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Ryan Jensen and Marcia Schaumburg and the Jensen family.

Featured Article

No Longer a Secret

How a Birth Mother and Adopted Son Reunited

Article by Jordan Gray

Photography by Schaumburg and Jensen Family

Originally published in Boise Lifestyle

July 14, 1977: At a Utah hospital, a 16-year-old Boise girl was about to give birth. She’d been hidden away with her aunt and uncle. Her pregnancy was a secret and considered shameful by her family’s religion and public sentiment.

The child was born. The girl didn’t hold the baby and she didn’t know the gender. She knew she’d struggle to let the child go if she did.

The girl went home. The child went up for adoption.

And 44 years later, Marcia Schaumburg met Ryan Jensen for the first time.

Their journey back to one another was fraught with secrets.

“It was just never talked about,” Schaumburg said. “Like it had never happened. Never talked about in the ways of ‘How are you feeling about it?’ Never talked about physically either.”

Schaumburg said she dealt with the situation as best she could.

“I tried to be very self-reliant and positive with who I was. It was very hard to have friends at that age. I kept busy with work.”

Schaumburg graduated Meridian High School, then married soon after.

“Probably I married so soon because of just wanting to grow up,” she said. “I had two children in my 20s. After I left that marriage, I went on to remarry, and I had two other children.”

Around this time, Schaumburg adopted a girl with special needs.

“I had always wanted to adopt a child. For me, it was a way of showing appreciation for what someone else did for me.”

For work, Schaumburg opened Faust, a home furnishing store in Boise with her brother and parents. Then her brother passed away. Faust closed. Her second marriage dissolved.

“I was forced to reinvent myself and figure out what I wanted to do next,” she said. She created Ricochet Home Consignment in 2009, all while raising five children.

And still, she thought of her first child.

“I had thought about trying to find him, but I didn’t want to disrupt his family.” She wondered if the child had been told about the adoption, or if they’d died. But Schaumburg finally decided to look and registered with “I continued on with the business and continued to raise the kids. I remarried. My life was good, except there was this missing piece.”

And then Schaumburg contributed to a May 2022 Meridian Lifestyle Magazine piece, “Advice to My Younger Self.” She wrote, “Your amazing family arrives differently than what you're thinking, but in the way it's supposed to.”

In Kaysville, Utah, Ryan Jensen’s friend Matt Keddington sent him the article. Just the day before, Jensen revealed to his friend he’d found his birth mother.

“She seemed so soft and so open and so lovely,” Jensen said.

For Jensen, he’d found he was adopted after some kids taunted him with that fact.

“I really didn’t know what that meant at the time,” he said. “I do remember going home and asking my parents about that. And they explained it to me – about not being my parents and that I was adopted into their family. That was about as much as I spoke about it with my adopted parents. It was sort of just swept under the rug. I was always in fear that I would disappoint, upset, or hurt my adopted parents if I asked, ‘Where did I come from?’”

Jensen grew up, got married, had three children, and started working as an insurance broker. The questions about his birth family lingered, but so did his apprehension.

Things changed at a dinner with Jensen, his wife, Jordan, and their friends, Lisa and Todd Henderson. The topic turned to family traditions. Jensen mentioned making aebleskiver, a Danish dessert of sweet, puffy pancake balls.

“Lisa turned to me and said, ‘You don’t even know if you’re Danish.’

Jensen mused, "My wife has always been poking me for years and years to look. By the time I got back to the dinner table, my friend had ordered an DNA kit.”

The results came back with Schaumburg.

“I opened it up; it gave her full name. It said, ‘Significant Match, Parent/Child or Sibling.’ It sort of took me aback, an overwhelming type of thing.”

He found her on Facebook and created a group text with Jordan and the Hendersons. All four started tracking down details.

And that’s when Jensen messaged Keddington, telling him the whole story. The next day, Keddington’s evening reading choice meant Jensen read Schaumburg’s own words to her younger self.

“All these things were sort of lining up, like it was meant to be,” Jensen said. “From that magazine article, [and with the support of] my friends, it was by Friday evening that we decided to go up there the next day.”

Saturday, they stepped onto Schaumburg’s doorstep.

"My name’s Ryan Jensen and I believe I'm your son."

Schaumburg spoke the words she’d always wanted to: “I have been thinking about you every freaking day of my life. And when I saw you, I knew. I knew. I’m so excited to see you!”

“I went from sitting in the room with my mom for two hours to being surrounded by 30 family members in three hours,” Jensen said. “I’ve never felt comfortable more quickly with a small group of people. For once, I felt that I was at home. It was amazing to feel so much love and so much acceptance so quickly. That reunion was amazing.”

“It’s been the most freeing moment of my life to say, ‘This is my son,’” Schaumburg said. “It’s been very empowering. With it being a secret, I have felt like a secret myself. I had to keep this from one side of my family and my friends. It’s not a secret, and it never needed to be a secret.”

  • Marcia Schaumburg (center) at 15.
  • Ryan Jensen and Marcia Schaumburg
  • Ryan Jensen and Marcia Schaumburg and the Jensen family.