A B.C mom and her newly adopted son have been stranded in Africa for months, caught in what the family calls a bureaucratic nightmare, waiting for the government to complete the necessary paperwork so they can return to Canada.
“We just want to come home,” Kim Moran told Global News from her hotel room in Accra, Ghana, while holding her newly adopted son, Ayo.
Kim and her husband, Clark Moran, travelled to Nigeria on Aug. 1, where they met their son for the first time.
“Ayo fit in right away,” Clark said.
“He is so sweet and has the biggest smile.”
Clark left the West African country roughly a month ago, believing they’d done everything needed for his new son to travel back to Canada.
But he was wrong.
Kim has been stuck in Africa for the past three months waiting for Ottawa to process documents and is now pleading for help. She said the adoption is complete but that the government is failing in its responsibility to bring them home.
“Everything they have asked for we have given them. We’ve had all the forms authenticated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, all the forms are in order,” she told Global News via Skype. “This is a process that in most places, would have only taken a week.”
WATCH: Canadian red tape delays adoption from Africa. Jamie Mauracher reports.
After meeting their son, the couple spent the next few weeks in Nigeria, bonding with him. They then travelled to Accra, where they were told to drop off their paperwork at the Canadian High Commission.
Since then, the trio has been languishing, desperately waiting for the government to process their claim so they can be reunited.
“We had been told it was basically a stamp and we would be on our way,” Clark said.
Thinking this was the case, he flew back to Abbotsford for work.
“I thought they were just a few days behind … maybe that was foolishness,” he said. “But it was kind of what we were led to believe.”
When Kim arrived at the High Commission she was told that because the documents dealt with immigration, she would have to hand them in across town. That department then directed her back to the High Commission, she said.
When Kim got back to the embassy, the second time, she said they wouldn’t let her in. Instead, she said a man who appeared to be a guard, walked over, took her paperwork and told her to wait.
“Here I am, standing on the side of the road, outside the Canadian High Commission for an hour and a half with a two-year-old, in the heat, crying,” she said.
Clark said having to watch the events unfold from Canada has been terrifying.
“That was scary,” he said. ”My Canadian wife and child turned away from a Canadian embassy.”
Kim said after a week she confirmed her documents had been handed in, “I was told they were in a queue,” but she said she wasn’t given a timeline.
“We weren’t expecting it would be five, six weeks,” said Clark, who is heading back to Ghana on Friday, concerned not only for the adoption but his wife’s health.
Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Kim requires a special diet and medication. Her mother said the ordeal has been hard on her health.
“It needs to be monitored every month,” Cindy Jeans said from her home in Port Hope, Ont.
“She needs to get home to see her specialist to get the proper care that she needs.”
With no end in sight, her parents have turned to Ottawa for answers. “Our Canadian government needs to step up and bring them home,” Jeans said, while holding back tears.
Global News reached out to the High Commission in Ghana and did not receive a response by the time of publication.
Meanwhile, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen told reporters Friday he would not get into details of the situation but added he is “familiar with the case and as any other cases of family reunification … we do our best efforts to reunite families.”
The response isn’t good enough for Jeans who said the ongoing incident has been nerve-wracking for the new family.
“We are just heartbroken, we need her home … we need Ayo home.”