Jimmy Amisial’s life was changed forever. In 2017, he was home in Haiti visiting from the U.S. where he was studying. On New Year’s Eve, Jimmy discovered a crowd making a commotion. There was a naked baby, screaming, in a pile of garbage. The people gathered around thought the child was cursed so they wouldn’t touch him. The baby was in distress, covered in fire ants. Jimmy saw a precious living soul, and he knew he had to save the baby. Soon, Jimmy was asked to become the permanent caregiver for the baby, the most-difficult decision Jimmy ever had to make. Jimmy shares what happens next in this episode.
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Welcome back to season three of Family Twist. Today we're excited for you to meet our guest Jimmy Amisial, who has a very unique story, which we first learned about through a CNN article. We're gonna ask Jimmy to recap that story and let us know what's happened since then. Welcome, Jimmy. Hi guys, it's a pleasure to be here and I'm very excited. I would say in 2017, my life has changed forever. I've never thought that my life was going to change like that. Went home.
for the holidays. Usually I'll go home to bring presents for the kids in the orphanage that I serve in Haiti. Yeah, in 2017, a new East Eve, I went to the market. I would stop to get a stop for a party for the kids. And I got everything ready. And it's about 9 p.m. I was gonna be having the party for the kids. I was walking on my way to the orphanage and I heard people making a commotion. I thought that they were just having fun because it was going to be the new year.
I saw a lady and she was in panic mode and I said, hey, what's going on over there? And she replied, oh, there is a baby in the garbage over there and no one wanted to touch the baby. And I was shocked when she said that. And as I prone to curiosity, I'm like, oh, I got to see. When I pushed through the crowd to get a closer look and I saw a baby lied on the pile of trash and there were about 20 to 30 people just staring at the baby. They didn't want to do anything about it.
Were people like having fun? Were they drinking and maybe they were like really confused by what was going on? No. So when I got there, the reason why they didn't want to touch the baby, they thought the baby was cursed. They thought that if they touch the baby, something was going to happen to them. They were so blinded by intensity of magic ritual, which is quite prevalent in Haiti and they thought that if they touched the baby, something bad was going to happen to them. Wow.
So they saw a cursed baby, but me, I saw a precious living soul. He was crying and he was in excruciating pain and I could feel the pain that he was feeling at the moment. My heart just broke seeing that he was crying and he was in agony. He was suffering. So something deep inside of me said, Jimmy, you got to do something, you know, he had fire ants crawling all over him. He had no clothes on. It was so sad to see. And, um,
Oh yeah, I reached out and picked him up and people were shocked. Yeah. Wow. Were people telling you not to do this? Oh yeah. They were like, Oh Jimmy, are you crazy? Are you out of your mind? Like there have been people here that saw the baby, they didn't want to do anything about it and you gonna do something about it. Oh man. They were shocked really. Seeing me picked up the baby. Wow. So what do you do next? How do you find out the condition of the baby health-wise? So I took him, went to my mom's house.
So like I said, I live in America and I usually go back home for the holidays because I serve in the orphanage over there. And when I got to my mom's house, my mom was even shocked to see me with the baby. Like in the middle of the night, like you come with a baby, Jimmy, what are you doing? Why are you going with that baby? And I'm like, Oh, someone left him in the trash and I picked him up. My mom was like, really? I said, well, we got to do something. We got to help him.
And yes, he was like, okay. And my mom helped me clean him and bathe him and make sure that he was okay. And after that, we took him to the doctor that night. Right. Wow. Right. Wow. He would be fine, right? He just needed to be treated for the fire ants. Of course. And then I have a friend who is a nurse. She lives in the neighborhood. We took him there and we used some type of lotion to ease the pain and the thing that he had.
on his body. So after that, the next day we took him to the doctor. Wow. Wow. What age was the baby when you found him? He was about three to four months old. Oh boy. Okay. So really little. Wow. Wow. So did you think that was going to be the end of this story? Or what clicked in your brain made you think that you wanted to become more of a permanent person in this baby's life? I thought he was the end of it. Like, really, I served him. I didn't think that I was going to...
become his legal guardian or anything like that. I had to alert the police. So I called them and told them that, oh, I found the baby and this is what happened. And so, you know, I didn't want to be in trouble. You know, I picked him up and I wanted to follow the legal process in order to protect him. So when the police came and they came and investigate and they also came with a judge, a judge of peace. That's how they call him in Haiti. And they went to the place and investigate and.
made sure that the baby was really left abandoned. Right. So I thought it was just gonna take the baby from me. And that was it. The judge asked me a question saying like, Jimmy, I can see your heart for children. As you know, there are a lot of kids, they happen to be on the streets, they have a high chance of becoming gang members, things like that. Would you be willing to be his legal guardian? Wow. So I was shocked, you know, I'm still in school, asking me a question like that.
It was tough for me to even answer. I told him I'm gonna think about it because I didn't even know what I was gonna do with my life. Right, sure. You ask me a question like that, like you said. I thought it was the end of it, really. Yeah. So I said, let me think about it and see if I can come up with a decision. I've been having some sleepless nights thinking about the decision making process. And you know, I've been wanting to be a part of something great. And to me,
That was the moment. I said, I'm just gonna take a leap of faith by saying yes, even though I didn't know what I was gonna do. So I said yes. But it was tough for me. That had to be, I mean, here you were living in the US, only home for a short, you thought for a short period, right, and then this happens. Uh-huh. Still in school and, you know, always struggling financially and things like that. I remember being a...
poor undergraduate. I think a lot of us can relate to that, but at least we were going to school really close to home when that happened. Yes. Wow. What was your mom's reaction when you told her that you decided to become the legal guardian? My mom was also the reason why I made the decision because I wasn't going to be there to take care of him because I had to come back. I have to go back to school. My mom was like, okay, I'm going to help you. But I told her that you raised me.
And I made that decision and you're gonna be raising my kid. That's gonna be tough on you. And she was fine with it. And I'm so grateful for her. That's wonderful. Do you have other siblings? I do. I do have two other brothers. Cool, wow. Just amazing. I imagine it was probably tough to come back to the States and to leave this baby behind with your mom. Oh, yes. He was like a roller coaster of emotions. You know, just met him and I became connected to him.
It was tough. It was really hard for me to leave him there. And also I didn't even think that I was going to come back to because they had me pay a lot of money. I thought it was going to be just easy to sign the legal guardian papers and I had to go to court and send a bunch of papers and I had to spend some of my money, the money that I had to cover to pay for school. It was hard, but at the end I had to come back to the States. That's great. Excellent. Excellent. Were you the one that came up with the name for the baby?
Oh, yes. I've been thinking about names to give him. And I came up with Emilio because it's a strong name. And also Angel. He has three names, actually. Three first names, Emilio, Angel, Jeremiah, because, you know, in the Bible, for the plans that are out for you, plan to prosper. I'm sure there is a plan for him. God has a plan for him, for sure. Wonderful. Amazing. So what happens next? And were you at all scared that his parents might show up, his birth parents might resurface?
But I was hoping they would show up because I didn't really know what was going on really, because I had to do that. I had to do what I had to do when nobody else wanted to do it. Right. Because at the moment I had to do it. Right. You know? So as I've learned, it's better to ask for forgiveness than permission. So he was crying, he was dying and I had to do something so I did it. Yeah. And if his parents showed up and said, oh, this is my baby. I know they were going to be asking me a lot of questions too.
Even the police, the judge said that if the parents came, let us know so they could get arrested for what they did. Right, right. So I think maybe there is a reason why they didn't show up. So they know that they were gonna be in trouble. Right. How did you develop your relationship with Emilio being in the States and him back in Haiti? So since I found him, it wasn't like from 2017 to 2018.
Like I said before, I usually go back home to serve in the orphanage. So from 2018, I went back in the summer. I saw him. We had fun together. We played together. That's why you can see that we have a lot of pictures together. I don't know if you guys saw the pictures that we have together. So I saw him since 2019, but it's hard. You know, it's been like four years. Almost. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I've always wanted to go back. It's just political instability in Haiti right now.
violence and gangs. That makes it really hard for me to even go back. I'm hoping to bring him here, my mom and Emilio. Yeah, good. Yeah. How does he address your mom? Does he call her grandmother? Like grandma? Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Yeah. He called her grandma. Oh yeah. And I guess he calls you dad. Oh yeah. Oh dad. You know, yeah. That's great. Now, when we were reading about your story, the last article I saw was from
over a year ago or about a year ago, and the story wasn't quite finished. The adoption wasn't finalized. It has anything changed with that? No, he hasn't finalized yet because Haiti still hasn't stable yet. Right. They're like violence and most of the offices are closed. So we're still waiting and hopefully I can get it done. Right. Well, it's good that conversely, it sounds like they're content with your mother being
there and taking care of him. And so that part is at least good. It's like if they won't finalize things, at least they're not trying to take him away from that situation. No, no, no. What are the biggest challenges of bringing them to the States? The biggest challenge is the visa for them. To me, that's the biggest challenge. That's it, pretty much. Because I've been trying, I've already applied for them. There's a humanitarian program. The president just announced a...
couple of months ago and I applied for them. We're still waiting. Right. So hopefully we can get something that can come to the state too. Sure, good. Are you still in school? I'm planning on going back in the fall. Okay, great. What are you studying? What are you hoping to do as a career? I'm studying communications right now, like electronic media. Okay. What I would love to do is the same things that I've been doing, things I'm really passionate about, which is helping others.
having an orphanage that incorporates health and wellness, helping those kids have an education, things like that. That's amazing. I don't know how much you know of my story, but I was adopted as an infant. I was adopted when I was two months old. So I only spent two months of my life in an orphanage, but my parents were very supportive of those orphanages because they saw what value it brought to me. Because when I was born, I wasn't completely well. And...
It seems that the orphanages took really good care of me during those first two months. So I love that part of your story. I can really relate to that. Thank you. Thank you too for sharing. Yeah, that's that's so deep. That's yeah, that's so deep and profound. And it really touched me when I was reading about your passion for helping children and helping orphans. Where did that come from? Because you've been working with orphans since you were a kid, essentially, right? Oh, since I was really young, really, I would say at the age of 14, 15.
I've been volunteering at Off Energies in Haiti, been having like camps, you know, bring joy to the kids, like dance. Yeah, I've been doing that for quite some time. Cool, excellent, excellent. It became really a passion of me. Yeah, that's wonderful. Yeah. What are some of your favorite things about Emilio? He love to dance, like me, I love dancing.
Uh, you know, my favorite thing about him is that he always calls me, asking me for stuff. And I'm so proud of the fact that he can call somebody and be asking for stuff, you know? That's also the reason why I said, you know, let me adopt him. Let me give that sense of family, a sense of home, right? Because he needs someone that he can call anytime that be there for him. So, um, I love that. And you would say, Oh dad, I want to
tablet, you know, I want a bicycle, I want a car, of course. Yeah, so I want new clothes. I want new shoes. Yeah. Wow. Just like a kid, huh? Yeah. And he loves music. He loves playing his guitar. Nice. Cool. Yeah. Yeah. Wow. So he's got to be five now. Almost six. Okay. So he's gonna turn six in August next month.
Did you have to help choose a birth date for him? Yes. It's not uncommon in that sort of scenario, you know? How would anybody be able to pinpoint an exact date? Yeah, yeah. I'm just out of curiosity. What is his birth date? Cause I'm an August baby. Really? It's going to be August 31st. Okay, wonderful, wonderful. Excellent. Just such a heartwarming story. We were talking about.
your story earlier today and it's just like, wow, I love being able to tell stories with happy endings and the happier part of your ending is still to come but I think we're confident that it's going to get there. Yeah, I think it's going to happen and anything we can do to help, please let us know. Feel free to reach out, you know, if we need to write a letter or whatever we need to do, we're happy to do it. Yeah, of course. Definitely. Oh, thank you very much. I would really appreciate it. Thank you. And we want to reconnect with you and you know.
Tell the rest of the story when you get your mom and him to move to the state. I mean, these are all just wonderful things to come. I really can't wait for that. I bet. Absolutely. Wonderful. Well, thank you so much for sharing your story. It's great. And like I said, we want to keep in touch and keep up with your journey. Of course, of course. And thank you guys too for inviting me. And it's really a wonderful story. Even me, I feel touched by it. Yeah, really. I've never thought like a million years from now, I was going to do something like that. Right.
And when the world sees that, you know, they can be a little kinder. Absolutely, absolutely. That's what it's all about. Yeah. And also I'm glad the fact that I get the opportunity to transform his life from being abandoned in the trash to being a wonderful treasure. Really? Right. Yeah. Anything I can do, I'll do it. Wow. And it's wonderful to volunteer at orphanages and things, but this is such a much more personal step that you're taking. Life changing. Yeah.
This has been the most significant shift in my life and I love it. Yeah. It's come with a lot of challenges, also blessings. Yeah, right. Right. Well, it's a beautiful story and you're a beautiful soul. So thank you so much. Thank you. All right. I can get you to hang on for just a sec. Push. There's our app. Takes a couple of seconds.