What kind of things do you throw in a trashcan? Rotten leftovers, used paper towels, a baby, empty take out containers… Wait… Something’s not right. Why would you throw a baby away? We aren’t sure, but that’s exactly what happened to a young boy in Ecuador. Don’t give up on reading now, though. This story starts off sad, but it ends in a really beautiful way. Sometimes, it just takes a little bit of luck and good will to make things work out. The world is a funny place, but this story is truly an example of the positives that are left in today’s society. Keep reading to learn the touching story of a carpenter, an orphan, and a family in North Carolina!
In the spring of 2004, a carpenter in the Central American country of Ecuador was walking his familiar route home after a long day of work. As he turned the corner, he spied a large dumpster with a bag inside. As he walked closer he discovered that the bag was moving… What was inside? Keep reading to find out!
He pulled open the edges of the bag and when he looked inside there is no doubt he will never forget what he saw! A pair of teeny, tiny eyes were there, staring back up at him as a baby lay there, scared. This certainly isn’t an everyday finding! But why was this precious child thrown into a trashcan so carelessly?
The carpenter immediately called out for help. He alerted the local authorities and they quickly came to take the beautiful baby boy to the hospital. It was there that he was diagnosed with Down Syndrome, a chromosomal abnormality that severely disabled him. After he was treated in the hospital, he was moved to an orphanage. But why was he there in the first place?
No one knows this boy’s exact story, but investigators believe he was abandoned by his mother after she realized he had Downs Syndrome. So, he was named Edison, or Eddie, after the carpenter who rescued him from the dumpster on that fateful day. What would have happened to him if no one had noticed his moving bag? You’ll see on the next slide!
A Very Different Life
If that carpenter hadn’t spotted sweet Eddie squirming around in the trash can, it’s pretty unlikely that he would have survived for very long. Either he would have starved to death or been “disposed of” with all the trash he was hidden among. A fate that was not justified for any child, too young to protect itself.
A Little Bit of Luck
Fortunately, Eddie was blessed with a little bit of luck. Rachel and Jim Van Eerden were traveling through Ecuador with their four daughters on a mission trip. They were just about to head back to their home state of North Carolina when they decided to take a last minute detour to an orphanage. Little did they know their lives would change forever after that day…
Just One Look
“While we were on the tour, my eyes met this little baby,” said Rachel in her documentary film “A Mother’s Love.” She felt a deep connection with the baby, and her daughter’s had the time of their lives playing with Eddie. It was as if they knew him all their lives. But, what they found out next was even more unbelievable.
A Deep Connection
After speaking with the staff at the orphanage, the Van Eerdens learned that Eddie was found in a dumpster right outside a trash dump in Ecuador’s capital city of Quito. The family realized that they had volunteered in this same exact place only a few weeks before. They all reported feeling like their connection with Eddie couldn’t have been deeper.
An Even Deeper Connection
Things just kept lining up for this family and Eddie. Rachel studied Special Education in college and had a part-time job caring for a young disabled girl. In addition, her brother had Down Syndrome. She knew exactly what she was getting into, and her heart was in the right place. Something, unfortunately, Eddie’s birth parents could not say the same for.
A Heavy Load
But, the family already had TEN biological children of their own! They must have had plenty to deal with on their own, right? Surely taking on a child with special needs would be more trouble than it was worth, right? WRONG! The family knew that adopting Eddie was exactly what they needed to do. But they first needed to get over one difficult hurdle…
International adoption treaties are tough. So tough, in fact, that it took the Van Eerdens over FIVE years to win the right to bring Eddie back home with them to North Carolina. By the time his adoption was finalized, they had already taken multiple trips to Ecuador to visit Eddie and work with the Ecuadorian courts. Talk about a loving and dedicated family!
Money. Money. Money.
Adoption is wildly expensive, and international adoption is even more expensive. With the legal battle the Van Eerdens were facing, it is likely that the family had to cough up hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for travel and legal fees. But, it all paid off for the family in 2009 when they were allowed to bring Eddie back to North Carolina with them.
A Positive Outlook
In the family’s documentary, “A Mother’s Love,” Jim said, “There are some who think people with disabilities are a negative force in the world that keep ‘normal’ people from experiencing life the way they could or they should. This is something, which we strongly disagree.” What a great perspective! But with this new responsibility, they needed to make some alterations to their lives and home…
But, that doesn’t mean that every part of their family life is easy. They’ve had to remodel their home to allow for their growing family to live comfortably. They now have two dormitory style rooms- one for boys and one for girls. This is a great adaptation to make their home work for everyone, regardless of their abilities.
A Loving Spirit
Eddie is ten years old now. He is still living with Down Syndrome like he will every day for the rest of his life, but he is thriving. His family says that he is full of hope and joy and brings happiness to everyone he meets. Just wait until you hear the story on the next slide! It will bring you to tears…
Making a Beeline
Jim shared this special story about Eddie’s living and caring nature. “We were at church and in a crowd of people, he made a beeline to somebody just so that he could hug this person. At the end of that hug the person started weeping.” This shows us how much impact Eddie could have on even a stranger’s life.
Little did anyone know, the person Eddie ran over to hug had just been through a serious tragedy and was heartbroken. In that moment, a hug from Eddie was EXACTLY what they needed. Eddie managed to sense this pain and reach out to this individual before anyone else knew that something was wrong. Proving how special Eddie truly was.
The “Ambassador of Love”
Eddie has settled into life in America very well so far. He is doing well in school and active in extracurricular activities. He has tons of friends and shines his little light everywhere he goes. His family has even nicknamed him the “Ambassador of Love” because he is so accepting and caring towards everyone. He sounds like a great kid!
Just think… Eddie has had an incredible life in America with his new family. But, it could have all been different for him if that carpenter hadn’t taken the time to stop and investigate that moving trash bag in the dumpster. There’s no way to know what would have become of him, but one thing is for certain… it wouldn’t have been good. Today, this “Ambassador of Love” is making the world a better place, and it’s all thanks to a little bit of luck and good will! Life works out in magical ways sometimes, doesn’t it?