Today’s my birthday. El Cinco de Ry-o is what we call it in my house. My friends and family get to celebrate that I was born.
But I almost never was.
Many say I “should have been aborted”. Not that I did anything wrong, but my biological “father’s” crime compels others to see my life, and many like mine, unworthy of life. You see, I’m the one percent that is used to justify 100 percent of abortions. The violence of rape caused my conception, but it didn’t determine my destiny.
My biological mom proved that she was stronger than her circumstances by not choosing the violence of abortion. Once a foster child herself, she was faced with a decision that no one should ever have to make. No man should ever violate a woman like my biological “father” did to her.
Yet, here I am. I’m not defined by my biological “father’s” crime but by the courage of my birthmom. Her singular decision will have reverberations for generations.
My parents were given a gift (although at times I’m sure they wanted a refund because I was not always the easiest child). They were given an opportunity to love me and my other adopted siblings that were “unplanned” but never “unloved”. My mother’s own brokenness as a child—living through her parents’ divorce at a young age due to her father’s alcoholism—transformed her into a mother who would care for those who simply needed a mom and dad to love them. Her mother never gave up on her. And she would never give up on the ones she would call her own, whether her three biological or ten adopted children.
Relentless love. That’s what I grew up knowing from my mom and dad. And that’s what I share with my amazing wife and our four precious kiddos (two of these munchkins were adopted). My life has been a journey of pouring out God’s love to those around me, being a mentor to hundreds of youth, and ministering to the fatherless and to the poor. Love can make anything possible. Just ask anyone whose life has been touched by it.
Adoption unleashed purpose in my life. As a Christian, it is the essence of salvation; there is no salvation without it. I was a Boy Scout, record-setting athlete, honor roll student, National Honor Society member, musician, singer, writer, student leader, DJ, activist, designer, and a Who’s Who Among American Colleges and Universities. I earned my Bachelor’s in Marketing and Master’s in Communications with a full-paid scholarship based upon my academic and extracurricular achievements. I became a small business entrepreneur, built a successful media production company, earned multiple awards for my broadcast design work, helped another adoptive family (now, part of my own family) reach millions of viewers on the former ABC Family and Oprah, and met the incredible woman (my wife, Bethany) who would love someone the world said would be “unwanted”.
I don’t detail these achievements to boast about me. All of the things that I’ve been able to be are because of a God who can make triumph rise from tragedy. Even if I weren’t able to achieve any of these things, I would have irreplaceable priceless value—like every other human being—simply because I exist.
Today, Bethany and I run The Radiance Foundation and highlight the beautiful possibility with which we are all created. Whether at Harvard, Values Voter Summit, the National Press Club, the March for Life, in the news, leading Capitol Hill briefings or helping to raise millions for pregnancy care centers, we believe every human life has purpose. We’ve been denounced by the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and even the NAACP, which means we’re obviously doing something right. We were sued by the pro-abortion NAACP for exercising our fundamental First Amendment rights and accurately calling the once-great civil rights organization the National Association for the Abortion of Colored People. Alliance Defending Freedom fought for our civil rights, and we won this free speech case in federal court.
Who would have thought that someone who “should have been aborted” would be calling out an iconic civil rights organization for failing to see every human being as equal?
God has a way of illuminating how He, not humankind, is the true arbiter of human value.
I, and many others with stories that began in the violence of rape, get to redeem that painful narrative. We get to honor the courage of our biological mothers, whether they chose to parent or make a loving plan of adoption. We get to love and be loved.
We get to have birthdays…on El Cinco De Mayo or any other day of the year. And it’s with a special sense of gratitude that we reflect upon our lives—all made possible by a singular, yet powerful, decision by women who refused to be defeated by the rapist or by abortion. That’s something worth celebrating!
**Also see “Ryan’s Song,” an interview the BCN editor did with Ryan Bomberger in 2011.**
Ryan Bomberger is the Chief Creative Officer and co-founder of The Radiance Foundation. He is happily married to his best friend, Bethany, who also happens to be the Executive Director of Radiance. They are adoptive parents with four awesome munchkins. Ryan is a creative agitator and international public speaker who just 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.