What makes a family? Is it a mommy, a daddy, and two kids? Is it two mommies, two daddies or biological children who carry the same genes as their parents? The definition of a family has evolved over the last couple of years.
It is no longer about being the same culture, sex, and race that bonds people together. You don’t have to carry a child in your womb to know you are their mommy and daddy. It is not necessary for your child to have your eye colour, hair texture for you to feel they are yours to love and care for.
When Aaron Halbert and his wife Rachel began dating 12 years ago they knew they wanted to adopt when the time was right. It was their deep religious belief that made them want to give children an opportunity to be raised in a loving home. They just chose a different route to do it.
"I was the blue-eyed, cotton-topped white kid who stuck out like a sore thumb, but all the while felt deeply connected to the people there, even though we looked very different," explains Aaron.
After a few trips to Haiti, she began to see the struggles and prejudices people of different colour and race encounter daily.
They visited an adoption agency in Mississippi where they told the staff they were, "willing to accept any child except a fully Caucasian child. 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."
"We see protection of children not as charity, nor as part of a political agenda, but as something near to the heart of God," explains Aaron about their adoption decision. "Because every human life bears his image, all life –no matter how young or old, no matter the stages of development — has inherent dignity and value."
"It’s not that we think race doesn’t exist, or that we don’t see it. In fact, it’s the opposite – we see it, and we embrace it," says Aaron.
The parents wanted the new babies to have a connection to their brother and sister. They asked the team at NEDC to be matched with African American embryos. Two embryos were implanted, hoping the transplant was successful.
"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," says the proud papa.
Yet, they wouldn't change anything about it one bit.
He sees these things as a way to connect with others and make life richer and fuller. "It forces you to think in a new way about the way you think, speak, act and live," says Aaron.
"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," says Aaron of his large family.