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20-year-old placed her son for adoption, his new family made her a huge part of his life

The birth mother was sure she'd never see her son again, but the adoptive parents had other plans.

20-year-old placed her son for adoption, his new family made her a huge part of his life
Cover Image Source: YouTube | CBS Evening News

Editor's note: This article was originally published on December 26, 2022. It has since been updated.

Choosing adoption for your child can be a profoundly bittersweet decision. It involves parting with a child you've nurtured while realistically acknowledging you can't provide the upbringing they deserve. Schauna Austin had to go through just such a choice when she gave birth to her son at 20 years of age. Although she chose adoption, his adoptive parents included Austin in every step of his life, reports CBS News.


Austin shared that she named her son Riley and held him continuously for 72 hours after his birth. She said, "It was perfect. I knew I would have him for a short time, so I made every minute count of it. I didn't sleep for three days." The child was adopted by another family, and they named him Steven. In closed adoptions, the identities of the adoptive and biological parents remain confidential.

Jennifer Schoebinger, Steven's adoptive mother, told the outlet, "It was like, 'OK, this is the way it should be. She was part of our family.'" She asserted that neither she nor her husband, Chris Schoebinger, were interested in excluding the biological mother. She added, "You know, you can't have too many people loving you, right? Why couldn't he be both of ours?" As a result, they sent Austin stacks of photos and bound books every year describing Steven's big and little accomplishments. The Schoebingers claimed they did this so that Austin and their kid could take up where they left off whenever they were ready.


At age 7, Steven was introduced to his biological mother, a reunion his parents felt was timely. They formed a beautiful connection and have been making beautiful memories ever since. Austin even taught Steven how to fish and they are a part of each other's lives. Austin said, "I was blessed beyond words." Steven added, "I kind of got the best of both worlds, for sure." 

Now 26, Steven is married and a father himself. He named his child Riley after the name he was given by Austin. Chris said, "I think the lesson we learned is that sometimes we create barriers where barriers don't need to be. And when we pull down those barriers, we really find love on the other side." 



In another emotional adoption story, Deanna Shrodes, an ordained minister who was adopted as a baby, found her father 56 years after she was adopted. At 27, Shrodes connected with her biological mother, Sally King, and they developed a deep relationship. However, King passed away in 2019 but never revealed the identity of Shrodes' biological father. Shrodes made her own independent search for him. She just knew two things about him: that he is Greek and that he is from Richmond, Virginia. Shrodes joined several DNA registries and set up a Facebook group with friends and volunteers in an effort to track out the man. 

She received a DNA match with a cousin she was unaware of in May of this year, putting an end to her quest. The cousin disclosed that her father is Gus Nicholas, age 92. He was in a nursing home and Shrodes met him and developed an instant connection. She now visits him regularly and cares for him towards the end of his life.

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