A Texas college student has adopted a baby he found in the trash who was covered in ants and distressed while he was on vacation in Haiti.
Brave Jimmy scooped up the baby and took him home to his mother Elicie Jean, 66, where they washed, clothed and fed him milk, before taking him for medical help.
Jimmy and his mom then reported the instance to the police and when the police couldn’t find the baby’s birth parents, a judge asked Jimmy to become legal guardian to the baby – which Jimmy called Emilio Angel Jeremiah.
In December 2017, Jimmy came home to visit his mom in Haiti during a study break from Texas State University.
Since he was a teenager, Jimmy has helped out at the orphanage next to his home, and on this trip, he’d brought back presents for the children.
He was on his way to the orphanage when he came across a large group of people huddled round a trash can.
Jimmy made his way to the front of the commotion, and, to his disbelief, there was a four-month-old baby inside.
No one knew how the baby ended up there, and to this day, no one knows who his birth parents are, Jimmy said.
‘When I woke up that day, I was totally unaware that my life was about to change forever,’ Jimmy said.
‘People were crowding round this bin and I heard them arguing about what to do with this tiny baby.
‘Everyone was just staring at him – not a single soul wanted to help.
‘He was crying and had no clothes on and I could see the pain in his eyes – I had to do something.’
Jimmy picked up the four-month-old and took him to his mother’s home.
She was shocked but was immediately willing to do everything she could to ease his pain and suffering.
Together, they washed, clothed and fed him milk, and took him to the doctors for a check-up, as he was covered in ant bites from the trash.
Although the police launched an investigation to find the boy’s parents, but they were never traced.
A few days passed, and after a hearing on what was to be done about the baby, a judge asked Jimmy, then 22, if he would become legal guardian to the baby Jimmy called Emilio.
Jimmy said: ‘When I was asked to raise him, I stayed awake for days tossing and turning, trying to make a decision.
‘I was already behind on my university fees and my family has always struggled to make ends meet.
‘But I didn’t have a dad growing up, and this poor child was facing a lifetime of instability and uncertainty.
‘Something inside was telling me that this had happened for a reason – so I took a leap of faith.
‘Sometimes you don’ have to know what to do, you just have to be ready, to do it.’
After thinking long and hard about the judge’s request, Jimmy agreed to raise him with the help of his mother.
He named the baby Emilio, and four and a half years on, the two of them have developed an inspirable bond.
Elicie has been an important part of their journey, looking after Emilio while Jimmy is studying at college and working.
Ever since, Jimmy, who is studying at Texas State University, has been splitting his time between the States and Gonaives, Haiti, where Emilio is being cared for by Elicie.
Now Jimmy has applied to formally adopt Emilio, to officially become his dad.
Jimmy, who is studying communication and electronic media, said: ‘When I found him, he was four-months-old – now he’s nearly five.
‘It’s been an incredible journey and watching him grow up has been so rewarding – I’m very proud of him.
‘I had to do what I had to do when no one else wanted to do it, and I’m so grateful for the past four and a half years.
‘I truly do feel like a father, and I’m excited to put pen to paper and make Emilio my son – I just need to raise the money first.
‘I’m glad I got the opportunity to transform his life from being abandoned in the trash to being a wonderful treasure.’
To provide for his family, Jimmy has had to take considerable amount of time off from his studies, but is now gearing up to start his third year in September.
Emilio, who started school this year, is a bright spark and loves music. He wants to be a musician when he’s older.
Jimmy started the formal process of legally adopting Emilio in 2020, but needs to raise $30,000 to complete the adoption.
Until he has the money, he will not be given a date for completion.
‘It’s been fun seeing him grow – he’s a joy to be around,’ Jimmy said.
‘Mom loves him, the kids in the orphanage love him, and I love him as if he were my own. He really is a special little boy.’