The journey to parenthood sometimes requires to people to overcome major hurdles. Furthermore, the journey typically varies from person to person, including options such as surrogacy or adoption. However, there are circumstances in which a person may need a little help from an egg or sperm donation to make their dreams come true. This route comes with another unforeseen hurdle. A baby, now someone else’s biological son or daughter, can be challenging or confusing to explain. However, one Indianapolis woman welcomed her unexpected encounter with open arms.
Discovering a Biological Son
The Fall of 2019 was a life-changing time for Kristin Schoonveld. The woman from Indianapolis set out to locate her biological father, and so took a 23andMe DNA test. Surprisingly, the genetic testing led her to a biological son she’d known nothing about. “I was thinking it must be some sort of mistake,” Kristin, told PEOPLE last year. Further disclosing she’d never even been pregnant before.
Kristin decided to do some investigating, so she clicked on the profile of her supposed biological son. She was stunned to find “he looked like me.” After a little more digging, she learned that he had been conceived via in vitro fertilization; therefore, it was not only possible but likely that he was, in fact her biological son.
Helping Others Create Her Biological Son
Kristin had decided to donate her eggs back in 1994 with the hopes of helping others have a family. She’d never expected to encounter a baby resulting from her donation. However, she kept an open mind and reached to the young man. They began talking and texting until they decided to meet in person. So, just before the pandemic hit, Kristin met with her biological son. “It was just instant love,” she said of their first-time meeting.
Devoted to Making Life Brighter
In addition to feeling compelled to help other families get started, Kristin has made a huge impact on the world, devoting her life to working with those who have special needs. In the midst of working to help make the world a little brighter, she connected was a 9-year-old boy with Down Syndrome. She chose to take a semester off from college and worked in Nick’s second-grade, special ed. class. “He and I were drawn to each other from the start,” She explained. “We had a really really close relationship, and we loved each other.”
A Separate Joy
Nick would eventually become Kristin’s adopted son, but not until many years later. In fact, they lost touch before reconnecting down the road. In June of 2012, Kristin ran into Nick and his mom at the Special Olympics, where she’d begun volunteering. Soon after, his mom was diagnosed with non-smoker’s lung cancer. As a result, Kristin began spending more time with Nick, keeping him entertained while his mom was sick. “Every time I’d pull up in his driveway, he’d ask me, ‘What are we doing tomorrow?'” she shared. “I just kept picking him up the next day.”
In 2015, just three years after reconnecting with Kristin, Nick lost his mother. Kristin, worried about Nick and his father, Brian, continued to spend time with Nick and pick him up every day. “I was just one of many people who were really worried about how Brian and Nick were going to maneuver through life,” she explained. “I was mostly worried about them just being just overwhelmed with grief.”
Kristin and Brian began spending time together as well. The three became very close and, in 2018, became an official family. The pair married in January, and by May, they had completed the adoption process. Still unaware of her biological son, Kristin settled into a comfortable and happy life with her new husband and son. “Brian likes to talk about how wonderful it was that I came into their lives when I did, but it’s the exact same thing for me. I knew by the end of the summer that I was in love with him,” she adds. “We all came together at a time of real, real grief, but it was just an unbelievable win, win, win for us to have all found each other. And all three of us need the other too in some way that’s pretty special.”
Interestingly, she adopted Nick in the same courthouse where she was also adopted as a baby. In fact, that adoption is what led her to feel compelled to reach out to her biological family. “I wanted to know who they were,” she disclosed.
Meeting Everyone Biological
After she took the DNA test, Kristin was matched with her biological mother, to whom she’d wanted to reach out. Kristin contacted her biological aunt, feeling anxious about diving right in with her mom. Apparently, Kristin was a surprise to her biological family, just as her biological son was a surprise to her. “She had not told anybody about me,” Kristin shared. “Nobody knew.”
After finally connecting with her mom’s family, she set out to solve the mystery of her biological father, leading her to the discovery of her biological son. Tragically, her biological father had passed some years before, meaning that was a void that would never be filled. Instead came a surprise that would make anyone’s heart flutter. She learned of her biological son, Parker Erickson. A 14-year-old boy who had grown up in Santa Cruz, California. They quickly connected and did so on an emotional level. “It’s as if I’ve known him his whole life,” Kristin shared. “It just makes everything bigger and greater. It just expands my happiness.” she divulged.
Connecting to Her Biological Son
Meanwhile, Parker said, “It was like hanging out with people that I already knew,” he says of when he met his biological family. “It was instantly just easy to love each other.” Funnily enough, Parker’s Biological mother, and the mother who rasied him both shared the name Kristin, and were named for the same book character.
Fortunately for Kristin, her adopted and biological son immediately hit it off. “He was just so sweet with Nick and saying, ‘I’ve always wanted a brother,’ ” she said. Over the next year, the families got to know one another and all about the complex dynamics of their relationships. Parker has since moved to Boulder, and inspired by his biological mother, applied to volunteer at the Special Olympics.
Keep Reading: After Closed Adoption, Woman Finds Her Birth Mother in an Emotional Reunion