When Schauna Austin was 20 and single, she gave birth to a baby boy. But the family that was going to adopt his son wanted to involve him in all the major stages of his life.
Austin said she gave birth to a child she named Riley and held him for 72 hours straight.
“It was perfect,” Austin said of her new baby. “I knew I would have it for a short time, so I made every minute count. I didn’t sleep for three days.”
His Riley would become the Steven of another family. With most adoptions closed, a firewall has been put in place between Austin and Steven’s new parents. But that only lasted about a week.
“It was like, ‘OK, that’s how it should be. She was part of our family,'” adoptive mother Jennifer Schoebinger told CBS News.
She and her husband, Chris Schoebinger, said they had no interest in excluding the birth mother.
“You know, you can’t have too many people loving you, can you?” Why couldn’t it be between us? said Chris Schoebinger.
So, year after year, they sent Austin stacks of photos and hardcover books detailing every major and minor milestone of Steven. The Schoebingers said they did this so that when Austin and their son were ready, they could pick up where they left off.
The two met when Steven was 7 years old. Austin taught her how to fish, and they’ve been reeling from the memories ever since.
“I have been blessed beyond words,” Austin said.
“I kind of got the best of both worlds, for sure,” Steven said.
Steven is now 26 years old, married and the father of a little boy. Much to Austin’s delight, he named the child Riley.
“I think the lesson we’ve learned is that sometimes we create barriers where barriers don’t need to be. And when we break down those barriers, we truly find love on the other side,” said Chris Schoebinger.
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