Ryan Bomberger: The Man Behind the Pro-Life Billboard Campaign

Opinion   |   LaShawn Barber   |   Nov 10, 2011   |   1:10PM   |   Washington, DC

Ryan Bomberger tears up when he recites the lyrics to “Meant to Be,” a song he wrote as a tribute to his birth mother—a woman he’s never met. The man behind the controversial pro-life billboard campaign, Too Many Aborted, was conceived in rape. His birth mother was white, and the rapist was black. Despite the circumstances of his conception, his mother allowed him to live.

Bomberger was born in Pennsylvania in 1971, two years before the U.S. Supreme Court declared a “right to privacy” to abort in Roe v. Wade. In the late 1960s, however, states began allowing abortions in cases of rape, incest, and health of the mother or fetus. Prior to Roe, some states even allowed abortion on demand, including neighboring state New York. If Bomberger’s birth mother had wanted an abortion, the option was available. But she chose life.

“There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about how much life is a gift,” Bomberger said in a telephone interview. “I can’t help but think about my biological mother’s decision, the reverberation…that’s like a powerful, resurging thought in my mind every day, and that’s no exaggeration.”

The first child adopted by a white Christian family, Bomberger said he tried to find his birth mother in 2004 just to thank her, but was unable to locate her. “I still believe that some day, some way, she’ll be able to hear those words of gratitude. Her decision put me in a family. It’s a very different kind of family. An amazing, loving family.”

Bomberger called his parents “two of the most remarkable people in the world.” They had a heart for adoption even before they married. His adoptive mother’s parents were divorced, and her father was an alcoholic. “She was placed in an orphanage as a young child, and she made a promise to God at the age of five that she’d be a mommy to kids who didn’t have one.”

Ten adopted and three natural children later, the Bombergers were a multiracial assortment that made the Jolie-Pitt family look like amateurs, with American Indian, Vietnamese, black/white, white, and black children. “People look at us like we’re some kind of freak show,” he said, laughing. “‘What is this?’ This is family. This is what it looks like.”

While the media hype celebrities who adopt transracially, Bomberger said, there’s a different level of sacrifice when you don’t know where the next check or meal is going to come from. But his parents felt they were called to adopt.

“They could have had a life of convenience,” he said. “Our family owns a department store, and they could have had a cushy sort of life, but instead they have thirteen children. There were lots of hand-me-downs, handed down hand-me-downs…they really understood what sacrifice was…they knew that adoption was a way of unleashing purpose, and our family was transformed by that. It was transformed culturally and in so many other ways, because of the beautiful act of adoption.”

Bomberger and his wife share this calling. He adopted his wife’s daughter, and the couple gave birth to two children, adopted another, and are considering adding a fifth child to the family through adoption.

The Life-Affirming Work

Bomberger and his wife started a non-profit organization called the Radiance Foundation, which he said grew out of their desire to help people embrace their own God-given purpose. It also reflects their desire to help people understand they have an intrinsic value and worth that no one can define or take away.

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LifeNews.com Note:  La Shawn Barber is a freelance writer, ghost writer, and blogger. Ryan Bomberger is also a blogger for LifeNews.