'It's surreal': Canadian man stuck in Kenya arrives home with newborn twin daughters
Published Wednesday, January 9, 2019 5:35PM EST
After a long ordeal, a Toronto man who had been stuck in Kenya with his newborn twin daughters because of immigration issues arrived in Canada today with his children, Stella and Mia, in tow.
“It’s surreal,” Joseph Tito told reporters at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport on Wednesday, after a 36-hour long journey from Kenya to Toronto. “I still can’t believe I’m here after all of this time. I’m so happy that we’re together and we’re home.”
Tito travelled to Kenya last month to meet his newborn daughters who were born via a surrogate, but was shocked to learn that because he was born outside of Canada, his Canadian citizenship would not automatically be passed down to children also born outside the country.
“It felt like a movie,” Tito said. “I didn’t think it was real, especially from a country like Canada.”
The rule that prohibited him from bringing his twins back to Canada is the result of a 2009 amendment to the Citizenship Act. It stipulates that babies born outside of Canada to Canadian citizens are automatically granted citizenship status, but this ends after the first generation. Tito was born to a Canadian mother in Italy and later immigrated to Canada as a child so his children could not be automatically granted Canadian citizenship.
“I understand why (this law) was put into place,” he said, “but I think it needs to be amended for a lot of people who live in Canada.”
Tito said he opted to use a surrogate based in Kenya because it was one of the few countries where surrogacy services were advertised for single men or same-sex couples.
On Monday morning – more than one week after his first planned flight back to Toronto – Tito learned that his daughters had been granted visas to come to Canada.
“Now, I just want to spend time with my babies and not worry about legal stuff and going to lawyers and embassies and courts,” he said.