November 24, 2017

Thrown away in a Garbage Bag & Left to Die: My Precious Nephew


This little boy was left to die in a garbage bag. Mother's Love

Nearly six years ago, I traveled to Ecuador with my sister in love to bring home my precious nephew, Edison. Thrown away in a garbage bag and left to die, this miracle now bounds through my door nearly every day with such love.

Our family homestead/land allows us the privilege of having him as a part of our day to day lives. He has marked our family in ways I can’t begin to express and our desire is that everyone’s eyes will open to see all Down Syndrome blessings as we do – a miracle.

Adoption marks who I am as well, so bringing Eddie home allowed for a circle of generational living.

This Mother’s Day video gives a small glimpse of my nephew’s impact on so many lives; then continue reading why my brother and sister in love choose to adopt him when most insisted their family was full.

You won’t want to miss this, these rare stories move us in ways we’d never imagine. 

What a special miracle of life!!

(Don’t you love Edison’s “Family is more than blood” shirt? It’s from Sevenly with proceeds going to support foster and orphan care. )

(Eddie’s story: 2009)

His name is Edison. We met two weeks ago.

He has changed my life forever.

Bringing my new nephew home from Ecuador to his forever family in the U.S. has been one of the greatest privileges I have been granted. This adoption journey, for which I have had a front row seat, has been a four year fight. A fight not just against political red tape and legislation, but a literal battle against the powers of good and evil.

I can’t begin to summarize Edison’s first life chapter in a blog post. Every page turned whispers God grace in miraculous ways, yet I can let you embrace the heartbeat behind this remarkable journey from Edison’s daddy, my big brother, and father of now eleven children.

In my brother’s words…

“Our first full day at home with our new son, Mateo ‘Edison’ V.E., was National Adoption Day.  That seemed to us quite fitting, in God’s timing, because it had been a long journey that seemed to call for a day of special remembering.

Many people have told me, as the provider for this family of now 11 children, that I am crazy to adopt another.  I respond to them that, actually, this little boy with Downs Syndrome is a critical, strategic part of my estate plan.

You see, my wife Rachel and I wanted to place an emblem of the prize in the fight for ‘The Culture of Life’ right in the middle of our family – a remarkably special person who would speak into the lives of our children and others we meet.  And that is what this little boy now is.

We first met him five years ago next month.  He was named for the policeman who took him to the orphanage called For His Children.  According to the police report, which I carry with me daily, he was discovered by a ‘carpenter,’ crying inside a trash bag on the outskirts of the city dump.

That’s my story; that’s our story.

In a spiritual sense, I’m the kid in the trash bag on the outskirts of the dump, discovered by The Carpenter. That Carpenter pursued me and made me worthy to be His son through His great sacrifice on my behalf.

So how could I do any less for another orphan, like me?

What a stunning journey – meandering through the years.  Rachel has said this was her hardest delivery yet (the other 10 are natural born). But as we see Edison light up our home, and dole out thousands of hugs and kisses as if he were our designated ‘Ambassador of Love,’ we are deeply grateful – grateful to God for this boy’s preciousness, grateful to the orphanage for their loving care, grateful to our family and friends who prayed him home and helped in so many other ways, and grateful for our new life together!

That makes for quite a Christmas here in North Carolina.”

For more on Edison’s story, read “This picture says it all.”

Meal Time Magic: the Joy of Unexpected Blessing.


  1. He is indeed a great blessing. You are both blessed for having each other. God bless him and your family. He is very lucky to have you. He is a wonderful kid. *hugs to Edison*


    Jen Reply:

    Thank you for your sweet words. I’ll pass that hug right onto Eddie. 🙂


  2. Deborah Miller says:

    Thank you so much for sharing Edison’s story. He is such a beautiful child. I can only hope that our son Jack who has Down Syndrome will that kind of force in the lives of people. (I really think he already is.) What a beautiful story Edison’s is.


    Jen Reply:

    Oh, I would LOVE to meet your Jack. I know he radiates love just like Eddie does. (Even though they can have their little stubborn moments too, right? ? :))


  3. Well, this turned me into a hot mess. And at the end when she says she wants to be a worthy mom of Edison’s life? GAH, I lost it all together. What a story of grace and love.

    Thank you for sharing this, Jen. Much love to you and yours. xo


    Jen Reply:

    I know, I know. Me too, Kristen. Don’t we all want to be worthy of shepherding our children’s hearts?


  4. Absolutely Beautiful! Nothing so pure as the love of a child.

    This is what God had in mind when He created LOVE! I also have to add what an amazing brother and sister-in-love you have. Now I’m going to get a tissue and wipe away my tears although I think they will drip for awhile yet.



    Jen Reply:

    Yes, I so agree. They are amazing and since you know them, you can just hear Rachel tell me, “Make sure this whole thing is about Eddie and the blessing of adoption.” 🙂


  5. Moved me to tears seeing Jesus’ love shining brilliantly. <3


  6. I had the privilege to hear Rachel at the conference at Ridgecrest a couple years ago. As she shared bits of her story and Eddie’s, I could not hold back the tears. At the time, she had no idea that in her audience in that small room sat another mom who shared her journey of parenting a child with Down syndrome. Afterwards, I was able to speak with her briefly and share a hug before we headed to lunch. I’ve since wondered about them and am delighted to see this short video of her and him! 🙂 Thanks for sharing! It touched my heart again as it did then.


  7. Krystal says:

    Beautiful! Tears pour down my face while I put my sweet little munchkin down to bed. You’re all so lucky to have this miracle in your lives. I keep feeling like I’m called towards adoption or fostering and although it’s not the right time for our family yet (2 under 2) I hope one day I can feel this unique kind of love in our lives 🙂


  8. sue custer says:

    Thank you for opening up your heart to a child with special needs. I too have a daughter w/special needs, mainly mental w/ a seizure disorder. Remember……… both were given to eachother as part of a bigger plan 🙂 God Bless you and your beautiful family!!!


Share Your Thoughts