Canadian returns home alone, after months-long wait in Ghana for adopted son's paperwork
A B.C. woman who was hospitalized while waiting for newly adopted son’s citizenship paperwork to be approved by the Canadian government has returned home without her son or her husband.
Kimberlee and Clark Moran travelled to Ibadan, Nigeria in early August to adopt their two-year-old son Ayo. After that process was completed, the family then visited the nearest Canadian immigration office in Accra, Ghana to file the final paperwork for Ayo to receive Canadian citizenship.
After several weeks, Clark returned to their home in Abbotsford, B.C. for work commitments while Kimberlee and Ayo waited another three months in Accra.
When contacted by CTV News earlier this month, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said the intercountry adoption process can between six and eight months under ideal circumstances and as long as two years depending on the child’s country of origin and other factors.
The Morans’ adoption paperwork for Ayo was first received in February 2017, which means their case is just three months shy of the two year maximum estimate.
Last week, however, Kimberlee was hospitalized for symptoms of her multiple sclerosis. She lost some feeling in her hands and face and was unable to walk without assistance, according to her husband.
“She went there healthy,” Barb Pichette, a family friend, told CTV Vancouver on Tuesday. “She had no symptoms at the time [she travelled to Africa]. She was in remission.”
“She can’t take care of herself right now,” Lindsay Jeans, Kimberlee’s sister, added.
As Kimberlee’s health deteriorated, Clark made the decision to fly back to Accra to wait with their son so his wife could fly home to B.C. to receive treatment.
“I'm being forced to choose right now,” Clark said before his flight to Africa on Saturday. “Do I stay with our son and take care of him in this foreign country? Or do I fly home with my wife who is unable to take care of herself?"
Ultimately, the family decided Clark should wait with Ayo in Ghana and friends and family in B.C. would help Kimberlee at home.
On Tuesday, Kimberlee was greeted at Vancouver International Airport by her sisters and friends in an emotional reunion.
“Probably the hardest part was they dropped me off at the airport and… I was saying goodbye and coming home by myself,” she said.
When asked about the Morans’ case, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Ahmed Hussen’s office said in a statement that “the Mission in Accra is currently working to process this application expeditiously.”
The Morans have been pleading with the Canadian government to grant their son a temporary visa so they can bring him home to B.C. while they wait for the paperwork to be approved.
“All we’re trying to do is give a little boy who doesn’t have a family, who doesn’t have a home, a life and a home in Canada and it just feels like we’ve had roadblock after roadblock,” Kimberlee said.
Kimberlee said she can’t even imagine putting up a Christmas tree and hanging up stockings knowing that her husband and a child are thousands of kilometres away.
“I’m broken-hearted,” she wrote on Facebook before her flight home. “All I want is to hold my husband’s hand as I try to get healthy and to hold my son close as he falls asleep. Praying for strength, peace and healing tonight. Man, this is hard.”