An Awkward Silence
He rushed her to the hospital when she told him it was time. He only just managed to get her to the maternity ward before she went into labor. Now he could finally relax.
After a long wait, it was over and he saw his beautiful babies. But there was one thing that became apparent immediately – the children weren’t his.
Dreams Of A Family
Aaron and Rachel Halbert were both working as Presbyterian missionaries when they met and fell in love. Soon after they were married and began talking about children.
The ideal picture was children of their own, but problems with that route arose. Aaron felt guilty that he couldn’t give his new wife the child that she so desperately wanted. Putting on a brave face, he sat her down and started talking about something that he never thought he’d have to.
The couple felt like their lives were on track. They both had found the love of their life and married them. But it was painfully clear that they were missing something.
Aaron didn’t mind adoption, but Rachel wasn’t so sure. He prayed for a miracle, and that’s when he saw an opportunity arise.
In Need Of A Home
The couple was met with the opportunity to adopt two beautiful children. Rachel had to give up on having a child of her own and help these children in need of a home. They adopted the two children.
Rachel soon found that she felt like the children were her own. Still, though, Rachel felt like she still needed to have a child of her own.
Keeping The Dream Alive
They knew the chances of conception were low but they had to keep it up while they looked after their two adopted children. They went to the best doctors for help but the news was always the same. Rachel confided in some of her friends from her hometown in Mississipi.
Then, suddenly, Rachel had something she had to tell her husband. She just didn’t really know how to break the news to him.
At Long Last
It truly was a miracle. Rachel had the best possible news for her husband. She was carrying a child.
Aaron couldn’t believe it! He was so happy! He already loved his adopted kids so he couldn’t imagine how much he’d love his own flesh and blood. But after getting a check-up, the doctor said something that Aaron couldn’t believe.
The doctor told them they were pregnant from an artificial insemination process from a few weeks earlier. Like their adopted children before, they had chosen ethnic-minority embryos since they are the least picked.
Aaron’s parents were missionaries in Honduras. He was a “blue-eyed white boy” and stuck out a lot there. So the family he wanted just felt right to him. But the doctor wasn’t done yet.
More Than One
Rachel decided to be inseminated with two embryos to strengthen the likelihood of falling pregnant. Now they were told that she wasn’t just pregnant with one, but two children.
Their two children grew to four overnight and fate had one more surprise for them that they didn’t expect.
Getting To The Hospital
After nine months, the family was in Honduras and had to rush Rachel to the hospital after she told Aaron that she felt contractions. The twins were sick of waiting and were ready to come into the world.
Rachel said that the doctors were fantastic and the labor went as smoothly as it could have. Aaron was by his wife’s side the entire time. But the doctors noticed the surprise on his face when he saw his children. It wasn’t what he was expecting.
Watching Her Health
The doctors told them that when a mother undergoes a pregnancy with multiple babies, there’s a good chance the full-term pregnancy isn’t completed. Since she was going to give birth to twins her husband had to keep a watchful eye on her and make sure nothing happened.
The doctors ultimately chose to perform a C-section for the safeties of the babies and the mother. But the doctor found something that made him gasp. He couldn’t believe this.
Seeing the look on the doctor’s face, Aaron began to panic. Was something wrong? Were the babies okay? Then, the doctor looked up and said two words that sent a chill down his spine.
And when Aaron finally saw the babies with his own eyes, he took a closer look and couldn’t stop crying.
Aaron will remember that day in the hospital for the rest of his life. And he certainly hadn’t planned for this. He looked over at Rachel to monitor her reaction to the doctor’s news.
Rachel and Aaron were expecting twins. They were thinking about the names of their would-be children. However, it became clear that they would need to think of another name…
More Than Two
Aaron was already expecting two African-American babies when his wife went into labor, but he certainly wasn’t expecting three. The doctor cried “it’s triplets!” But how had this even happened?
The doctor questioned the couple, asking them if they were sure that Rachel had only been implanted with two embryos. Aaron’s mouth dropped open. That couldn’t be right, could it?
Although Aaron already considered himself a fully-fledged father to Ford and Catherine, nothing prepared him for the feeling he had inside the operating room.
But when the doctor pulled him aside and began to question him about the embryos they had adopted, he just didn’t know what to think. Something wasn’t adding up. They had adopted two embryos, not three.
It turned out that, unbeknownst to the couple, one of the embryos had split again, making triplets. When the babies were ready, Aaron excitedly held them in his arms.
He couldn’t believe how beautiful his three new children were and that finally, they have the family they’d always dreamed of. But life still had more surprises in store.
Rachel gave birth to Anne, Whitley, and Ryley in 2016. Even though it was not exactly what they had in mind, it turned out to be even better.
As soon as the triplets were born, Rachel and Aaron felt that their family was finally complete. The couple was full of happiness. But they never expected the heartache that soon followed.
Although they didn’t share the same DNA or ethnicity with their five kids, the Halberts was proud to be their parents. They appreciated the beauty of their interracial family.
“In our minds, we are just living out our dream. A dream that may not look like the average family, but one that we are thankful could come true in light of our country’s history,” Aaron continued. But did their family support them?
Richer And Fuller
“The beauty of a multi-ethnic family is found there, in the fact that the differences are the very thing that makes ours richer and fuller. It pushes you to think in a new way about how you think, speak, act, and live.”
“There is something beautiful and inspirational about being the only white face sitting and chatting with some of my African-American friends as my son gets his hair cut on a Saturday morning,” Aaron explained. But what did others think?
“It’s been heartening to see virtually all of our friends and family express overwhelming support for our family and the unusual ways we’ve built it,” Aaron said.
However, the new parents were surprised when they discovered that not everyone around them would be as supportive as their family and friends…
While Aaron and Rachel couldn’t have been prouder of their multi-ethnic family, some people had made a point of showing them what they thought.
“A black mother looked at us and just shook her head,” recalled Aaron. “And an elderly white woman looked at us with disgust.” But it would take more than that to get the Halbert family down.
“There will always be the older white woman in Walmart who stared at us with sheer disgust or the African-Ameican mother who looked at us and just shook her head,” Aaron said in an interview with the Washington Post.
But, thankfully, they also had good experiences. The Halberts were aware that not everyone would agree with their diversity. However, they were not seeking anyone’s approval.
The family will more than likely have to deal with spectators who don’t agree with their life choices. The Halberts are aware that not all people are in favor of diversity. But, they don’t care about other people’s opinions.
Aaron said, “One of the central themes of Christianity is, after all, that God, through His Son, is calling people from every tongue, tribe, and nation.”
“Grasping diversity will make the world stronger as we marvel at God’s creative genius on display through his people’s varying pigments, personalities, and proficiencies,” Aaron explained.
“Our differences are cause for celebration, not scorn.” Besides standing for diversity, the couple also had something to say about embryo adoption.
The couple believes that adopting an embryo is just as important as adopting a child. After they did their own research, they discovered that there are still millions of embryos waiting to be adopted. The embryos that Rachel received had been frozen for 12 years!
Rachel said, “We were not saying that those lives are any more important than the lives of the babies and children waiting to be adopted all across the world. No, they are not any more important, but they are no less important either. All of our children’s lives are valued.”
Not For Everyone
Although the couple was happy with their decision to proceed with embryo adoption, they warn that it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. They also agree that it’s not for everyone.
“Embryo adoption can also be very difficult for the donor family. I know the decision to donate your frozen embryos for adoption is probably the hardest you’ll ever make. It can be so painful to know that someone else is raising your biological children,” explained Rachel.
Even though embryo adoption is not for everyone it was the perfect choice for Aaron and Rachel. The couple got triplets as well as the priceless experience of pregnancy.
Rachel describes the experience as “beautiful and unique.” She also demonstrated her gratitude to the “brave and selfless” biological parents who donate the embryos.
The Halberts were completely open-minded about the idea of adoption and went into the process with an open heart, and they received fantastic blessings in return.
Rachel had hoped she would have four or five kids but she never thought it would happen so fast. The children are happy and healthy. They have two great parents who teach them good values and impart good morals. We are certain that they will grow up to have compassion, kindness, and optimism just like their mom and dad. But how does Rachel cope with five kids?
Anyone who has a child will agree that that one child is enough to keep a mom busy. Now, imagine having five!
“My days are filled with feeding five hungry kiddos, changing lots of diapers, tending to household duties, shepherding little hearts, loving on and playing with all five, doing/learning how to do the hair of four beautiful girls and one handsome little guy, and finding a minute or two to eat some food myself,” said the mom. But there’s another question on everyone’s mind…
Would They Do It Again?
You may be wondering if Aaron and Rachel will adopt more children after their experience.
“We’ll see what the future holds. For now, we’re enjoying this phase of life right now,” explained Rachel in an interview. As we can imagine, five kids are sure to keep them fully occupied. But Aaron and Rachel have not given up on their other life goals.
After the triplets were born, they decided to relocate to Tegucigalpa. Aaron and Rachel work in the capital and give back to the less fortunate. The special duo also has equal responsibility in taking care of their five children.
Nevertheless, Rachel is now a full-time mom. But the Halberts remain in the city to share the gospel in every way possible.
All five children enjoy growing up in America and in Honduras.
The Halbert family portraits are definitely not traditional, but their variety and love for one another shines through. The Halberts have displayed their humanity through their remarkable family story, and the children look happier than ever. Moreover, people around the world thank them for adopting children in need.
Since the first day of their incredible journey, Rachel and Aaron recognized the people who fully understand their missions and dreams in life.
They both know that they can’t have it all; however, they have enough to make their lives worth living. Rachel and Aaron shared that while many people look down on their family for having African-American children, none of them can ruin their happiness.