Her+Story+Before 10

My mothers’ story. Six years after I started looking for a baby to adopt I am finally sitting here looking at his or her mother. With her beautiful gentle hands, soft spoken voice, and sad eyes, she tells me her story.

Three years earlier, she was a 17 year old woman living on the Gulf of Mexico who fell in love and then found herself pregnant. This young woman Erendira loved this man but he did not want to marry her. Erendira’s mother was so angry because this meant she was going to have to financially take care of her grandchild. After the child was born, a son, the mother reported the birth father to the courts and said he was the father of Erendira’s baby and should pay support. When they got to court the birth father claimed the baby was not his and that Erendira “slept around.”  The judge believed him.  His lies broke Erendira’s heart and made her mother so furious that she threatened her and said if she ever got pregnant again, she would take this son away from her.

Three years later the man comes back into Erendira’s life and they love each other so much, she gets pregnant again. Before she can tell him that she is pregnant, he tells her he got another girl pregnant and is going to have to marry her. So he never finds out that she is carrying another child again. Afraid she will take her son away from her, Erendira lies and tells her mother that she has to go to Mexico City for a job. She travels to a convent and there meets a woman named Luzma who brings her into her home. Luzma promises to help her find an adoptive family and eventually Erendira finds herself sitting in front of me, the woman who will adopt her unborn child.

Erendira has had her baby, Maria Guadalupe. One day old and now in my arms, she is renamed Paloma Citlali Martinez. Wrapped up like a little tamale, we go to my dear friend Mariana’s house. Four months later we have the court date to make Paloma legally mine.  We are in front of the judge and I cannot understand what is happening because I don’t speak Spanish very well.  The judge asks Erendira if she is willingly giving up her rights to her daughter, and she says yes. After many questions we are excused to the waiting room.

“Maria Guadalupe” is four months old and Erendira is now seeing her for the first time since she gave birth. When I asked her if she wanted to hold the baby, she took her into her arms and walked around the room talking quietly to her.  After thirty minutes, the judge came out to us he said,

“Maria, you are now this child’s mother.”  After I signed the papers speechless, Erendira was still holding her daughter, my daughter.  I gently walked up to her and said, “Es tiempo,” and saw the courage, pain, and love in her tearful eyes. When she handed me Paloma, I took her to Mariana and then gave Erendira a huge hug and looked into her eyes and said, “Gracias Erendira, Gracias.”

By the time I got into Mariana’s old Volkswagen with my baby, I was overwhelmed with tears.  Mariana asked me with a loud voice, “Why you crying? You should be happy.”  I told her, “The only reason I have this baby in my arms not hers, is because I have money and she does not, and that makes me very sad.”

For Erendira, we celebrate adoption day every year on June 4th as a way of saying gracias to her.  And every time I look in my daughter’s eyes, her daughter’s eyes, I see the courage and gentleness of Erendira.


Storyteller Paloma Citlali Martínez is a college student in Northern California majoring in gerontology social work.

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10 thoughts on “Her+Story+Before

  • Juan Manuel Silva Post author

    I have known this story since it’s inception, and still, to read it……… it made me cry…….. I Love You Maria….. I love you Paloma (Xuitlali) Citlali……… but I especially Love you Linda, for making part of you and your Family, that with out you, I would not have had all of you in my Life……….. tio

  • maria luisa alaniz Post author

    You are both blessed to find each other; beautiful, gentle, peaceful spirits that were meant to experience life together; wonderful story; thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Juan M Silva Post author

    I remember when you began your journey and how difficult and beautiful it was. I loved reading the story through your eyes and emotion……WOW……. a Mother’s Love is Unconditional, E measurable, but most of all it’s, all one needs to be who we are…….. you are a Wonderful Mother, and I love you for everything you are to your Daughter and to us too…… tio

  • ana perez Post author


    what a sweet story… and what a powerful story weaver you have become…
    you were born from love, raised with so much love and full of love you are… thank you for sharing.


  • Lupe Gallegos-Diaz Post author

    Gracias Paloma por compartir esta historia con tod@s nosotr@s de ti y tus mamas. El saber tus raices es tener un poder increible. Y como dijo Juan Alicia demuestra las condiciones de pobreza y patriarco que existe en todo el mundo. Y el sacrificio mas grande que hizo Erendira fue hecho por amor y cuando amor esta por delante todo sale bien. De una Tonanzin (Guadalupe) a otra!

  • Beatriz Leyva Post author

    This is such a beautiful story thank you for sharing Paloma, My sister’s name is Erendira …spelt with a r not a d…it is a special name. I look forward to reading more and thank you again for sharing your story, I will be thinking of you June 4th!

  • Melissa Serrano Post author

    What a beautiful story and knowing these beautiful women there is no mistake about the fact that they were meant to be mother and daughter, I find the birth mother to be tremendously courageous, she made a very selfless sacrifice and in doing so everyone was blessed.

  • Juana Alicia Araiza Post author

    What a beautiful and moving story about the strength of love for our daughters and willingness to risk all for them. And about patriarchy, economic violence and the tragedy of poverty Latin America.

  • Annette Goldman Mosqueda Post author

    What a beautiful tribute to the courage, pain and humanity of women. Paolma’s legacy will undoubtedly be great.