Edison Mateo is a giggly, loving boy who is generous with his affections. It would be hard to guess that shortly after his life began, he was cast away in a garbage can, left to be thrown out with the trash. Rachel and Jim Van Eerden were on a mission trip in Ecuador with the two eldest of their 10 children. On their last day, they toured an orphanage specializing in special needs children when they met Edison, Eddie for short. It was love at first sight.
The Van Eerdens faced many challenges trying to adopt and bring Eddie home. Not only was it a transcontinental adoption, but many of their friends and family questioned them on the decision. As a family with ten children already, would that be a wise decision? “This is what people, their perception probably is: that we, we have a lot of children. And our hands are full,” said Rachel. “Why would we want to take in a child with special needs? Of course, there are sacrifices. But what Eddie pours into us far outweighs any sacrifice.” When the Van Eerdens finally brought Eddie home, all disputes on the matter melted away. They understood why the Rachel and Jim saw it fit to bring Edison into the family: he was hard not to love.
The family is daily inspired by the way Eddie is constantly full of love and joy for others. They believe that the way that Eddie lives “his beautiful, little life points [them] to Christ.” It is children like Eddie that show people how they should be living.