Margo Steinbaugh stepped into her kitchen to see a swarm of bodies hovering around her oven. As she opened the oven door, the smell of fresh brownies lled the room, and cheers erupted.The boys immediately began begging to take home the leftovers.
“I call dibs on taking those home,” said sophomore Cam Hall.
“Hey, you just got adopted this year,” said senior Stephen Wise. “I have seniority.”
It was another Sunday afternoon, and the Steinbaughs were joyfully feeding hungry college students after church.
While most people associate adoption with the permanent placement of a child into a home, the Steinbaughs have become a home away from home over the years for numerous GC students.
November 18 is National Adoption Day, and each year, about 135,000 children are adopted in the United States.
Margo Steinbaugh, 66, is thankful for the gift of adoption.
She was adopted when she was four months old, and now, she and her husband Mike, 66, make an effort to “adopt” more people into their family and provide love to young people who are away from home.
“I tell the kids we adopted you, and this is your home,” Margo said. “If something isn’t right, you run out of milk, your car won’t start, any of these things, you just come here.”
Margo and Mike Steinbaugh are one of 11 couples who are involved in “Adopt-A-College-Student,” a program created in January 2018 by Covenant Presbyterian, a local Milledgeville church. The program was founded to help foster relationships between the church and college-aged students.
“Once we heard that Covenant was doing this, we thought, ‘Why not?’” Margo said. “We love kids. We’ve really always ‘adopted’ students. Our daughter’s friends always came over, especially when they knew I was baking.”
Rebecca Shane, a member of Covenant Presbyterian Church who helped the program get started, said that to become a part of the program students are encouraged to be involved in Covenant Presbyterian Church.
“Our prayer is that this program would continue to help college students build relationships with our other local church members,” Shane said.
The Steinbaughs moved to the Milledgeville area two years ago from Dayton, Ohio, when Margo retired from being a school teacher and Mike retired from contracting.
The couple said they wanted to live on Lake Sinclair, where they would be closer to their children and grandchildren, who live just four hours away in Florida. But the area is more than just lake country to the Steinbaughs.
“We were really drawn to Milledgeville because it was a college town,” Margo said.
Last year, the couple “adopted” three students: Andrew Martinez and Austin Simpson, both of whom graduated in May 2018, and current senior Stephen Wise.
Although Martinez and Simpson graduated, they both still visit the Steinbaughs when they’re in town. Recently, Martinez reached out to the Steinbaughs to tell them he was going to propose to his longtime girlfriend.
“I consider it a privilege to call the Steinbaughs family because they care for me like I am their own son and still continually keep up with me,” Martinez said. “Honestly, getting to know them was probably one of the best things that Milledgeville brought me.”
Earlier this year, the couple “adopted” four additional GC students: Cam Hall, a biology major; sophomore Candler O’Neal, a nursing major; sophomore Alivia George, an exercise science major; and senior Sydney Sheley, an exercise science major.
Sheley said she is comforted knowing the Steinbaughs are just right down the road in case she needs anything.
“I’m so thankful to have been adopted by this family and get to see a godly couple care for others,” Sheley said. “They constantly show me that they love and care about me.”
For George, this relationship means that they are her family away from her family.
“My relationship with the Steinbaughs means a lot to me,” George said. “To be a part of their adopted family is to be deeply cared for and looked over. One of my favorite parts of the week is getting to see them and talk about the things going on in our lives. They are truly a blessing.”
Each month, the Steinbaughs invite the students to their home for dinner and an activity. In October, the Steinbaughs and their “adopted” children carved pumpkins. Additionally, Mike will often invite the boys over on Sunday for some late afternoon shing on the lake behind their home.
“One of my favorite parts about adopting these students is the time I’ve now been able to spend with them just out on lake while they tell me all about their lives,” Mike said.
This program is also great for getting involved and meeting more members of the local community.
“I wanted to get involved in the church and local community, especially with the older people within the church,” O’Neal said. “So once I knew about this program, I knew I wanted to be involved and be apart of a local Godly family.”
Although the couple has plans to visit their biological children in Florida this Christmas, they still made time to schedule a family Christmas dinner in Milledgeville with their “adopted” children before everyone leaves for the break.
“I’m sure that all of the kids will come over once she starts baking cookies.” Mike said.
The Steinbaughs have plans to continue to grow their family and “adopt” new students each year.
If you or someone you know would like to be a part of the “Adopt-A-College” program, please contact Covenant Presbyterian Church or visit to get involved.