An Indianapolis woman met the biological son she didn’t know existed through a DNA test – 25 years after she donated her eggs.
Kristen Schoenfeld was adopted as a child in 1969 and sought DNA testing in adulthood, hoping to track down her biological parents. In 2019, she submitted her DNA to 23andMe and was shocked to find a match indicating that she had a son.
Schoenfeld, 52, assumed this was “some kind of a mistake” because she had never been pregnant. But when I clicked on the profile, I noticed that the young man actually looked like her.
She continued reading and discovered that her “son” had been born through in vitro fertilization. And just like her, she was searching for his biological family.
Schoenfeld quickly remembered something she had done years ago – anonymously donating her eggs to a couple struggling to conceive.
She was inspired to do so after reading an article about egg donation in 1994. Intrigued by her, Schoenfeld applied to be a donor, and a couple soon chose her. After months of hormone injections, I traveled to California to retrieve my eggs.
In the following years, Schoenfeld said she was “occasionally amazed” by the idea that she might have a biological child there, but she rarely thought about it.
Fast forward to June 2012, Schoenfeld attended the Special Olympics and met a young man with Down syndrome named Nick, whom she had known for decades when she was still in college.
At the time, Schoenfeld was taking a semester to work in a second grade special education class where Nick was a 9-year-old student.
The duo were attracted to each other from the start, and Schoenfeld even raised his kids for the summer. Unfortunately, they eventually lost contact.
So when they met again at the Special Olympics, this became the perfect opportunity for the two of them to reconnect.
When Nick’s mother, Grace, was diagnosed with lung cancer for a non-smoker, she came one step closer. Schoenefeld often visited and continues to do so after Grace passed away at the age of 60 in January 2015.
Schoenfeld also formed a bond with Nick’s father, Brian, and they quickly fell in love. The couple tied the knot in January 2018, and Nick legally adopted Nick four months later.
The adoption process was completed at the same courthouse where Schoenfeld was adopted as a baby, sparking her interest in learning more about her biological family.
This is how she ended up on 23andMe in late 2019, searching for her real father. At that time, she had already found her biological mother on MyHeritage.
Instead, Schoenfeld found her son through DNA testing, Parker Erickson, 26, who was conceived by in vitro fertilization through a donor egg. When I read this piece of information, I remembered her egg donation all those years ago.
Erickson went to the site not only to find her biological mother but also to see if he had any siblings he didn’t know.
“There was always some sort of this question in an air of admiration, ‘Could there be someone else? He said. “Both my parents said no. But as optimistic as [my girlfriend] Kylie and I were, as hopeful as I was, maybe someone was there.”
Schoenfeld and Erickson started talking, and in November 2019, Schoenfeld and Nick traveled to Indiana to meet Parker and his parents.
She described their meeting as “instant love”, saying: “It’s as if I’ve known him all his life.”
As it turned out, the feeling was mutual.
“It was like going out with people I already knew,” Erickson said. “It was immediately easy to love each other.”
Erickson said he always wanted a brother, and he got that when he met Nick.
The mother and son have stayed in touch ever since, as Erickson followed in his mother’s footsteps by applying to volunteer at his local Olympics in Boulder, where he and his girlfriend settled.
“We created a relationship that will last the rest of our lives,” Schoenfeld said.
Now that Schoenfeld and Ericsson have found each other, their worlds are even bigger and wonderful!
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