“There’s A Baby In The GARBAGE”: The Story Of A 22-Year-Old Man Who Became A Single Father
Jimmy Amisial, 27, who attends Texas State University and travels to Haiti at least twice a year, said he was going to an event in his home country in 2017 when a woman alerted him to a baby left in a pile of trash. The baby, who was naked and covered in fire ants, was crying loudly while others watched from a distance. People were too afraid to touch it because they feared the baby was cursed, Amisial said. That’s when he decided to save it.
“Without hesitation, I picked him up,” Amisial said, “and went with him to my mother’s house.”
Since then, Amisial has been seeking custody of Emilio, who lives with his mother in Gonaives, Haiti.
Amisial called police shortly after he found the baby, he said, and an investigation was launched – but Emilio’s parents were never found. The next day, police showed up at his mother’s house with a judge, who asked Amisial if he wanted to become Emilio’s legal guardian, which he later said yes to.
However, the decision to take on the role of a parent was not easy for him. Amisial said he tossed and turned the night before he signed the papers for Emilio’s guardianship.
“I always wanted to be part of something big,” Amisial said. “For me, that was the moment I took a leap of faith and said, ‘Yes, I will be there for him.'”
After signing the legal documents to become Emilio’s guardian in January 2018, Amisial set out to raise money for his adoption. The cost of adoption is estimated at $30,000, but can vary, said a representative from America World Adoption. Amisial then created a GoFundMe page last month, which has since raised more than $135,000.
“People have shown a lot of love and support, for which I am very grateful,” he said.
Amisial, who is majoring in mass communications and dreams of one day having his own television show, had to take a break from school to care for Emilio, who is almost five and calls Amisial his father. He said he wants to use the extra money he received through his GoFundMe page to continue his education while helping shape Emilio’s future. He also plans to donate some of the money to orphanages in Haiti.
Amisial said he wants to bring Emilio and his mother to the U.S. once the adoption process is complete to give them a better life.
He said he frequently video chats with the two via WhatsApp, but he fears for their safety after Emilio’s story went viral on the Internet. He is also concerned about crime and violence in Haiti, which he says has only gotten worse after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse last year.
While Amisial patiently waits for news on his guardianship application, which has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic and can take up to two years, according to the U.S. Embassy website in Haiti, he is glad he had a chance to change his son’s dire circumstances, he said.
If you want to make it in life, you have to face your challenges,” Amisial said, “and this is the best decision ever.”