When Tina Bejarano gave birth at the tender age of 17, it turned out to be a horrible day.
Shortly after going through labour, she got the worst news possible – she was told the baby had died.
“The baby died 15 minutes after it was born. It never made it. It was sick,” her mother told her the following day.
That was nearly thirty years ago today, and for the past three decades Tina and the husband she later married, Eric Gardere, have marked the birthday of the lost child.
"It was a hard time every year," Mr Gardere told news station KMPH.
“She would go into major depression.”
The Californian couple never stopped mourning the baby and never really questioned the story Ms Bejarano was told by her abusive mother as a teenager.
And then she got an email last year out of the blue.
"I think we need to talk, it says we're related, and it says you're my mum," the email said.
While Ms Bejarano thought she had given birth to a daughter, it turned out she had given birth to a son – and he was very much alive.
The long lost son, named Kristin, lives across the country in New Jersey with his wife and their baby. He was adopted by a loving family five days after he was born, and grew up in Las Vegas, KMPH reported.
Ms Bejarano says she grew up with her mother who was at times abusive and her stepfather. It’s believed they took the baby and put it up for adoption against their daughter’s wishes.
Since Kristin tracked down his biological mother, the two have been communicating online and Kristin, his wife, and their baby are planning a visit to California in November.
"Looking at him just makes me want to cry," Ms Bejarano said.
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