Watch above: Saskatoon couple is close to becoming a family after fighting government red tape
SASKATOON – For almost four years, a Saskatoon family has been fighting through a mountain of bureaucracy to bring their adopted son Ajjab Afridi to Canada from Pakistan.
Ajjab’s adoptive father Ashfaq Afridi made a long-awaited phone call to his wife Waheeda this week. He told her they’ll finally be able to live out their dream of residing together as a family.
“She started crying when we gave her the good news,” said Ashfaq Afridi.
Both parents are Canadian citizens. Ashfaq Afridi has been living in Saskatoon for 28 years. Unable to have children of their own, the parents adopted Waheeda’s nephew.
“They went on thinking that everything was going to be smooth,” explained their lawyer Haidah Amirzadeh, who took their case pro-bono.
“Waheeda travelled to Pakistan, and has been there since 2010,” she said.
Amirzadeh said the couple went through all the necessary procedures, but after applying for permanent and temporary residence for their son, their applications were denied.
“Overlap of the province and the federal government–I think that was the big challenge, because there is a middle part, each wanting to pass the ball to the other side,” said Amirzadeh.
The federal government said it required a letter of non-objection from the province, a document that was finally produced this week.
“We needed additional information, and we received the information that assures us that this is an adoption, this is not guardianship, and we are confident that we can unite the family,” said June Draude, minister of social services.
A lawyer in Pakistan was able to clarify the country’s guardianship laws, and verify Ajjab Afridi’s adoption.
“The information will now go to the federal government for the final approval, but we have given them everything that they have asked for.”
Ashfaq Afridi says his little boy is overjoyed.
“He said, ‘can you take me to Canada? To home, my home?’” the proud father explained, grinning.
The family hopes for an answer from Citizenship and Immigration Canada within the next few weeks.