Rachel Halbert, a white American woman, became the mother of triplets in the year 2016. The look on the doctor’s faces when they saw the three babies, each of whom had a skin tone that was radically different from their parents, was one of confusion. Do you think being used as a surrogate for a black man, or do you think she’s cheating on her black boyfriend? Neither.
And because there is no one who can describe or tell the story better than who lives it will tell the story with Aaron Halbert’s words as I’ve walked the short distance between my wife’s hospital room and the neonatal intensive care unit these past few days, it’s been difficult to comprehend how our family has come to be placed together.
My beautiful wife, who is also a white evangelical Christian like myself, gave birth to our beautiful African American triplet children, whom we had adopted as embryos this past Sunday. These adorable little girls will hopefully soon be reunited with their three year old African American brother and two year old multiracial sister, who were both adopted as newborns by their parents from Ethiopia. I’ve grown to accept the normalcy of this paragraph as something I should have anticipated, but what appears to us as the obvious conclusion of being prolife is something that others frequently find difficult to comprehend and require further explanation.
I grew up in Honduras as the child of evangelical missionaries, and I was acutely aware of racial diversity because I was the blue eyed, cotton top white kid who stood out like a sore thumb. Despite this, I felt a strong connection to the people of Honduras, despite the fact that we were physically different.
However, my wife grew up raised in the Mississippi Delta, and it wasn’t until she traveled to Haiti that the veil of racial discrimination was lifted from her eyes for the first time in her life. After all, one of the basic concepts of Christianity is that God, via His Son is calling people from every tongue, tribe, and nation to come to him and follow him.
Recognizing and appreciating diversity will make the world a better place. As we wonder at God’s creative genius as it’s manifested in his people’s diverse skin tones, personalities, and abilities, our diversity should be a source of pride rather than derision. Our desire to adopt children was something that brought us together.
While we were still dating, Rachel and I were both interested in adopting children. Even though we were both fertile, we were both profoundly convinced that one of the most effective ways to be prolife is to get involved in adoption. We visited an adoption agency in Mississippi where we were living at the time.
Several years into our marriage, even as we were exploring the possibility of going to Honduras as missionaries with the Presbyterian Church in America at the time, we were also attempting to conceive through natural means, knowing that it’s frequently more difficult to find adoptive families in the United States for non Caucasian children. We advised the adoption agency that we were willing to accept any child other than a child who was 100% Caucasian in ethnicity and race.
My wife and I made this decision with the firm belief that if the Lord desired for us to have a totally Caucasian kid, she’d be able to conceive. Naturally, we did not consider child protection as a charitable endeavor or as a component of a political goal, but rather as something that’s close to the heart of God.
Every human life, no matter how young or old, no matter what stage of development is in, possesses inherent dignity and worth. Since every human existence bears his image. Throughout history, God has appealed for the protection of his most helpless and vulnerable image bearers, as seen by the Scriptures.
In addition, God adopts Christians into his own family, which is a common idea throughout the Bible. With adoption, we’re carrying on a humanitarian mission, allowing the rest of the world to see a glimpse of the truth and beauty of the gospel. Our understanding that race will play a significant role in our family dynamics when we began the adoption process prompted us to consider what a racially varied family would look like.
We think that when you gaze into the eyes of a human being, you’re looking into the face of a Godbearer, into the eyes of a person whose soul is immortal and that this is the case. While there’s a common thread that runs through all of humanity, this does not imply that our differences in race are meaningless.
The diverse physical qualities of the human family serve as our inspiring reminders of God’s creative power. We believe it’s not that we believe in the absence of race or that we do not recognize it. On the contrary, we’re aware of it and enthusiastically embrace its presence.
When I’m the only white person in a room full of African American friends while my son gets his hair trimmed on a Saturday morning, it’s a lovely and enriching experience. Another positive aspect of the friendship that’s formed as my wife seeks advice from a black friend on Facebook on how to properly care for our tiny multiracial daughter’s hair is that she’s not alone.
One of the most endearing aspects of having a multiethnic family may be found in the fact that the distinctions are precisely what enriches and completes ours. It forces you to consider your thoughts, words, actions, and way of life in a different light. The reality was that we were well aware that a white couple with nonwhite children would be met with a wide range of reactions, particularly in the south.
In our memories, there will always be the older white woman in Walmart who looked at us with utter disgust, or the African American mother who looked at us and simply shook her head in disbelief. On the other hand, there was a young black girl who broke down in tears when we informed her that this tiny child with her skin color was our son and the older white doctor who prayed over him and cradled him in his arms with tenderness.
Both of these events served as rays of hope, reminding us of how far our country had progressed, whilst the former encounters served as a sobering reminder of how far we still had to go. Last year we were introduced to the National Embryo Donation Center, which is a Christian embryo bank.
As a result of our dedication to the protection of the unborn and the desire to continue to grow our family through adoption, we hadn’t been seeking for anything new to add to our already overwhelming to do list because our adopted children were keeping us occupied. However, we had recently met a couple who strongly pushed us to consider embryo adoption as a viable option.
We were extremely moved by the prospect of expanding our family by rescuing these tiny lives generated through in vitro fertilization, and we were interested by the prospect of Rachel being able to go through the process of pregnancy.
We live in a world where hundreds of thousands of embryos have been frozen in just the United States alone, and we’re not alone. The majority of those who aren’t chosen by their biological parents are donated to science, destroyed or maintained in cryogenic storage. We should be willing to support embryo adoption and even participate in it ourselves.
If Christians or anybody else truly think that life begins at conception, the subject of the ethnicity we would choose for our adoptive embryos was brought up again during our meeting with the NEDC. We desired extra siblings who would feel racially connected to our first two children, so we inquired with the team at the NEDC about the possibility of being matched with African American embryos.
They agreed with our concerns regarding our children’s racial compatibility and were supportive of our decision to use African American embryos in our pregnancy. In September of last year, we had two embryos implanted and began the long process of determining whether or not the transfer had been a success.
It seemed like the day to go to the doctor couldn’t come soon enough. We made a very nervous trip to the local hospital in Honduras, where we were serving as full time missionaries. Six weeks following the transfer, the first thing we did was explain everything to our doctor in Spanish broken Spanish, that is.
He inquired several times as to our certainty that we had successfully transferred to embryos. Our response was affirmative, of course, we’re certain. One of those embryos, on the other hand, had split in half inside Rachel’s womb. She was, in fact expecting triplets, and not just any triplets either. Seeing practically every one of our friends and family members expressed great support for our family and the unorthodox manner in which we formed it has been uplifting in our minds.
We’re simply carrying out a dream that we had as children. In light of our country’s history, we have a desire that may not look like the dream of the ordinary family but it’s one that we’re thankful may come true. In particular, it’s heartening to note that so many of our fellow Millennial evangelicals are now placing a high premium on issues such as life, adoption and multi ethnic families.
When my son and daughter with his dark Brown skin and her Ringlet hair and somewhat Tan skin kissed my white wife’s developing belly I couldn’t stop myself from laughing. Every evening they said good night to those three growing young girls in her womb and today they got to say Goodnight to their newborn sisters face to adorable face.
For the first time our lives have taken a different path than we had anticipated twelve years ago when we were dating and discussing about adoption. But we are so grateful to God for gifting us with these precious children whom he’s placed in our care.
I recall a buddy who was going through the adoption process telling me that he’d always wanted his family to appear like a miniature United Nations mission field. Looking at my expanding family I like to go a step further daring to believe that our our family portrait contains a small glimpse of heaven. Thanks for reading.