not he had transitioned. She was just glad that he was alive and had been brought up so well by his adoptive family.

Soon afterward, Cooke and Bejarano shared the heart-wrenching details of their separation. Bejarano shared how she had been compelled to give him up and how she was lied to by her own mother. 

But like a good and wise son, Cooke didn’t hold any grudges against his mom. He was delighted to know her and connect with her after so many years. He even told her that she had a granddaughter named Scarlet, as he was happily married. 

Gardere also connected with Cooke, even though he wasn’t his birth dad. He said that he had always considered him his child. Bejarano and Cooke met for the first time on Thanksgiving in 2019, and we’re sure there have been many sweet meetings ever since.

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