Who knew that attending a New Year’s Party would be life changing? Jimmy Amisial was on a break from Texas school and was walking through Gonaives in Haiti with friends to ring the new year.
While on his way to the event he was curiously approached by a small group and made a profound discovery that would change his life forever. Amisial decided to take custody of the child he found in the trash, rather than going to a party as originally planned.
Amisial, who was 22 at the time, recalled, “I found the baby in the middle of the noise-making people and saw it. It was in a pile of trash crying, and there wasn’t a single soul who wanted to do anything about it.”
The locals were too afraid to touch the infant, fearing that it might be cursed or evil. Amisial however carefully and nervously picked the child up.
He said, “He had no clothes on. He had fire ants crawling all over him because he’s been there for a couple of hours. When I picked him up, he immediately stopped crying.”
Amisial brought the infant, who was 3 months old, to Elicie Jean’s home. Amisial shared, “While cleaning him we noticed he had some fire ant bites and an allergic reaction, so we used some lotion to help stop the pain.”
He left the baby with him over night and called the police to investigate.
With no one coming forward to claim the baby, a judge came to his mother’s home and asked if Amisial would like to take temporary custody of the child.
With such an important decision on hand, Amisial said, “After he asked me that question, I had a lot of sleepless nights. I tried to throw and turn, but my mom reminded me that everything happens for a reason. I’ve always wanted to be a part of something great and to me, that was the moment.”
Amisial formed a strong bond with the baby and agreed to give custody of the child. Amisial is now working to formalize his adoption of the infant he held onto since that fateful night.
Amisial had to go back to Texas after his holiday break. This was due to his student visa program. While they were preparing to take the child into their custody, Amisial decided to leave his baby with his mother.
Amisial started the process of adopting in 2019 but ran into problems immediately. “It wasn’t that easy,” Amisial stated. “In Haiti it’s hard to do government stuff. When I started the process, it seemed fine but then they asked me for a lot of money, but I didn’t have the funds.”
Esther Chery, the Haitian lawyer assisting Amisial, stressed, “Adoption is expensive, that is what I know for certain.” The adoption agency All God’s Children International estimates that the cost of adopting a child from Haiti may go up to $40,000, without counting airfare, lodging, and other travel expenses and fees.
Amisial, who had to consider all of these costs, decided to take a break school in 2020 to focus on the custody process for Emilio Angel Jeremih. He is a part-time landscaper, and delivery assistant to provide for his family.
On July 27, Amisial set up an online fundraiser to finance Emilio’s adoption. The goal was to raise $60,000 but donations eventually reached $79,000. Amisial plans to use the extra money to help orphanages in Haiti, as well as support Emilio’s education.
Emilio is now a great person four years after that memorable evening. Amisial said, “He loves watching ‘Tom and Jerry’ and he loves playing the guitar and singing. He’s such a joyful kid and he loves sports. He plays basketball and soccer. He was a close friend to my mom and me. He calls him Dad. Even though I’m his temporary guardian, I still consider myself his dad.”
Amisial communicates via Facetime and tries his best to visit Haiti when he can. However, recent developments in Haiti make travel difficult.
Although it may seem daunting to take custody of an abandoned child, Amisial has a history helping orphans back home. He was a volunteer at local orphanages and learned English.
As a teenager he made bracelets from Doritos bags that he sold to help fund his education and celebrate the birthdays in orphanages. He was eventually able to leverage the connections he had made through his volunteer work to get accepted to Texas State University.
Now 27, Amisial is determined to conclude Emilio’s custody process, and then finish his studies. “I want him to be happy. I want to teach him how to love and I want him to know that even though he was left alone, he’s not alone,” he said.
Amisial dreams of starting his own non-profit organization in Haiti to fulfill his dream of helping Haitian orphans and families in need.
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