In an essay for the Washington Post, Christian evangelical Aaron Halbert opened up about his and his wife’s decision to “adopt” Black embryos from a Christian embryo bank with the intent of carrying the embryos to term. The implantation resulted in triplet baby girls. Prior to undergoing this procedure, the couple had tried to conceive on their own, and they also adopted two children: one Black and one biracial.
Halbert is the son of Christian missionaries. Chunks of his childhood were spent in Honduras while his parents were doing missions work. His wife, however, grew up in the deep south and apparently, held prejudice against minorities. But accoridng to her doting husband, she was cured of her racism after a few missions trips to Haiti.
My wife, on the other hand, grew up in the delta of Mississippi and it wasn’t until she took a few trips to Haiti that the veil of racial prejudice was lifted from her eyes.
According to Aaron, who is now a proud father of five multi-ethnic children, he and his wife believed that if it were God’s will for them to parent fully White children, they would have conceived naturally.
Several years into our marriage, even as we were pursuing the idea of returning to Honduras as missionaries with the Presbyterian Church in America, we visited an adoption agency in Mississippi, where we were living at the time. We were also trying at the time to conceive naturally. Knowing that it is often more challenging to find adoptive homes in the United States for non-Caucasian children we informed the agency that we 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.
At the suggestion of a friend, the couple then decided to explore embryo adoption. For a second time, they chose to add African-American children to their family.
When we met with the NEDC, we were again faced with the question of what ethnicity we would choose for our adopted embryos. We wanted additional siblings to feel connected to our first two children racially, and asked the team at the NEDC if we could be matched with African-American embryos. They agreed with our thoughts about our kids matching each other racially and were supportive of the decision to select African-American embryos.
Although rearing Black children has come with its share of challenges, including long and uncomfortable stares from both Blacks and Whites during trips to the local Walmart, Aaron is also thoroughly enjoying the experience—including witnessing his “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.”
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. There is also something wonderful in the relationship that is built as my wife asks a Black friend on Facebook how to care for our little biracial daughter’s hair. The beauty of a multi-ethnic family is found there, in the fact that the differences are the very thing that make ours richer and fuller. It forces you to think in a new way about the way you think, speak, act and live.
Of course, when it comes to the couple’s decision to adopt Black children and embryos, feelings seem to be mixed. While some praise the couple for opening their homes to children without families, others have accused them of fetishizing Black children while hiding behind the Christian faith.
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You can read the full essay here.