Life, Family, and Future
When it comes to facing adversity, our kids prove that any obstacle can be overcome with support, encouragement, and determination. They also know that when someone steps in, opens their heart, and introduces them to new experiences and opportunities, then anything is possible.
Take 11-year-old Jimy, one of our Summer Miracles kids, as an example. Originally from Colombia, Jimmy didn’t have an easy start. Born with toxoplasmosis Jimmy grew up losing his central vision, living in a Colombian orphanage for the blind for six years of his young childhood. That was until he accepted the chance of a lifetime to travel to the United States and participate in Kidsave’s Summer Miracles program.
In 2017, a happy and optimistic Jimy met his wonderful host family, Maria and Fred Rubio. Hearing about the Kidsave program from previous families, Maria and Fred instantly thought, “why not host?” Fred and Maria went into the process, intending to advocate for Jimy to find a loving adoptive family. “We weren’t looking to adopt,” says Maria. “We thought this was a great learning opportunity for our son to meet someone from a different culture, and an opportunity to help a child with a disability find a better life.”
When meeting Jimy at the airport, they were instantly shocked to see how small he was. At the age of 11, he looked like a six-year-old, weighing just 55 pounds. At second glance, they noticed his sweet personality and how tired he was from the long trip. They jumped in the car and headed home, while Jimy slept soundly in the back seat. And their adventures began the next day.
During that summer, the family did everything under the sun, and Jimy experienced many firsts, including some the family never thought to be out of the “ordinary.” “We got to experience Target with Jimy for the first time,” says Maria. “Oh wow, I’ve never had so much fun at Target. My face hurt afterward, just seeing how blown away and overwhelmed he was in the store. It was a lot of fun to see things through his eyes. Everything we did was fun just because we were with him.”
Jimy ticked off a “must do” when he traveled to the beach for the first time and got the chance to feel the sand between his toes. If you took a glance at Jimy that summer, you would see the appreciation just pouring out of him. “He was such a positive kid,” says Maria. “Coming from his background, with his disability, he still had a certain way of looking at new experiences and the world around him in a way than you had ever viewed it before.”
Towards the end of the visit, the Rubio family began to think differently about their initial thought of just hosting and transitioned into wanting to make Jimy a permanent family member, thinking, “you know this works, let’s do this!”
The family kept in touch regularly with Jimy while they finalized paperwork for adoption. And in 2018, Jimy was right back where he belonged, a member of the Rubio family. “He walked through the front door, threw his backpack down, and kicked it off,” says Maria. “It was like he was there yesterday.”
Now firmly part of the family, Jimy is loving the opportunity to go to school and is learning Braille. Through the Texas workforce, Maria and Fred learned about an organization called Sightsavers and through this organization, Jimy got the fantastic opportunity to try out a device called eSight 4, which would allow him to see things he’s never been able to see before.
In an interview with NBCDFW, Jimy’s says, “it makes my vision probably a billion times better than it already was. I think it’s like, whoa! I was super impressed the first time I put them on. It was incredible!”
Recently, Jimy visited the SEA LIFE and Legoland Discovery Center, where, for the first time, he got the opportunity to see all the fish in the aquarium. And there, Jimy received the gift of a lifetime. His very own eSight device.
In an interview, Brian McCollum, eSight spokesperson, said, “If we can just give them the tools, we can just sit back and watch them, what they can accomplish.” Jimy is now learning how to utilize the glasses fully and absolutely loves learning the technology.
Today, Jimy is like any other kid. He goes to school and participates in the chess club. He plays Xbox with his friends and has taken a particular interest in technology. He looks forward to his robotics and coding classes in school and hopes to have a career in the field in the future.
“Hosting is an amazing experience,” says Maria. “Looking through the eyes of these kids that haven’t experienced so many of the things that we take for granted, you will find a new appreciation. And when you decide to adopt,” Maria says, “it takes a village, and Kidsave has a circle of adoptive families ready to help guide you.”
When it comes to Jimy’s future, everything is possible. And we can’t wait to see what he does next.