How Many Miracles Make One Miracle?

To say that you and I are a miracle is very common place nowadays. Too many try to catch a bit of our attention by making this reference. But the sparkle of them fade away as we are served miracles filled with all kinds of acceptable and unacceptable contents. Nevertheless, I'm writing now in the defense of miracles. Not too long ago I've come upon a probability analysis according to which you and I being born is almost a mathematical overindulgence, since each child born to this world embodies 1 in 400 trillion possibilities.

According to this, if an individual of 15-40 years meets every day one representative of the opposite sex, this would add up to about 10,000 individuals.

If we narrow this down to the 1/10th of the world's population of 4 billion (twenty years ago), that would be 400 000 000 (the population of several countries put together). Roughly half of them, 200 000 000, are of the opposite sex. Therefore, the probability of your parents meeting is 10 000:200 000 000, or 1:20 000.

But for this to happen they must speak to each other the first time they meet - the probability of which is 1 in 10 -, and then they need to meet again - the chance of which is also about 1 in 10. Moreover, only one in ten such relationships become a long-term commitment, and as a further step, every second such relationship lasts long enough to result in children. As a conclusion, the probability for the parents to meet, and have children in their relationship is about 1 in 2000.

And the overall probability of this is about 1 to 40 trillion. We can say that the chances for providing descendants are quite slim, although these obstacles are not impossible to overcome.

At this point we can start taking into account the improbabilities regarding reproduction. Every sperm and egg is genetically unique and irreproducible. For an offspring to be conceived one particular sperm and one particular egg need to fuse. In numbers and theory this looks as follows: one egg out of an average of 100 000 eggs of a fertile woman takes in one sperm out of about 12 trillion sperms of a fertile man. But only a third (4 trillion) of the latter will be taken into account, because the quantity of sperm produced after the setting in of menopause in the mother, doesn't count anymore. So, the probability that a sperm penetrates one particular egg is as follows: 1 in 400 thousand billion - and this is a quite vertiginous number.

As already revealed, the basis for these calculations is the so-called average or normal family. The one in which the main characters steadily advance from getting to know one another, and entering marriage, towards having children. As we all know, reality digresses from this path in many ways, thus in every story there are unique twists that generate several probabilities or precisely the opposites of these. And we are interested in one particular phenomenon, namely adoption, that digresses from the exemplary scenario outlined above. At this point I would define adoption as the contradiction to all statistical improbabilities of two families and a complex child protection system.

Therefore, we must introduce some numbers from the official data related to adoption procedures, to give a fuller picture of how many miracles are needed for one:


In translation this means that the orphaned child - who like anyone else embodies 1 in 400 trillion "possibilities" -, "embarks" on a journey in life, that maybe leads to its family. I say maybe, because from the children revolving in the system for a longer period (38,033) a little over one in ten are given the privilege to be declared adoptable (3,250). And in the year under review (2016) adoption court orders have terminated the orphanhood of slightly more than one in four children. The situation looks a bit more encouraging when one adds up the number of the adopted (see 769) and that of the children who have entered the pre-adoption/matching phase with families (see 330), this way about one in three children can be expected to be taken in forever by a family. 

In the combined story of the families who transfer the genetic and the spiritual legacy to a child, at least some of the numbers presented are multiplied. But for these to be truly merged along the thread of life of an orphan, the child needs to be included as a "positive value" in the national statistics. In plain words: statistical miracle is needed in order to multiply the billions and trillions of miracles in an orphan's life. It's incomprehensible and basic at the same time, because in our experience we can initiate adoption proceedings in the case of about 25-30 children per year. This year every 1268th child in the 38,033 deserted within the child care system will be affected by this action, which in the light of the numbers and individual destinies described earlier is a huge achievement.

If I'm telling you now that you are a miracle, the image may no longer seem so worn-out. If I'm telling you that an orphan can become a child, maybe you can see the greatness of miracle. And we don't need to look very long for the sparkle either, because it will be there in one pair of eyes, that in itself is 1 in 400 trillion, then with the parents becomes again 1 in 400 trillion, and within society it is 1 in... how many?