She learned that he was conceived via in vitro fertilization and was looking for his biological mother.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on January 19, 2022. It has since been updated.
Kristin Schoonveld had never given birth, but she knew what it meant to be a mother. The woman, who has devoted her life to working with people with special needs, came across a little boy with Down syndrome when she was in college 30 years ago. She knew there was an instant connection with Nick—who was nine years old at the time—when she met him after she took a semester off from college and worked in his second-grade special education classroom.
"He and I were drawn to each other from the start," Kristin says, according to PEOPLE. "We had a really really close relationship and we loved each other."
They soon lost contact, but as fate would have it, they reconnected in 2012, when Kristin ran into Nick and his mother after she started volunteering with the Special Olympics. Not too long after their reunion, Nick's mom Grace was diagnosed with non-smoker's lung cancer.
With Grace sick, Kristin started spending more time with Nick. "Every time I'd pull up in his driveway, he'd ask me, 'What are we doing tomorrow?'" she remembers. "I just kept picking him up the next day."
Woman Meets Biological Son She Never Knew Existed — All Thanks to DNA Test: 'Instant Love' https://t.co/EiDsxgHrHV— People (@people) January 18, 2022
Grace battled the condition for years until she succumbed to it in 2015 at the age of 60. Kristin being Kristin, began to worry about Nick and his dad Brian. "I was just one of many people who were really worried about how Brian and Nick were going to maneuver through life," she says. "I was mostly worried about them just being just overwhelmed with grief."
To help them cope with the loss, Kristin began hanging out with the family every day at their home. "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," she says. "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."
Kristin and Brian married in January 2018, and she legally adopted Nick that May—and they made it official in the same courthouse where she herself was adopted as a baby. This emotional moment made her wonder who her biological family was.
Woman Meets Biological Son She Never Knew Existed — All Thanks to DNA Test: 'Instant Love' https://t.co/kR5fw5n3AA via @Yahoo— Wheatty (@Wheatty) January 19, 2022
Kristin took a DNA test and found her biological mother when she uploaded her DNA results to My Heritage. Since she was nervous to make the first move, she reached out to her mom's sister to see if it would be okay to get in touch with her. "She had not told anybody about me," Kristin recalls. "Nobody knew."
Later, she tracked her dad down, too, through 23andMe test. He had died years earlier. All of this happened in the fall of 2019, and along with knowing who her dad is, Kristin surprisingly found out she had a son as well. "I was thinking it must be some sort of mistake," Kristin, who has never been pregnant, said. But when she clicked on his profile, she was surprised to see how similar they looked.
She soon learned that he was conceived via in vitro fertilization and was looking for his biological mother. You see, Kristin had donated her eggs in 1994, thinking it would be nice to help someone have a family.
Eventually, she met her biological son, and "it was just instant love," she says. Her biological son, Parker Erickson, who grew up in Santa Cruz, California, was 14 when his parents told him he was conceived using an egg donor.
Great story. So many connections.— Keonté Smith 🌻 (@IamKeonte) January 18, 2022
For years, Parker asked his mother—also Kristin—what his egg donor's name was. She didn't know. But now that Kristin's biological son is a part of her life, she couldn't be happier. "It's as if I've known him his whole life," she says. Parker felt the same easy connection. "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."
"He was just so sweet with Nick and saying, 'I've always wanted a brother,'" Kristin says. "It just makes everything bigger and greater," she says of having Parker in her life. "It just expands my happiness."
"We've established a relationship that's going to last the rest of our lives," she adds.
Representative Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Oliver Rossi