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Texas Student Raises $168K to Adopt Abandoned Baby

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Texas Students Adopts Abandoned Baby | Image by NBC DFW

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A Texas college student has raised over $168,000 to support the adoption of an abandoned child he discovered in Haiti.

Jimmy Amisial, 27, attends Texas State University; he majors in mass communications and dreams of having his own television show.

At least twice a year, Amisial travels to his home country of Haiti to visit his family. For Christmas in 2017, Amisial returned to take “presents for the kids in the orphanage” that he serves.

On New Year’s Eve, he was on his way to the orphanage when he heard a noise that he assumed to be people celebrating the new year. He asked a woman what the sound had come from, and she told him a baby had been left in the trash.

Amisial saw the baby “laying on a pile of trash” with “15-20 people just staring” at it. He said they were too afraid to touch the child out of fear that he was cursed.

The baby was covered in fire ants and was in “excruciating pain,” according to Amisial. He said something inside told him he needed to “rescue this precious living soul.”

“Without hesitation, I picked him up, and I went to my mom’s house with him,” Amisial continued.

He said he called the police shortly after finding the baby, whom he named Emilio. An investigation was launched, but Emilio’s parents were never found.

The next day, police approached Amisial at his mother’s house with a judge, who asked if he wanted to be Emilio’s legal guardian. Amisial eventually accepted the offer.

“I’ve always wanted to be part of something great,” he said. “To me, that was the moment, and I took a leap of faith by saying, ‘Yes, I’m going to be there for him.'”

He has since worked to gain custody of Emilio, who now lives with Amisial’s mother in Gonaives, Haiti.

In January 2018, Amisial signed legal documents to begin the process of becoming Emilio’s legal guardian.

After signing the documents, Amisial began to raise money for the adoption costs, estimated to be $30,000. He created a GoFundMe page in July 2022 that has since raised over $168,000.

“People have been showing a lot of love and support, which I’m really grateful for,” he said.

Emilio is 5 years old and calls Amisial his dad.

“I’ve raised enough money to adopt him, and any excess funds will be used for Emilio’s future [and] the kids in the orphanage in Haiti,” Amisial said. He added that some of the extra money could help him finish his education, which he took a break from to care for Emilio.

Once the adoption process is complete, Amisial wants to move his mother and Emilio to the U.S. for a better life. He said he frequently video-chats them through WhatsApp, but now that Emilio’s story has gone viral, he is concerned for their safety. He said crime and violence in Haiti have only worsened since last year’s assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.

Amisial awaits news regarding his guardianship request, which was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic and can take up to two years to be approved, according to the U.S. Embassy in Haiti.

“Kids always bring us joy and happiness, and they teach us how to be patient in life,” Amisial shared.

Describing his experience over the past five years, he said, “It hasn’t been easy, but it has been great. If you want to be great in life, you have to face your challenges.”

Regarding accepting the challenge to raise Emilio, he summarized, “It’s the best decision ever.”

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