Not all couples are given a chance to bear a child, so just the ability to carry a child is already a big blessing and is something that one should not take for granted. Every child that is born into this world is a blessing sent from above. They say that having a child and having to raise one is a different kind of joy and journey for every parent. Aaron and Rachel had their own story about their bundle of joys; yes, “joys.” Rachel and Aaron were blessed with lovely triplets. However, there is something about the triplets that seemed to worry about the nurses in the nursery room.
Rachel was born in the Mississippi Delta while Aaron was raised in Honduras. When Rachel turned 18, she started going on mission trips, and her first was in Haiti. Rachel had so many things in her mind that she wanted to achieve. What opportunity could there be waiting for Rachel?
While Rachel had no experience and had no experience with racial diversity, the two grew up from distinct countries, environments, and practices. On the other hand, Aaron is the only kid in their town who is blue-eyed and blonde-haired, and he has dealt with it all his life. She is hoping that her mission trip will help her learn new things and gain more experiences
The two met on an online dating app where people who match would go on a blind date. It was in 2004 when the two first met in person, and the two fell in love with each other immediately. It was love at first sight. It was like fate made them meet each other since they both have the same traits and goals. Rachel and Aaron were both missionaries, down to earth, and wanted to make the world a better place by sharing God’s word. The two had planned on getting married, but they didn’t want to rush things, and they both have other things that they want to do on their own. As they continued with their relationship, the two had the chance to know each other more and learned how to manage their differences.
Taking It Slow
Since they are always together for their missionary trips, Rachel and Aaron grew fonder with one another, and their relationship became more steady than it was before. Being together for their missionary trip, both of them had a chance to know more about each other, which strengthened the foundation of their relationship.
One Major Common Idea
During an interview with the Washington Post, Aaron shared that the thing that made them closer. They both planned to adopt. “When we were still dating, a common bond that drew us together was the fact that Rachel and I both wanted to adopt,” Aaron explained. The couple had been intent on the idea and had been for most of their lives. It was a really special thing to connect with each other, and so soon.
Despite the two of them being fertile, Rachel and Aaron decided that it’s better to adopt kids than conceive them because they believed that fostering is a more Christian thing to do. They also found that involving themselves in adoption is one way to be pro-life.
They realized that they had so many things in common the moment they began discussing adoption, and decided that they wanted to spend the rest of their lives with each other. Aaron proposed to her after a while of dating each other and got a yes from Rachel! Then one thing led to another and, after the proposal, everything happened so quickly.
A lot of people spend their young adult years finding the right person for them, but for Rachel and Aaron, it was different. It was like fate brought them together, a match made in heaven. Their common traits, likes, and beliefs made them perfect for each other. It was in 2006 when the couple finally exchanged their vows and got married.
Now that they’re living a married life, Rachel and Aaron both wanted to have a child of their own, but it was difficult because of their work. So they didn’t want to rush things and thought that it would happen when the time was right. They wanted to do it all, but in the meantime, at the moment their missionary work was most important, they knew that everything would come to them in due time.
Months after their wedding, the couple was offered to go back to Honduras and to continue their mission there. Rachel and Aaron accepted the offer gratefully and agreed to join the mission together. The two immediately flew to Honduras later that year. The couple was so excited to go back to Honduras since Aaron grew up, but Rachel was a little nervous since it would be her first time meeting some of Aaron’s relatives.
No Ordinary Honeymoon
The missionaries generally serve as English teachers in Honduras. This trip may not be the honeymoon most people dream of, but it was the best for Rachel and Aaron. The couple noticed some odd stuff in the area when they got there. They couldn’t identify what it was, though.
After some months of staying there, the married couple started to notice the community’s needs and lacks. They learned that the churches there needed to teach the gospel. After learning about that, the married couple took that as their mission and was very happy to accomplish it and explain the word of the Lord. But unfortunately, the couple was not able to fulfill their mission because it was time for them to fly back home.
Heart Full Of Honduras
The couple wanted to stay and help the community there, but they had to do some other things. After their mission, they flew back home and we’re happy with how their mission turned out. The community in which they have served them will always have a special place in their hearts. Honduras is always going to have a major place in their hearts.
When they got back home from their mission in Honduras, they went back to live their old lives. However, Aaron had always wanted to get a Master of Divinity. It is like a pastoral degree in the states. Aaron then pursued his dream and enrolled himself at the Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi. Even though they are now back in Mississippi, the couple never forgot about Honduras. They always thought about going back there. After some years, the couple had plans of having their own child and were deciding whether they should bear one or just adopt a child.
The couple decided to continue serving their community, and them being missionaries, it felt like they never ran out of things to do. Rachel was teaching at the community’s local school while Aaron was an intern and, at the same time, the youth director at Second Presbyterian.
Topic of Adoption
The couple had no time to bear a child, with so many things on their plate, and considered adoption the best option. Aaron told the Washington Post that adoption is not a means of charity or a political agenda for them. It was, for them, a Christian thing to do.
Aside from that, the couple is also considering going back to Honduras. The place always had a special place in their hearts because that is where Aaron was raised, and they want to help the community more since they already know what it needs. The couple then went back on a mission together with the Presbyterian Church of America. Rachel and Aaron tried to bear a child naturally but also visited adoption centers in Mississippi. At that time, the couple was ready to build their own family and have a child. The married couple spent the whole day at the adoption center and discovered a lot of things.
Rachel and Aaron had decided that this was what they wanted to do after visiting the adoption center. The couple were very aware of how hard it is to find a home and good parents for non-Caucasian children. Rachel and Aaron were willing to accept any child, but not a fully Caucasian child.
Fate And Faith
Rachel and Aaron, however, thought that if they were ever denied adoption, it only meant that God wanted them to have a child of their own. 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.” The pair were determined to leave it in their faith and fate ‘s hands.
The adoption center was quick to find kids for Rachel and Aaron. When they saw the two kids, they immediately fell in love with them and thought that they made the right decision. The kids were a boy and a girl of African-American descent; their names are Ford and Catherine. The couple couldn’t choose which one to adopt, so they ended up taking both of them.
When both Ford and Catherine were adopted, they already knew that race would have a significant impact on their family. The couple were also aware that, as a racially diverse family, there could be challenges they would encounter along their way. But despite all that, the couple were certain that whatever happens, they would be able to overcome and deal with it.
After adopting the kids, the couple talked, had some discussions, and figured they wanted to have more kids. However, their two kids kept them busy, so they thought that it might not be the time for them to have new kids. However, when they bumped into a friend who suggested that they check out embryo adoption, they took it as a sign to have new kids. The couple sat down and decided to research embryo adoption. They’ve never heard of it before; it was their first time to hear about it.
After weeks of researching and reading about it, the couple has learned enough about embryo adoption. Rachel and Aaron still can’t believe what they learned. They discovered that there are thousands and thousands of frozen embryos in the United States alone. Some of the embryos are donated to science, some are being destroyed, while some are frozen and kept; this just means that a lot of embryos go to waste.
A Newer Idea
He added, “Most who aren’t selected by their biological parents are donated to science or destroyed or kept frozen.” Did you know that most embryos simply go to waste? A different person could use it by adopting an embryo. This was something for them that sounded perfect. Imagine the number of embryos that are lost in just a day. Aside from that, they also learned that embryo adoption allows people to adopt and use embryos for themselves.
The couple felt the need to do something about it after reading about the topic. Rachel and Aaron thought that if they considered adopting embryos, it would allow Rachel to be pregnant and bear a child of her own. However, their faith and beliefs as Christians were the very reason why they are considering the option. They said that if people believe that life begins when an egg is fertile, then it is only right that they support embryo adoption, and it is okay to undergo the process themselves.
Support Embryo Adoption
After some time of talking and discussing, the couple finally decided to give the process a go. “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. They then dropped by the National Embryo Donation Center so that they could start the operation.
Rachel Halbert was so excited to start the process, but there’s a part of her that was nervous and scared at the same time. Before proceeding with the process, Rachel had to undergo some various treatments and tests to make sure that her body is in good shape for embryo adoption. After some treatments and tests, everything went well. It was September in 2015 when Rachel was ready to go through IVF. IVF or in-vitro fertilization is a process where an egg and sperm are combined outside the body. Now all that’s left for them to do is to wait and pray that everything turns out well. After all, embryo adoption is not an easy process.
Just like any other IVF, there are a lot of obstacles that you’ll go through just to make sure that everything turns out well. Aside from that, IVF is a bit expensive. Just the attempt to undergo the process already costs around $10,000 to $15,000. However, most health insurance does not cover the process. Imagine all the stress Rachel and Aaron had to go through for the procedure.
There are also a lot of methods that a woman should go through, apart from the price you have to pay for it, just to ensure that everything turns out well. The fact that each attempt goes for $10,000 to $15,000 is what makes it even more incredible. Mind you, this process is not covered by most insurance plans. They are not only doing a really good deed, they are also supporting the bill, an expensive process for something to save a life.
Just like what was mentioned before, all this happened while the family was getting ready to go back to Honduras for their missionary work. Before they left, the couple waited to check if the implantation was successful. After that, Aaron, Rachel, and their two kids flew to Honduras immediately since there is no time to waste for them.
Rachel and Aaron went to the hospital for a check-up after a month and two weeks before the procedure, to see if the procedure went well. The married couple spoke to the doctor when it was their turn for the check-up and tried to clarify their case. They were hopeful and anxious, but the odds were low. So, did it work?
During their check-up, when they tried to explain their situation, the doctor was confused. The doctor was fully aware of what an IVF is, but something just wasn’t bright. The doctor then asked them if they were sure that only two embryos were transferred, and they were sure that it was only two, so they answered yes. After the check-up, the doctor told them that the transfer was successful. After hearing about the news, Rachel and Aaron were so happy and excited for the babies. However, that’s not the only news that the doctor has for them. Soon they’ll know why the doctors kept asking them for the number of embryos that were transferred.
When the doctor showed Aaron and Rachel the screen of the ultrasound, it finally made sense to them. The reason why the doctor kept asking for the number of the embryos transferred is that Rachel was pregnant with triplets! They are now soon to be a family of 7. The married couple was so happy and excited about the news, but they are still shocked that Rachel was pregnant with three fetuses when they’re only expecting two. However, the couple again took it positively and thought that this might be God’s plan for them. The couple finally fulfilled their wish to have a big family.
While Aaron and Rachel couldn’t wait for the triplets to be born, Catherine and Ford were more excited about the arrival of the triplets. Aaron couldn’t contain his excitement that he even posted a status on Facebook and shared about her wife’s pregnancy and how their two children would kiss their mommy’s tummy every night and say goodnight to those three growing babies inside her belly. Catherine and Ford can’t wait to meet their three little sisters.
Finally, it was time for the Halbert family to meet the triplets. It was in 2016 when Rachel gave birth to Anne, Whitley, and Ryley. This may not be their original plan, but it was much better than what they had in mind. The arrival of the triplets was a blessing to the family. In an interview, Aaron said that they were all thankful to God for blessing them with three lovely baby girls.
This happy dad also 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.” With three new additions, Aaron loved his family, what they stood for, and was ready to begin this new chapter. He went on to share that it made him want to have more children as he looked at his growing family.
All their kids may not be related to them by blood, but the couple is still proud and happy to call their children their own. Rachel and Aaron also loved the beauty of having a racially diverse family. Aaron shared that what is great about being in a multi-ethnic family is that their differences are what make their bond and relationship richer and stronger.
Aaron said, “It forces you to think in a new way about the way you think, speak, act and live. 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,” It makes you think way differently from how you usually think and live a life different from what you see.
With their story being shared online, the Halbert family gained a lot of support from other people. They were so overwhelmed to see how their family, friends, and even those people who they don’t know express their support and love for their family. Rachel and Aaron were also happy that they got to fulfill their goal. Aaron shared that for him and Rachel, they are just living the life they dreamed of. It may not look like the typical family that a person would wish to have, but it was a family that they will always be thankful for having.
Rachel and Aaron’s family may be getting a lot of love and support from other people, but there will always be people who think otherwise. The couple was pretty much aware that a white couple with non-caucasian children would call a lot of attention. Aaron said that there will always be an old white woman who will see him with his non-white children and look at them with disgust. He even shared this when a black girl cried when they told her that the little boy with the same skin color as hers was their son. The married couple saw all of this coming, but they continued with their decision and made sure that these issues won’t bother them.
They Don’t Mind
There will always be times when people will look at them awkwardly, but they didn’t mind them at all. The married couple was fully aware that not all people accept racial diversity. However, the couple thought that they didn’t need the approval of other people. They believed that as long as they don’t step on anyone and they don’t farm other people, it is acceptable. After all, in the eyes of God, we are all the same. No matter what race, color, the figure we have, He treats us all equally.
During an interview, Rachel shared how embryo adoption can be hard for the donor family and how much harder it is to decide to donate your frozen embryos for adoption. She also expressed her sympathy for those who had to give up their children and adopt them. She said that no matter what reason it may be that you had to adopt out your children, she knows how painful it can be to know that someone else is taking care and raising your biological child.
Embryo adoption may not be the best option and suitable for everyone, but for the Halberts, it was perfect for them. Not only because they had triplets, but also because she got to experience and knew what it feels like to be pregnant. Rachel shared that the feeling of being able to bear a child is something that she can’t explain; she said it felt magical. She also did not forget to take credit for those selfless biological parents who were brave enough to donate their embryos.
For Aaron and Rachel, embryo adoption is also essential, like a typical adoption. However, they know that only a few people know about it, while millions of frozen embryos are waiting to be adopted. Not to mention that the embryos they used had been there for 12 years! Even themselves had no idea that it existed at first; they only knew about it when they heard about it from a friend. Rachel said that they are not saying that those lives are less important than those lives waiting to be adopted in the orphanage. What they are saying is that they also are not less important.
Mother Of Five
Some will say that having kids will deprive you of having your free time but imagine having five kids. Indeed, the Halbert household is always busy with all the kids they have there, but Rachel seemed to not mind at all since she loves looking after their kids and spending time with them. She said that her life as a mom is the same as the life of other moms out there. Like any other mother, her day is filled with a lot of feeding, changing diapers, bathing kids, grooming children, and many more mother duties.
The Halberts always wanted to adopt kids, and luckily they got amazing children. Rachel always desired to have 4 or 5 children, but she did not expect to have them in a short period of time. But despite all of it, the couple were still happy with their big family. Of course, the children were delighted too. The couple were great parents to the kids and taught them ethical values also. Indeed, these kids will grow up to be the right person, just like their mom and dad.
When the couple was asked if they want more kids in the future, they said that they don’t know yet. The couple said that whatever the future may hold, so be it, but now, they just want to focus on their kids and enjoy the life they have with them. The couple is hoping that their story would influence people in considering embryo adoption. The Halberts may have a lot on their plate right now with having five kids, but it still didn’t stop them from going on missionary trips to Honduras.
After the triplets were born, Aaron and Rachel decided to move to Honduras because they thought that if they move there, they’ll be able to help those people in need. Aside from helping, the couple also took turns on taking care of the kids. However, Rachel decided to be a full-time mom later on. Having five kids to take care of did not stop the couple from spreading the word of the Lord.
When they were back in Honduras, Rachel and Aaron continued to work as missionaries in Tegucigalpa, and the kids loved growing up there. Being a racially diverse family, their family may not be the typical type of family that you would think of, but that’s not what’s important. What’s important is that despite the differences that they have in the family, they still love one another. The couple indeed showed that they practice what they preach. Their story showed us how good and loving this couple is. They genuinely have a fantastic family.