5 families can’t bring adopted children from Japan home to B.C. due to red tape

B.C. families caught up in adoption red tape in Japan
WATCH: At least five B.C. families adopting children in Japan are now stuck in limbo as they wait for visas to bring their new family members home. Tanya Beja explains why.

Ryan Hoag and wife have prepared a room in their Coquitlam home for their adopted daughter, but she has yet to see it.

“Being alone on my first Father’s Day was certainly not something that any new father would want,” Hoag said.

WATCH: Growing pressure on federal government over interrupted Japanese adoptions

Growing pressure on federal government over interrupted Japanese adoptions
Growing pressure on federal government over interrupted Japanese adoptions

Hoag and his wife Wiyani were approved to adopt a baby girl from Japan. They picked her up in Tokyo last month, but Canada refused to issue their daughter a visa to come home.

Wiyani is staying with their daughter in a Tokyo hotel, along with four other B.C. families who find themselves in the same situation.

READ MORE: Birth mom records emotional video for newborn son to explain giving him up for adoption

“Two hundred Canadians have [been] adopted from Japan before under the exact same process without issue,” Hoag said.
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The Canadian government is temporarily suspending adoptions from Japan because of a change in how the U.S. government handles adoptions from that country.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said:

“The government of Japan has recently informed the United States government that under Japanese law, the courts must authorize intercountry adoptions. This has not been part of the process for Canadian families adopting children in Japan. We are seeking clarification from the Japanese government to ensure adoptions respect Japanese laws.”

And Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen isn’t offering any clarity, telling reporters there’s no timeline for the situation to be resolved.

“No Japanese government official has ever contacted the Canadians, to our knowledge, to complain about this process,” lawyer Alex Stojicevic said.

Stojicevic represents five B.C. families currently mired in red tape.

READ MORE: Given up as a baby, B.C. girl features in campaign to link adoptees with their parents in China

“We have two legal opinions that were obtained from Japanese lawyers that the process that was followed was properly done,” he said.

Lee Fodi and his wife adopted a baby boy but don’t know when they can return to B.C.

“We’re suffering emotionally, our finances are being vacuumed out,” Fodi said from Tokyo. “We live in Vancouver, which is one of the most expensive cities in the world, and now we’re setting up a second home in Tokyo.”

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As for Hoag, he calls this the “toughest thing I’ve ever done.”