In 2004, the Van Eerden family went on a mission trip to Ecuador and visited an orphanage for special needs children. This is where Jim and Rachel met Eddie, a baby with Down syndrome who was found by a carpenter. The carpenter discovered the little boy when he stepped outside of his work shop and saw a trash bag next to a dumpster moving.
Although the Van Erdens already had ten children of their own, they decided to adopt Eddie and welcome him into their home in Stokesdale, North Carolina. Currently, he shares a huge room with four of his brothers and has adjusted well to his new family.
In addition to having Down syndrome, Eddie is cross-eyed and needs speech and occupational therapy. However, Rachel says that the sacrifices they’ve made to adopt him don’t compare to the love he’s brought into their lives. Now Eddie is 10-years-old and the couple has been awarded the Congressional Angels Adoption Award. Former North Carolina Representative, Howard Coble (R-NC6), nominated them for the award.
Learn more about Eddie’s incredibly adoption story in the video below.