Imma came to us three years ago this November.
Her mother abandoned her at the hospital shortly after birth, and she remained there until she came to us five weeks later, tiny but healthy. Although carried to full term, Imma was less than 3.5 pounds at birth. Her small size made feeding tricky, so a syringe became her first bottle. Our nannies were over the moon to have this wee little doll to care for.
In our care, Imma grew strong and healthy, and she was oh-so-loved by her nannies and the other children at Angel House. But Imma had a family in the US praying, waiting, and preparing for the day they would take her home forever. And they did just that on March 26 of this year.
But this was not the end of Imma’s story. In many ways, it was just the beginning.
We know you might be wondering what life is like for Imma now, six months later.
“The transition was very difficult for her at first, but she has made amazing progress and is flourishing,” Imma’s mom, Kimberly, tells us. “She started school recently, after weeks of excitedly counting down the days with us. She loves to cuddle, sing, dance, and play with her sister, Serenity. She loves to swim, jump on trampolines, dress up, care for her dolls and toys, explore, and read books. Imma is a strong-willed, goofy, curious girl who is very loving and enjoys helping others. Her favorite song is “Happy Birthday”— she sings it almost every day!”
Imma is growing up as a very healthy and happy little girl, and we are thrilled for her and for her family!
One of our primary goals at Three Angels is to foster each child’s ability to bond with their very own nanny. This attachment process makes it possible to form relationships even after they leave us. The children at Angel House receive lots of love and are prepared for the healthiest future possible.
Kimberly tells us, “We are so thankful that she is home and we are so glad God placed her in our family. She looks at the pictures of her nannies that we hung on her wall almost everyday and comments on them. We know she still misses them, and we know that is because they took such great care of her for the first two and a half years of her life. The love and care that the nannies and other staff have for Imma and the love she has for them in return is undeniable. This made the transition easier
because she already knew what it means to be loved and cared for and to have her needs met before she came to us. Many children do not have that experience in an orphanage setting. We know from research that if a child has at least one healthy attachment/relationship, then it is much easier for them to have healthy relationships in the future. So we are forever grateful for the love and care she received while at Three Angels. We have pictures of her with her primary nannies hanging right above her bed. She looks at them daily, and when she does her face lights up!”
Will Imma ever go back to see her beloved nannies?
“We can't wait until she is ready to go and visit them,” say Kimberly. “We want Imma to be proud of where she came from. We want her to be proud of her culture, her country, her first language, her first family, and her caregivers. We know there are challenges that many transracial adoptees face due to feeling like they don't really belong anywhere. For example, maybe they lose their first language, so when they visit their home country they feel disconnected because they cannot communicate. Or when they are with their adoptive family, they feel isolated because they look different. Our goal is to help Imma feel like she belongs in every setting, and we believe that visiting Haiti and Three Angels, helping her remember the Haitian Creole language, and celebrating her culture will be huge factors in achieving that goal.”
Although Haitian Creole is her first language, Imma’s family did not anticipate that would be an obstacle to overcome.
“We actually thought this would not be an issue for us at all. We both (Kimberly and her husband, Ran) speak some Haitian Creole, so we thought we had a leg up in this area. However, Imma has some speech delays, and we later found that she had hearing loss that impacted her speech. As a result, we are still struggling with verbal communication, but she has made huge improvements. Her comprehension was great in Haitian Creole, and it is now great in English as well. So I suppose we still had a leg up in some ways, but the difficulty with communication was definitely the most challenging part of our transition.”
One language that was an unexpectedly easy transition was Imma’s “love language”: FOOD!
“Food was much easier than expected. When you are doing trainings and preparing for adoption, they all talk about how big of an issue food can be— either overeating to the point of making themselves sick because they are worried they may go hungry later, or refusing to eat to retain some area of control when everything around them feels out of their control. When we were on our homecoming trip, all the nannies and staff told us that Imma did not like to eat and was very picky. They told us they had to beg her to eat at every meal. Now that we are home, I tell everyone that food is Imma's love language because she loves to eat!”
Imma gained a new sister when she went home, too, and that was a challenging transition for them both.
“So this one is not going to be pretty, LOL! When Imma first came home, I thought the rest of my life as a mom was going to be in a role of referee because they fought ALL the time! Serenity went from being an only child to being a sister and having to share everything, including mommy and daddy. We knew there would be issues in the transition for both girls, but we did not expect it to be so hard for Serenity. We know there are issues even when biological siblings are born, but at least as newborns they can't snatch your toys or fight back until you've had a significant time to adjust. Imma and Serenity are only eight months apart, so it has taken some time for them to learn to enjoy each other. It is still a daily struggle for all of us in this area, but it has gotten so much better. When I look over and see them playing together and actually enjoying each other, it makes me so happy, and I know those moments are only going to become more frequent.”
Three Angels is proud to have a small part in Imma’s story.
Our leadership, staff, and sponsors have prayed for her and her family for the last three years, and we will continue to do so because we know what we do matters for little ones like Imma.
If you want to be a part of the life of a child like Imma, please visit our Orphan Care Sponsorship page. Your monthly donation of $49 will provide the same excellent care and preparation for a healthy future— physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Your prayers and financial support will make all the difference for a child like Imma.