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An adoptee's story: Thanks for giving me life

bomberger family
Courtesy of Radiance Foundation

“You should’ve been aborted.”

As a pro-life, pro-family, pro-liberty factivist, I’ve heard and read that response more times than I can count. It’s funny how strangers who demand respect and tolerance often offer neither.

You are reading my words, today, because my birthmom didn’t end my life. Despite being a victim of rape, she did not make me a victim of abortion. For that, I’m eternally grateful. I couldn’t control the circumstances of my conception. Nobody can. Yet, many act as arbiters of human value, determining one’s right to live based on worthiness or wantedness.

My existence makes tangible what is so easy to reject in the abstract. What about rape? It seems nearly every day I’m asked that publicly on our various Radiance Foundation social media platforms or in private DMs. I wouldn’t exist if my birthmom had chosen abortion, so I choose to fight for the most marginalized among the marginalized. I choose to fight to protect women from a predatory abortion industry that exploits tragedy and profits from fear.

To the birthmom I’ve never met, thanks for giving me life.

My journey began in trauma, but it didn’t stay there. Love rescued me from becoming just another tragic statistic. My parents didn’t reject me because of how I came to be but loved me into who I was meant to be. On Juneteenth, a little over a month after my first birthday, I was officially a Bomberger. Our ever-expanding home grew to hold thirteen children; ten were adopted. Nearly each year following my adoption, a new child — or, as I like to say a new flavor — was added to the family. My family epitomizes the oft-used, ever-abused, term of diversity. We’re white, black, mixed, Native American, Vietnamese, albino, able, disabled, loved.

My mom and dad, Andrea and Henry Bomberger, deeply cared for us all regardless of the circumstances of our past or the condition of our present. There were really tough situations they had to navigate. (By the way, in case people missed the memo, biological children come with tough navigational routes too.) Adoption happens because of brokenness. But, in the natural and supernatural, it leads to wholeness. I know this because I lived it.

So many naysayers tried to dissuade my parents from their calling:

“How will you raise children who don’t look like you?” 

“You want to adopt black children? What will the community think?”

“What about your own children?”

All 13 of us were their own children. They fought for each of us to understand our worth in Christ and our equality in a society that is still destructively fixated with the hues of our skin. I thank God that my parents didn’t cave to the pressure. Who says you have to be the same color to love someone? I will be the first to say anyone who insists that you need to be is a racist. My beautifully diverse family is the reward of slavery abolitionists. It’s the prize of the Civil Rights movement. It’s the realization that color isn’t what binds us; love is.

That powerful legacy plays itself out in siblings (you know the ones who are their “own” children) who have become adoptive parents. It’s continued in several of my nieces and nephews who have also adopted. To the naysayers who couldn’t comprehend how adoption unleashes purpose, you couldn’t stop the transformation that God set in motion.  

To my parents who poured into me genuine faith, hope and love, thanks for giving me life.

Being a husband and father is a blessing. I credit my dad, a man who chose me to be his son, with instilling this in me. There are so many countless times he came to my rescue, never giving up on me even when my actions were publicly humiliating. He served the God of forgiveness and extended that to me, I would say, far more times than 70 times seven. My father was a man who loved to laugh and was determined to see the positive in everything and everybody. His vibe was contagious. He loved Jesus, and it showed. He was a deep well that so many people would draw from. When he tragically passed away, last year, on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I was devastated.

Why was such a light taken from this world? Daniel 12:3 states: “Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever.” He still shines through the lives of his children and the many people his heart has touched. The Radiance Foundation recently launched the Henry and Andrea Bomberger Adopted and Loved Fund in their names to help financially assist a new generation of Christian parents to adopt and love vulnerable children.

I’m an adoptive dad. My oldest and youngest were adopted. All four of my kiddos are loved like crazy. I’ll never forget when my wife, after we got engaged, asked if I could love her biological daughter the same as any children we might have together. I remember laughing a little and saying: “Uhhh, have you met me? I’m the favorite in the family!” I needed her to know that I would love her daughter, Radiance, as my own because that’s what adoption does. It says: you belong forever. I was able to adopt her when she was 5 years old after years of court custody battles where judges continually failed to rule in the best interests of the child. We never gave up. God knew that he was preparing Bethany and me for much larger battles in what we do through The Radiance Foundation.

Every day my wife helps me become a better man of God. Thanks for giving me life, babe. Love. You. More.

Use my story, Lord, to bring You glory. Use my voice to break through silence. Use my creativity to counter confusion. Use my life to save those who would’ve been aborted.

Ryan Bomberger is the Chief Creative Officer and co-founder of The Radiance Foundation. He is happily married to his best friend, Bethany, who is the Executive Director of Radiance. They are adoptive parents with four awesome kiddos. Ryan is an Emmy Award-winning creative professional, factivist, international public speaker and author of NOT EQUAL: CIVIL RIGHTS GONE WRONG. He loves illuminating that every human life has purpose.

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