The way in which a child is brought into the world is irrelevant. Each and every parent goes through an unusual but amazing path. However, this couple; Aaron and Rachel Halbert have a crazy story. The pair had triplets but theirs was something a bit weird that had all the medical staff wondering what this couple may have been hiding…
Rachel and Aaron Halbert grew up in totally different countries. Rachel grew up relatively normal in Mississippi Delta. On the other hand, Aaron grew up in Honduras where his parents were evangelical missionaries. Aaron knew all to well about racial diversity having been the only blonde-haired, blue-eyed child in his hometown. Rachel was rather unfamiliar with the subject. When Rachel hit her young adult years she started traveling to Haiti on mission trips. She wanted to experience more in the missionary world, and life had such in store…
In 2004 the couple was set up on a blind date, it was love at first sight. The pair were both extremely humbled and aimed to make their mark on the world through the gospel. They had a lot in common. They were certain a wedding and a family would be on the cards for them. They continued to date and develop their relationship with one another.
Taking It Slow
They went on missionary trips together, this brought them even closer. They eventually were exclusive and progressing steadily. The couple had one major thing in common, they both wanted to adopt kids. Aaron told the Washington Post, “When we were still dating, a common bond that drew us together was the fact that Rachel and I both wanted to adopt.”
They had no problem with fertility but they thought the more Christian thing to do was adopt. Aaron explained, “While we were fertile, we were both deeply convicted that one of the ways to be pro-life is to involve ourselves in adoption.” When they discussed adoption they knew that they were meant to be. Not long after, Aaron proposed. Rachel, old course, said “yes.” Their big day was not far off.
They were lucky to have found one another so easily, many people spend most of their adult years searching for their match. The couple married in 2006 and exchanged their vows the traditional way. Once married, they were eager to have kids but decided to wait a while. Their work was challenging as it is, but they had faith that an opportunity would come about soon enough.
Soon after getting married, they were asked to return to Honduras. The pair embarked on a journey to Aaron’s hometown later on in that year. Aaron was excited and so was Rachel but she was also a little nervous. Rachel was eager to see where her husband had grown up. Missionaries worked just outside of Tegucigalpa as English teachers at a school in the region. Not your typical idea of a honeymoon, but it was for the Halberts. When they arrived, they began to notice the degradation in the area.
The couple had been there for months and had spoken of their concerns for the region. They also saw that the churches needed to enforce the gospel. From that moment on they knew this was their mission to achieve. However, the time had come for them to leave, as much as they wanted to stay there they had other things in store. The couple returned to Mississippi satisfied with their accomplishments and work done. A huge surprise was awaiting them at home…
The pair settled into their routine, however, Aaron had something else he wanted to accomplish. Aaron had wanted to get a Master of Divinity, this is a pastoral degree in America. he decided to enroll at the Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi. The couple dreamt and longed to return to Honduras. A few years passed and they decided to look into expanding their family. The question was whether to adopt or conceive themselves?
However, they wanted to still assist their community in Mississippi. As missionaries, they felt their job was never-ending. Aaron was both an intern and youth director in Yazoo City at the Second Presbyterian, whilst Rachel taught at a local school. The pair were leaning more towards adoption. “We see the protection of children not as charity, nor as part of a political agenda, but as something near to the heart of God,” Aaron told the Washington Post.
At the same time, they also debated their return to Honduras. After all, Aaron was raised there and they were aware of the needs of the community there. The pair traveled back on a mission with the Presbyterian Church of America. They decided that they would tr conceive naturally bt also take a visit to a local adoption agency. They were eager to start a family and ended up spending a day at the adoption agency.
Once immersing themselves in the adoption agency they decided this was the route they wanted to opt for. The couple was well aware that nonCaucasian kids struggled to find forever homes. The couple said that they would adopt any child but not a fully Caucasian child. If this would not happen it would be a sign from God that they were to have their own child. Aaron explained, “We did this with the deeply held conviction that if the Lord wanted us to have a fully Caucasian child my wife would conceive naturally.” What would happen?
The agency managed to find a match quickly for the Halberts. The Halberts had made the correct decision. Rachel and Aaron fell head over heels in love with two children of African-American descent. The pair decided to adopt both the girl and the boy. Ford and Catherine would be welcomed into their family with open arms. Naturally, the couple also thought about the challenges that would arise due to them being a racially diverse family. Regardless, they knew they were well equipped to handle anything.
Not long after the adoption, the couple found themselves discussing more children. They were ready to add even more to the family. They had their hands full with their new children and doubted the timing. However, they thought it was a sign when they met up with a friend that mentioned embryo adoption. Rachel and Aaron researched the topic although they had never heard of it before then.
In the upcoming weeks, they researched and educated themselves as much as they could. They were stunned at their findings. “We live in a world with hundreds of thousands of embryos frozen in the United States alone,” exclaimed Aaron, “Most who aren’t selected by their biological parents are donated to science or destroyed or kept frozen.” This meant that viable embryos are simply discarded. Embryo adoption changes this. The couple were compelled by the idea…
The couple felt obligated after their research. This was a great way for Rachel to be able to carry the children herself. Their beliefs were the deciding factor for this method. “If Christians – or others – really believe life begins at conception, it follows that we should respond by being willing to support embryo adoption and even take part in it ourselves,” Aaron said. It was settled and they went to the National Embryo Donation Center to begin the process.
Rachel was eager to start the process but, naturally, it was scary and nerve-racking too. She would have to undergo various procedures in order to prepare herself for the embryo implantation. All went well. In September of 2015, the in-vitro fertilization process was underway. The next thing they could do was to simply wait and see the results…
Just as in normal in-vitro fertilization the couples had many obstacles that lay ahead. They would also need luck to be on their side. In order to undergo the procedure, Rachel would need to go through hormone treatments for months before the operation. Rachel only has a 10 percent chance of the implantation being a success. Additionally, the process is costly as each attempt costs between $10,000 and $15,000. Insurance does not cover the procedures, this adds to the couple’s reason for being stressed.
They were also going through this process whilst preparing for their return to Honduras. As they awaited to see whether it would be a success the family traveled to Honduras. The dedicated family wasted no time. Six weeks following the implantation they visited a local hospital to find out the result. Well, did the embryo take? They discussed the ordeal with a doctor in broken Spanish to the best of their ability.
The doctor showed a confused look during their appointment. He was well aware of what in-vitro was, but soemthing was not making sense. He questioned whether they were sure only two embryos were transferred- the couple said yes. They were told that the procedure was a success. The pair were ecstatic. However, the doctor had more news. It would soon be understood why he kept questioning the number of embryos.
The Honduran doctor showed Rachel and Aaron their ultrasound, it all made sense. Rachel was pregnant with three babies! The couple was about to have triplets, they would soon be a family of 7. As happy as they were, they were still in shock. However, they saw it as a sign from God. Aaron and Rachel both wanted a big family, their wish would soon come true.
Aaron and Rachel were ecstatic in anticipation as they awaited their triplets. But, there were two other special little people who were even more excited. Aaron wrote on Facebook, “I felt sheer delight during this pregnancy watching my son and daughter, with his dark brown skin and her with the ringlet hair and slightly tan skin, kiss my white wife’s growing belly. Each evening they said goodnight to those three growing little girls in her belly.” Catherine and Ford could not wait to meet their little sisters.
In 2016 the halbert family welcomed Anne, Whitley, and Ryley. This experience exceeded all their expectations it was way better. The family felt extremely blessed with the arrival of their baby girls. “Oh, how thankful we are for God blessing us with these sweet little ones He has placed in our care,” Aaron commented. he sees all his kids as his biggest blessings. Aaron further said, “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.”
Their children may not be related by blood but they are proud to call them their kids. Aaron and Rachel adore the beauty of a mixed-race family. “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 forces you to think in a new way about the way you think, speak, act and live,” Aaron e, “There is something beautiful and enriching 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.”
The family received an outpouring of support. Aaron said, “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.” Rachel and Aaron were also happy they completed their mission. He said, “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.”
Their decisions were frowned upon by some. “We knew, especially in the South, that a white couple with non-white children would draw a myriad of different reactions. There will always be the older white woman in Walmart who stared at us with sheer disgust or the African-American mother who looked at us and just shook her head,” Aaron told the Washington Post, “There was also the young black girl who wept when we told her this little boy with her skin color was our son, and the older white doctor who lovingly prayed over him and held him so tenderly.”
They Don’t Mind
The family may turn a few heads and might have a few awkward onlookers. However, the Halberts are aware that not everyone believes in diversity. The important thing is that they do not care for the approval from those people. Aaron explained, “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. Our differences are cause for celebration, not scorn.”
“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,” Rachel said. She also discussed how she truly felt deeply for individuals who gave up their children. “It can be so painful to know that someone else is raising your biological children. For some reason, whether medical or family size or financial or age, you are unable to have any more transfers.”
Embryo adoption may not be for just anyone but it was truly a blessing for Aaron and Rachel. They got three beautiful babies and the experience of pregnancy. Rachel discussed the experience as “beautiful and unique.” She also praised the “brave and selfless” biological parents that actually donate embryos.
Rachel and Aaron think both normal and embryo adoption are equally as important. The couple are aware that people do not know of embryo adoption. Millions of embryos are waiting to be adopted. The two embryos that Rachel and Aaron used had been waiting 12 years! Rachel exclaimed, “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.”
Mother Of Five
Moms will vouch that having children is a great way to reduce your free time. Now, lets times that by five for Rachel. They for sure have a busy household, but Rachel adores looking after her children. Rachel said, “I would imagine that my life as mom looks a whole lot like the life of any mom. 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 hair of four beautiful girls and one handsome little guy, and finding a minute or two to eat some food myself.”
the Halberts went into adoption with an open mind and open hearts, they received priceless blessings in return. Rachel had wanted 4 or 5 children but did not think she would get them so quickly. It is love that makes a family a family. Aaron and Rachel are world-class parents, their children are happy and healthy. They are instilling great morals and values and we can only imagine that they will have the same big hearts as their parents.
Do Aaron and Rachel want more children? “We’ll see what the future holds. For now, we are enjoying this phase of life right now,” said Rachel. We have no doubt that their hands are rather full with the five they have. The couple hopes their story will inspire others and allow for them to educate themselves on embryo adoption. Even with five kids the couple wanted to do more missionary work in Honduras.
With the triplets as the new edition, they moved to Tegucigalpa. Rachel and Aaron give back to the community there. The pair also share the duties of caring for their children. However, Rachel decided to be a full-time mom, we certainly do not blame her! She must have a full plate with five toddlers. They continue to teach and spread the gospel.
The children enjoy growing up both in America and Tegucigalpa. The Halbert family portraits express the epitome of love and are a rare kind of beautiful. This is what family is truly about. Aaron and Rachel have depicted that they do practice what they preach. Their children embody their humanity and their family story is simply incredible.