Becoming a parent is an exciting time, especially when the unexpected occurs. That’s precisely what happened when Aaron and Rachel Halbert discovered that they were going to have triplets. While many are surprised to find that three babies are on their way, the Halberts’ story was especially unique. Not even the doctors were prepared for the surprise behind these triplets. Read on to discover how this family defied the odds and left the experts stunned.
The Blind Date That Changed Everything
Aaron and Rachel met back in 2004 when they were set up on a blind date. Though meeting someone for the first time on a date can be a nightmare, it was as though these two were meant to be together.
The pair bonded deeply over their matching beliefs. Both were evangelical Christians with a passion for missionary work. As though by fate, they also were a compatible couple and fell in love. Though they weren’t in a rush to get married, what they discovered next about one another made it clear they were meant to be.
They Both Wanted To Adopt
As much as Aaron and Rachel could appreciate sharing the same core beliefs, there was one thing that left them especially impressed with one another. Each had a passion for adoption.
They knew that becoming parents to adopted children was a path they wanted to go down together. Being compatible as not only a couple but as future parents sealed the deal. Aaron proposed, and Rachel ecstatically accepted. They got married and began pursuing adoption.
Continuing Their Missionary Work
Aaron and Rachel wed in 2006, and shortly thereafter they had the opportunity to head to Honduras for missionary work. Aaron had grown up in Honduras because his parents were missionaries of the country throughout his childhood.
This time, Aaron would have the honor of filling his parents’ shoes with his new bride by his side. Rachel was thrilled to experience the country that her husband was raised in and to put their beliefs into action.
Returning To Mississippi
Aaron and Rachel’s time in Honduras ended after a few months and the couple returned to their home in Mississippi. Having been deeply moved by their trip, Aaron decided to pursue a pastoral degree.
The couple put their dreams of becoming adoptive parents on hold as they pursued careers molded by their faith. Though years passed, the couple’s time in Honduras never left their mind. On the contrary, their experience influenced one of the biggest decisions of their lives.
They Wanted A Racially Diverse Family
Having been one of the few Caucasian people in Honduras, Aaron and Rachel developed an appreciation for racial diversity. Since both were Caucasian, they knew that if they did conceive a child, it would be their same race.
The couple agreed that if they were meant to conceive, they would. At the same time, they wanted to ensure that their family was racially diverse by adopting any child who was not Caucasian. They also understood that non-Caucasian children can be harder to find homes for in the United States.
They Adopted Two Children
The couple approached an adoption agency in Mississippi and before long, they were matched with two children. One was an African-American boy, and the other was a biracial girl.
The couple quickly fell for the darling children and decided that it was a perfect fit. They adopted both children and named them Ford and Catherine. The couple knew that they would give these children all the love that they could, putting their faith above all else.
As challenging as becoming a new parent can be, the couple couldn’t be happier that they had the opportunity to raise two beautiful children. With two young children on their hands, they were sure that their lives were officially complete.
That all changed one day when close friends mentioned something called embryo adoption. Aaron and Rachel had been under the impression that their plate was already full, but something stirred inside of them that changed their minds.
Deciding To Embryo Adopt
Embryo adoption intrigued Aaron and Rachel due to their faith. During the process of in-vitro fertilization, multiple embryos are fertilized. This can result in leftover embryos that are handled in accordance with the biological parents’ wishes.
Couples can choose to put these embryos up for adoption, at which point different women can carry them to term. The idea fascinated Aaron and Rachel as it was in accordance with their beliefs and would give Rachel the opportunity to experience pregnancy.
Expanding Their Family
After conducting some research and discussing their options, Aaron and Rachel decided that embryo adoption was the path for them. They headed to an embryo donation center and started the process.
Since both of their children were of African-American descent, the couple decided that they wanted to select embryos that displayed the same race. Aaron explained in an article by The Washington Post, “We wanted additional siblings to feel connected to our first two children racially.”
Preparing For The Transfer
Once Aaron and Rachel agreed that embryo adoption was their plan of choice, Rachel needed to be evaluated by a fertility doctor for approval. Once they had the doctor’s recommendation, they signed a contract and arranged for the embryo transfer.
Before the procedure could be done, Rachel had to go on medication to prepare her body. At last, it was time to make their embryo adoption a reality. The couple excitedly waited to see if the procedure took.
They Were Hoping For Twins
Not only did Aaron and Rachel have a say in the race of the embryos, but they also could decide how many they wanted to have implanted. Just as they decided to adopt two children, they opted to adopt two embryos.
This meant that two embryos would be implanted into Rachel during the procedure. If the operation was a success, then she would carry both to term and give birth to twins. Now it was just a waiting game.
The Operation Worked
Six weeks after the procedure, Aaron and Rachel were delighted to discover that the embryo transfer was a success. Rachel was pregnant, which meant that she had two African American babies on the way.
The couple happened to be in Honduras when they discovered the news. The couple explained the process to their doctor in broken Spanish, and it became clear something was being lost in translation. Things were not adding up and the doctor became confused.
They Were Having Triplets
The doctor asked the couple again and again if they were sure it was just two embryos that had been implanted. Emphatically, Aaron and Rachel confirmed that it had been just two.
At last, the doctor revealed the ultrasound. Clear as day, there were not two, but three embryos in Rachel’s womb. This meant that the couple was not having twins, but triplets! Everyone in the room was equally stunned. They immediately asked the obvious question: how did this happen?
One Of The Embryos Had Split
As it turned out, both the doctor and the couple were accurate in their facts. Only two embryos had been implanted, and yet there were three babies Rachel birthed. The doctors discovered that one of the implanted embryos had split in Rachel’s womb.
This meant that two of the triplets were identical twins! Their family grew to seven, and the Caucasian couple embraced their five African-American children. Their dream had come true in an even bigger way than the couple expected.
As excited as Aaron and Rachel were to welcome the triplets into their home, their other children were perhaps the most thrilled. Each night Ford and Catharine would say good night to their younger sisters, even while Rachel was still pregnant.
Once the triplets were born, it was clear that Ford and Catharine would strive to be the best big brother and sister they could be. Aaron and Rachel couldn’t be more grateful for all five of their amazing children.
The Growing Girls
Aaron and Rachel named the triplets Anne, Whitley, and Riley. All three girls were healthy and happy, and the parents and siblings alike couldn’t have been more proud to have them as a part of their family.
Aaron expressed to The Washington Post how truly blessed he feels by these girls, especially considering that they were planning on just having two. As he put it, “In our minds, we are just living out our dream.”
The Support Of Family And Friends
As with any family, having the support of loved ones is paramount. Aaron wrote, “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.”
Indeed, their story is anything but traditional. Still, the couple is grateful for what they’ve been able to accomplish, and they strongly believe it is the best way to live out their faith and display their beliefs.
It Wasn’t What They Planned
Aaron admitted that the family they have today is not what he and Rachel planned when they first started talking about adoption all those years ago. How could they have foreseen Rachel would give birth to African-American triplets?
At the same time, that’s part of what he finds so incredible about the whole thing. They couldn’t have envisioned their family and how it would come to be, but the joyful surprises along the way are what made the journey so delightful.
Raising Five Children In Honduras
Rachel and Aaron fulfilled their goal to return to Honduras, where they now raise their five children. Rachel spends her days as a full-time mom while Aaron continues his work as a missionary.
Though they don’t know what the future holds, they are satisfied with their large family and the success they’ve achieved. They value all of their children equally and are very pleased with the decisions they made and the outcome, which for them is a dream.
Encouraging Multi-Ethnic Families
Aaron fondly remembered a friend telling him he wanted his family to look like a tiny United Nations. Certainly, Aaron could relate having had a passion for creating a multi-ethnic family of his own.
He stated that one of the things he’s most proud of about the experience is seeing its impact on his peers. He and Rachel hope that their family will inspire others to appreciate and value multi-ethnic families and adoption, both of which have brought them “sheer delight.”