Meet Eli & Bethany
Hi, we’re excited to introduce ourselves and tell you a little about our family. We are Eli and Bethany, and our story is a little different because it began in Africa. Eli and I both grew up as missionary kids in Africa and went to the same missionary boarding school for high school. Our romance began our senior year and continues to this day. We both came back to the States for college and half way through, got married in 2002 because we hated being so far away from one another.
Two years later, in 2004, our first son was born and we became parents to a beautiful boy named Isaac Amani. Two years later, Evan William joined our family, and two years after that, Joshua Daniel came along. By the time Joshua was born, we were back in Africa, following in our parents’ footsteps as missionaries. We have spent the last ten years in South Sudan, raising our boys in a beautiful culture amongst amazing people. We are so grateful that our children have had the chance to grow up learning about different cultures, speaking a different language (Arabic), and seeing many other parts of the world. Eli and I have wanted to adopt for many years and after our third son was born, we decided not to have any more biological children. Instead, we decided to add to our family through adoption. We’d like to tell you a little bit about each member of our family:
Eli: I’m an extrovert and love being with people. I have a BA degree in Missions, an MA in Theology, and I’m working on my PhD in Educational Leadership. I guess you could say I love to learn and study! I also enjoy playing just about any sport, but I especially love rugby, soccer, and tennis. I have really loved being a father and consider it a special calling in life to raise my children and provide a bright future for them. My wife and I have been married for fifteen years, and I consider her my best friend and partner in life.
Bethany: Being a wife and mother have been the most fulfilling things in my life. I have loved raising our three boys in Africa, despite the challenges. Living in a village context has provided a wonderful environment for our family to focus on what is really important: people and relationships. We have a great home and there are always people coming over, whether it’s friends of mine or Eli’s for a cup of coffee or friends of the boys who have come to ride bikes or fill up water balloons to cool off on the hot days. My favorite things are singing, playing my guitar, running, being outside, drinking coffee, and visiting with friends. In Africa, I get to homeschool our children and that has been a wonderful experience because I get to pour into my kids and give them a strong foundation for the rest of their lives.
Isaac: I’m thirteen, and I love working on projects with my dad. This year, I’ve got thirteen “tasks of manhood,” so I’m getting to take an engine apart, go on cool hiking trips with my dad, and challenge myself in so many ways. I love living in Africa, playing outside, getting dirty, and hanging out with my friends. I also love sports. I started running in cross country and really love it. I’m excited about the possibility of having a new baby brother or sister.
Evan: I’m eleven, and this year I’m learning how to play the trombone in our middle school band. I’m really good in school and like to work hard. I’m pretty quiet around people and enjoy doing things on my own like building cool things out of legos or drawing. I have spent most of my life in Africa, and I think that’s something really cool about me. When I’m not in school, I like riding my scooter or bike at our neighborhood park.
Joshua: So far, I’m the youngest, but I’m really looking forward to not being the youngest anymore. I’m nine and in fourth grade this year. I love animals, birds, and bugs and have read so many books and encyclopedias about animals that I can name just about anything. I love going to the zoo because I can guess what everything is before I look at the sign. I have a couple of good friends at school, but my best friend lives right next door. I try to finish my homework quickly every day so I can go over to play with him before dinner. I was born in Kenya, and I am proud about that.