Ryan Bomberger: My Father Lived Out Equality — He Adopted Ten of Us

My Father Lived Out Equality: He Adopted Ten of Us

I don’t look a thing like him, but I’m his son. There was never a day in my life where I felt like I didn’t belong. With all our skin colors, backgrounds, and differing abilities, we were unquestionably his children – loved equally and unconditionally. It’s so hard to no longer see his kind face, hear his calming voice, or be loved and prayed for. My Dad tragically passed away at the height of COVID in 2021 on the anniversary of Roe. His life, though, beautifully redeems that horrible day for me. He chose me. He chose nine more of my twelve siblings to cherish us, care for us, and call us his own through adoption.

His name was Henry Bomberger.

He was raised in a Mennonite home in Lancaster County, PA, otherwise known as Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Little did he know that he would, one day, meet an amazing girl named Andrea, and they would become world-changers by simply loving God and loving people. Their stories were considerably different. He grew up in an intact home with married parents whose ownership of a small retail store brought the family economic stability. She grew up in a broken home with an alcoholic father and was placed in a children’s orphanage for a year while her parents separated. He grew up in a red brick, three-story house. She grew up in a double-wide trailer.

My mom’s experience in the children’s home instilled in her sweet little five-year-old heart the passion “to be a mommy to those who don’t have one.” The trajectory of her life, according to the experts, should not have been what it became. But God.

My parents met as teens at a Youth For Christ event at the beach. They fell in love. Mom always wanted to have a large family since she was a child. In a video capturing their story, she remembered with laughter: “When I dated, I would tell the guys that I wanted ten children. And this is the only one who stuck around!” My Dad’s response: “I thought she was probably crazy. Probably dreaming a little bit. Well, I fell in love with her, and the children came afterwards, and I fell in love with each one of them when they came into our family.”

Some of the best things in life are unplanned.

I wasn’t exactly “planned.” I was conceived in rape but adopted in love. My Dad didn’t see me as lesser than because of the crimes of my biological father. (I’m forever grateful to a courageous birthmother who, although she was a victim of the violence of rape, never made me a victim of the violence of abortion.) My father saw me as just as worthy to love as his first three biological children. That’s what adoption does. It’s an equalizer. In the beginning of their adoption journey, my parents had to deal with heartbreaking misperceptions and racism from some in the community and even a few family members. How could there be so much resistance to loving and caring for a child in need of a family?

James 1:27 says: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” My skin is brown. I have siblings of varying hues. One sister is Vietnamese. One brother is part Native American. Many of us are mixed. My parents are White. Who says you have to be the same color in order to love a child? That dehumanizing lie is the pollution that was, and sadly still is, a battlefront in adoption.

Henry the “Racial Revolutionary”

I remember my Mom talking about how she and Dad just thought the world would be so radically different because of the Civil Rights Era. They never, for a second, dismissed the idea of adopting children of a different color. They had hoped that the work of Martin Luther King Jr. and many others would continue to transform hearts and minds. But they were rebels, in a way, to a culture that was tragically fixed on the color of our skin and not the Creator of our content within.

Dad wasn’t a political activist. He was a quiet warrior who lived out his convictions in plain sight. He had no tolerance for the racism that tried to diminish the fact that we’re all fearfully and wonderfully made.

It’s hard to believe, that in 2024, people are still so painfully fixated with the hues of our skin. There’s an entire industry devoted to it. It’s called anti-racism. And it has spread like a cancer into nearly everyThe Family of Many Colors: The Bombergers facet of American life. It’s led some leading adoption agencies and adoption advocates to discourage “transracial” adoption. (I put “transracial” in quotes because, yes – trigger  warning – we’re all just one human race.) Poisoned by the rhetoric of Critical Race Theory, they take this bizarre position that many (white) adoptive parents suffer from thinking that children need to be “rescued.”

Newsflash! Each year over a million children of every complexion do, whether from the violence of abortion or from neglect and abuse in their biological homes. Adoption is both a natural and a supernatural process that brings wholeness and healing to what was broken. I’m forever grateful that I was rescued from what might have been. I’m so glad many of my siblings were rescued from what was unjustly happening to them.

Remember when (childless) Ibram X. Kendi, anti-racism evangelist and author, compared Justice Amy Coney Barrett and her husband to “white colonizers” and dismissed white adoptive parents as “White Saviors”? I do. His words were poison. Neither the Barretts nor my parents had a savior complex; they had a love reflex. Clearly, the over-hyped preacher of the anti-racist gospel doesn’t seem to understand this.

But it’s something my Dad lived out, every day, proving to the world that color isn’t what binds us…love is.

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.

The views expressed in opinion articles are solely those of the author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by Black Community News.

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