This is Amanda Esmeralda! Amanda means “Loved by All” and Esmeralda means “Precious Stone”. In August 2022, she was found abandoned at Respire, a nearby organization in Gressier, Haiti, that we know well.
Amanda was brought to Respire, where they were told she needed to be seen at their clinic. They never saw the adult who brought her after this point. They found Amanda propped up on a bench, sitting in their clinic. They didn’t know her name or her age and she had nothing but the clothes she was wearing. She was all alone.
Respire contacted myLIFEspeaks about the possibility of taking her in and we told them we would need to work with our Haitian Child Services (IBESR) representative, St. Fleur, first before we did anything and to discuss placement.
It is imperative for us to ensure that all the children in our forever care come through Haitian Child Services through the proper Haitian legal processes, as best as possible. We never want to disregard Haitian systems in place and always want to be 100% sure that the child has truly been orphaned or abandoned, with no one else to care for them. Going through Haitian Child Services is one of the many checks and balances processes by which we do so.
We worked with Respire and our IBESR agent to make sure everything we did was legal, respectful of Haitian law and authority, and was in the best interest of the child.
When we look at bringing a child into one of our families, we look at and rely on the following:
Space availability within families
Does this child fit within this family? This is very important because we want the child to grow up in a family who is able to meet their needs in every way (spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally)
Evaluation and Medical Exam/Lab Test
Serve Team prays with the prospective family
Final Decision and Placement
After following these steps and getting Haitian Child Services properly involved, Amanda Esmeralda became the newest child of the myLIFEspeaks family. She marks the 31st child that myLIFEspeaks has rescued, taken in, and placed in a loving, forever family since our inception in 2012.
Amanda found her forever home with her adopted mother, Milande, and siblings; Richard, Reichna, Mika, Emmanuel, Sara, and Kellie. This is the same family that took in Nora for the last two years before her sudden and tragic death following a seizure in her sleep in May of 2022.
Amanda was evaluated at our LIFE Clinic to ensure she had a file, and a proper LIFE plan established. She received in-home physical therapy from LIFE Therapy Clinic until attending therapy in person at our facilities in mid-October of 2022.
We believe Amanda is about 10-11 years old based on her medical exam, dental exam, and behavior. She was very malnourished when she came to us but now she is flourishing. She loves her new forever family and is eating well, gaining weight, and already sitting up better on her own. Her skin condition is also healing well from when she initially came to us.
Thank you Respire for providing funds to help get Amanda the clothes and supplies she needs to get started in this wonderful family.
Thank you also to myLIFEspeaks’ Director of Family Empowerment, Benjamin Saint-Jean, and Assistant Director, Davidson, who were imperative in making sure all the steps were carefully and prayerfully taken. They are the social workers who coordinated Amanda’s evaluations, got Haitian Child Services (IBESR) involved, and ensured that Amanda would be in the best of hands the entire time.
Shortly after her placement, Benjamin went to visit Amanda in her new family and he said the family was gathered around her on the porch, talking to and playing with her as if she was already a member of their family.
Here's what Amanda's new mom, Mirlande, had to say about her joining their family:
How do you feel about being allowed to be Amanda's mom now?
“Since Nora's death, I felt like I missed something in my family because of the attachment we had with her in our family, now I can say we find this smile again when Amanda comes into our family and I feel blessed to have her as my new child.”
How do the other kids feel about getting a new sister?
“They are so happy, they interact and play with her as if they knew her before.”
What would you like to see Amanda learn from being a part of your family?
“I would like to see her grow and thrive with the other children and give her love and everything that her biological mother could not give her.”
How do you want God to use you as the mom for your wonderful children and now Amanda?
“I am working every day on myself to be a better Mom. I pray [to] God to give me more patience with the kids until they can fly with their wings and become important people in their country and I think that will make the honor of myLIFEspeaks.”