Jimmy Amisial was a 22-year-old college student in Texas when his life changed forever. While visiting his hometown of Gonaives, Haiti, while home for the holidays in 2017, he attended a New Year’s party that turned his world upside down in the best way possible. After a crowd of people found a baby boy in the trash in the middle of the road, Amisial knew what he had to do.
- Amisial saw the crowd gathered in the street and wondered what was going on. As he approached, he noticed everyone was standing around a tiny baby boy who had been abandoned. Instead of leaving him there or simply handing him over to authorities, Jimmy Amisial knew he wanted to look after the little one. “When I got to the place where the people were making noise, I saw a baby,” he recalled. “It was in a pile of trash crying and there wasn’t a single soul who wanted to do anything about it.”
- People in the village appeared to be scared of the baby. Because he’d been left behind, they worried that the child was evil or cursed. However, Amisial had no such fears — he simply saw a little boy who desperately needed help. “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,” he told CNN.
- Amisial took the 3-month-old to his mom’s house. There, they gave him a bath and put some medicated cream on him to help the allergic reaction he had to fire ant bites. The next morning, they made a police report and Amisial was asked if he wanted to look after the baby for now since no one was looking for him.
- He wasn’t sure if he wanted even short-term custody of the baby at first. Jimmy Amisial was only 22 and in the middle of school, so the idea of taking on an abandoned baby was tough. However, he ultimately decided it was the right thing to do. “After he asked me that question, I had a lot of sleepless nights. I tossed and turned but my mother reminded me things happen for a reason,” he explained. “I’ve always wanted to be a part of something great and to me, that was the moment.”
- Amisial had to go back to Texas for school. When he went back to the US, he left the baby with his mom. However, he eventually decided to take a break from his education so he could focus on caring for the little one. It was in 2019 that he formally began adoption proceedings, but he soon discovered that it wouldn’t be as easy as he thought.
- Adoption in Haiti is extremely expensive. After he began the filing, Amisial discovered it would cost up to $40,000 to formally adopt the boy. He didn’t have that kind of money but he had also formed a bond with the little boy, who he named Emilio Angel Jeremih, and refused to give him up. Amisial got a job as a landscaper and delivery assistant to support the family and started an online fundraiser to bring money in.
- Amisial raised $179,000 via GoFundMe so he could adopt Emilio. The original goal was to raise $60,000 to cover all the costs associated with the adoption, but now the excess can go towards ensuring Emilio gets the best education and to help Haitian organizations that help orphans like Emilio. He also hopes to go back to school and complete his education in the near future.