Tina Bejarano Gardere was only 17 years old when she had given birth to her second child in 1990. At the time, Tina had been living with her very abusive mother and her step-father. Her mother had told her that she could either keep her first-born daughter, Tiffany or her newborn daughter.
Every Parent’s Worst Nightmare
She had told her this even before she had given birth. She then went on to tell her that she had to think about putting the newborn up for adoption. Of course, Tina didn’t want to do anything of the sort.
However, it seems the choice was taken out of her hands. Just one day later, she was told by her own mother the devastating news: her baby had passed away from a respiratory infection less than 15 minutes after the birth.
Sharing The Grief
Tina didn’t even get the chance to see her baby girl. “The next day,” Tina said, “she comes back to tell me, ‘The baby died 15 minutes after it was born. It never made it. It was sick.’ ” Tina was absolutely devastated.
She was sure there was no coming back from her daughter’s early death. Tina was sure her life was over and she wouldn’t be capable of loving again. It’s as if her life came crashing down around her.
However, there was something that she didn’t know. Losing a baby at birth is without a doubt a nightmare for any parent. Tina mourned the death of her baby, even after she got married and had a wonderful family with her dear husband, Eric.
Finding Out More
They went on to have another three children together, two boys and one girl. All the same, each year, around the time of the deceased baby’s birthday, on April 5th, Tina would be depressed. “It was a hard time every year,” Tina said.
We Need To Talk
“I would get depressed. I would cry all the time.” Tina said. “It was a hard time every year,” Eric said. “She would go into a major depression,” he added. Little did she know that the story wasn’t quite over.
On Opposite Sides
“He has given me all of the joy back that was taken from me at such an early age. If it were not for my husband, I might not be here today.” Tina said of her husband, Eric. Tina grew up in an unhealthy environment, with an abusive mother and a stepfather.
In fact, she hasn’t spoken to the two of them for decades now. As a teen, however, Tina lived with them at home and her mother was in complete control of her life. At 17 years old, Tina had her second baby, and her mother had done something awfully cruel.
She told Tina that she needed to make a choice between the two babies. Several months after she had given birth, Tina met her current husband, Eric. It wasn’t long before the two went ahead and got married.
While Eric wasn’t the father of the baby that died, he shared Tina’s grief all the same. In the years that followed, Tina and Eric had three amazing children together. They were as happy as can be with their family.
The Same Site
However, they still felt like something – or rather someone – was missing. In December 2018, one of Tina and Eric’s daughters suggested that Tina do an at-home DNA test. Tina thought this request was rather strange.
Why did Tiffany want a DNA test? Was there something wrong? However, the real reason was simpler than she realized. This was only to learn more about their heritage and where they really came from.
Not to mention, to find out more about Tina’s father and her extended family, who she didn’t know. At first, Tina was hesitant about the whole idea. Soon, however, she came around and decided to go through with it.
She was curious to see what would happen. What would the results show? Tina went ahead with the DNA test and sent it in with everything she needed. After doing that, all her information was added to the database.
The company had an expansive genealogical database that they used to keep track of all the people who have done their tests. All of this was created for people to trace their family trees and find out more about themselves and their heritage.
On top of that, this DNA service is also great for people who have been adopted. They could use it in order to find out more about their biological families. One thing Tina never expected was to get a certain text message after doing the test.
Who was this text from? What did it say? Read on to find out! Tina got a mysterious text from an unfamiliar number after she had sent in her test to find out more about her DNA. The text read: “I think we need to talk”.
Who could it have possibly been from? What did this person want? Tina lived on the West Coast, in California. Well, Kristin Cooke lived across the country, in New Jersey. He also happened to take the same DNA test that Tina did and for a similar reason.
He was adopted as a baby at 10 days old and wanted to learn more about his biological family. “It was really just to find out more about my heritage because we were having a baby of our own,” said Cooke.
“And I wanted to be able to tell her, you know, about me, ’cause I never knew growing up.” What could he have found out? Kristin is currently living in New Jersey with his beloved wife who was expecting their first baby.
His Biological Mother
He’d never known all that much about his biological mother. However, he was curious about it. That’s when he decided to take the DNA test and see what he could find out. Kristin Cooke was raised by his adoptive parents in New Jersey.
Growing up, he never felt the need to look for his biological parents. The parents he had were loving and supportive, and he loved them too. Later in life, he had felt a glimmer of curiosity about his biological parents.
Taking A Test
That’s when he considered asking to see his adoption papers. However, he felt like the process simply wasn’t worth the effort. So that’s when he decided to go the DNA route. He sent in his test and put it out of his mind.
After all, the chance of him finding out who his biological parents are is very small. He didn’t want to get his hopes up for nothing and then be disappointed. And so, Kristin went about his life as usual.
He had no idea what was going to happen. It just so happened to be that both Kristin and Tina had submitted their DNA tests to the same exact site. Kristin wanted to share his heritage with his 8-month-old daughter, Scarlett, someday so she knew where she came from.
Why did this matter? Tina was in for a serious surprise. When Tina received the mysterious text, it also said, “It says we’re related and it says you’re my mom.” How could that be? Her baby had died the same day she was born!
There’s No Way
She froze. It couldn’t be. There was absolutely no way this person was telling the truth. And besides, how could they have known about her baby that passed away? Tina immediately went to her husband to show him the scary text she had gotten.
Was someone playing a cruel joke on her? Was it real? How could she be sure? Together, Eric and Tina asked the person a series of questions to find out the truth. Tina and Eric were trying to figure out the truth.
Could this person truly be Tina’s long-lost baby? It made no sense. All the answers that the person gave Tina had matched. The only detail that didn’t line up was that this person was a man. Tina had given birth to a girl.
Wrong All Along
Maybe the two of them had been wrong all along? Kristin couldn’t possibly be Tina’s daughter seeing as he was a man. Well, it was at that moment that Kristin confessed something very personal to Tina and Eric.
Born This Way
Kristin went on to tell the two of them that he was born a female. Tina and Eric were taken aback. So it must have been true: Kristin was Tina’s daughter. In fact, Kristin Cooke is transgender and is referred to as a man.
He’s been very open about his transition. He has a blog named “The Trans Dad” to document his journey as a father. In the blog, Kristin talks about his upbringing in a Mormon family in Las Vegas.
Out Of Place
He goes on to talk about how he always felt out of place as a girl. He said the mother who raised him was very accepting and supportive. She allowed him to dress as a boy. As a teenager, Kristin came out as a lesbian.
In 2010, Kristin met his wife, Ashley. The two got married in 2013 as a lesbian couple. Kristin has spoken about how wanting to transition had put a strain on the marriage. However, he and Ashley found a way to work through it.
“What I didn’t realize in all this excitement of being able to become truly me was that I’m not the only one in transition. Ashley had to mourn the loss of her wife to be able to truly love her husband. My parents had to mourn the loss of their daughter to gain a son.” Kristin said.
Running A Blog
Kristin has explained that he started his blog as a way to document “trials and tribulations that come along with being a trans dad. This is my story, this is me writing for me, documenting the adventures of these chapters in our life. I’d like this to be a community for all walks of life in the LGBTQIA+ family, new and old parents come together and share the joys and sorrows of parenthood.”
Tina and Eric were absolutely shocked to learn that the baby never died! How could Tina’s mother have lied to her about such a serious thing? But wait, how was Kristin handling all this new information?
After everything that has happened, Tina still feels like it’s all so surreal. “Looking at him,” Tina said, “just makes me want to cry.” He never truly believed it would be possible. When she and Eric asked him about his gender, he had been worried.
Getting The Message
“When I got Kristin’s message, I was in class,” Tina said. “And I see, ‘Ancestry says they have a match for you, a message.’ And it was Kristin. And I started bawling right there in class, and I ran out of class and I called (my husband) Eric, and I was like, ‘Babe, she’s alive.’”
Coming out, no matter how many times he’s done it before, was always scary for Kristin. Tina and Eric were so overwhelmingly happy. They completely accepted Kristin as he was. “I love him no matter what,” Tina said.
“This is what I know, and this is my son.” She continued, saying, “I don’t care. 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.”
In fact, they spoke for months on end before Tina asked Kristin if he would be willing to come and visit them in California along with his wife and baby so they could all finally meet. Despite not being his father, Eric felt like Kristin was his own son.
“We’ve been communicating with Kristen for a few months now. He calls me Dad, I call him Son, I text him every morning.” Was Kristin going to agree to visit? Tina and Eric held their breath as they waited to Kristin to give them an answer.
When he, his wife, and their baby arrived at the airport in California, they were in for a big surprise that was waiting for them. Tina’s entire family was there waiting for them! “I was so nervous and wondering, ‘Is he gonna like me? Is he gonna like the family?’ I don’t want this to be a one-time thing,” Tina said.
Without any hesitation, Kristin immediately said yes. He couldn’t wait to go and meet his mother. He wanted so badly to introduce her to his wife and little baby. It was an absolute dream come true to him.
Anxious First Meeting
Both Tina and Kristin were very anxious about meeting for the first time. Thankfully, things went very smoothly for the new family. “It felt nice. It was a bundle of nerves and a bundle of, you know, happiness and joy and everything mixed together,” Kristin said.
Tina now wanted to meet Kristin’s family. How come? The only reason why Tina wanted to meet Kristin’s family was just so she would have the chance to thank them for raising such a good man with so much love and caring.
After everything that has happened, Tina still feels like it’s all so surreal. “Looking at him,” Tina said, “just makes me want to cry.” She’s now the proud grandmother of 12 grandchildren and the mother of 6 wonderful kids.