It’s hard not to love kids, even if they are not biologically your own. For families that choose to adopt, it’s a decision that’s not made lightly, but usually with love at the core. Family is family.
When Rachel and Aaron Halbert were a few years into their marriage, they were sure they wanted to adopt. In fact, they shared that ideal in common while they were still dating. Though they spent time trying to conceive on their own, they wound up visiting an adoption agency in Mississippi.
The Halberts were open to adopting children of any ethnic background with one exception – no Caucasians. Yes, they are Caucasian. In a Washington Post article, they referred to their deeply-held evangelical beliefs as influencing their decision, as well as statistics that point to it being easier for white children to be adopted than those of color. So, they chose to adopt children of color.
An African-American boy and a biracial girl were adopted by the Halberts. As excited parents to two young children, the Halberts wanted to continue expanding their family. The couple began researching embryo banks, something that they’d heard about from another adoptive family. They also pointed out that it was in line with their beliefs to preserve life through embryo adoption.
Aaron and Rachel learned about a Christian embryo bank called the National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC). Centers like this receive frozen embryos that are rejected by the biological parents and which otherwise could be destroyed. Embryos are then selected for adoption and implanted in a woman’s womb.
During the interview and selection process with NEDC, Rachel and Aaron decided that they wanted all their children to have a similar ethnic makeup. Therefore, they chose African-American embryos, and in 2015 Rachel underwent the process for implantation of two.
While away on a missionary trip in Honduras, the Halberts visited a medical facility where they learned Rachel was not only pregnant, but pregnant with triplets! One of the two embryos split in two, giving the couple quite the surprise. In April 2016, Rachel gave birth to three baby girls – Ryley, Whitley, and Anne Waverly.
With Rachel’s deep South roots, life in Mississippi for the Halberts came with expected mixed reactions when people saw their family. They say they’ve seen everything from confusion to support to disgust. But it’s also given them the opportunity to bond with other families of various backgrounds. The couple loves their multi-ethnic family and speak about how sweet it is to see their older children interact with their baby sisters.
They also acknowledge how much their hearts have grown over the years by their experience:
“This is not the way we planned it 12 years ago when we were dating and talking about adoption, but oh, how thankful we are for God blessing us with these sweet little ones He has placed in our care. I can remember a friend going through the adoption process telling me he had always wanted his family to look like a little United Nations.
As I look at my growing family, I prefer to take it a step further, daring to hope that our family picture is a little hint of Heaven.”
These days, missionary work in Honduras is keeping the Halberts busy, and their hope for the future is that people are more accepting of each other – as humans.
What are your thoughts on the Halberts’ unique story? Are you familiar with embryo adoption? Tell us in the comments!