When Schauna Austin was 20 years old and single, she gave birth to a baby boy. But the family that would adopt her son wanted to involve her in every major step 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 about holding her new baby. "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."
Her Riley would become another family's Steven. With most closed adoptions, a firewall went up between Austin and Steven's new parents. But that only lasted about a week.
"It was like, 'OK, this is the way 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, right? Why couldn't he be both of ours?" Chris Schoebinger said.
So, year after year, they sent Austin piles of pictures and bound books detailing Steven's every major and minor milestone. The Schoebingers said they did this so that when Austin and their son were ready, they could pick up right where they left off.
The two reunited when Steven was 7 years old. Austin taught him how to fish, and they have been reeling in the memories ever since.
"I was blessed beyond words," Austin said.
"I kind of got the best of both worlds, for sure," Steven said.
Steven is now 26, married, and with a baby boy of his own. Much to the delight of Austin, he named the child Riley.
"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," Chris Schoebinger said.
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