A B.C. mother has had to make an emergency trip home from Ghana without her adopted two-year-old son because of her deteriorating health.
Kim Moran, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, has been wheelchair-bound and unable to walk since late last week.
The Abbotsford resident was hospitalized on Thursday in Accra, Ghana, where she has been living with her toddler since August while awaiting his Canadian immigration paperwork.
“For me to have to leave and walk away, it’s heartbreaking,” Kim told Global News, choking back tears.
Kim and her husband, Clark, travelled to Nigeria on Aug. 1 where they met two-year-old Ayo for the first time.
“Ayo fit in right away…He is so sweet and has the biggest smile,” Clark said.
After a few weeks of bonding, the pair moved to Accra to hand in Ayo’s immigration paperwork at the Canadian High Commission.
“We had been told it was basically a stamp and we would be on our way,” Clark added.
Thinking the adoption was ready to proceed, 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.”
Four months later and the family, still separated, says the situation has become dire.
“This has become our greatest nightmare,” Clark said.
Kim says due to stress, her auto immune disease started causing complications,
“I am a healthy person, I mean I have MS but six months ago I ran the Whistler half-marathon…I can’t believe I am in a wheelchair now.”
The illness has left her unable to walk. She says she also suffers from partial facial paralysis.
In an attempt to come home, Kim says she called the Global Affairs emergency line to plead for a temporary visa for her son. She was denied and Clark was forced to fly back to Accra.
“The only solution our government can come up with is, ‘Why don’t you just switch spots?” he told Global News from his hotel in Accra. “It’s so disheartening.”
According to Immigration Canada, the adoption process typically takes six to eight months and at most, two years. The Morans began the process in 2016.
Global News previously reported the reasons for the delay, which the IRCC said included a backlog of files — there are 68 open adoption files in the Accra office. The IRCC also cited a need to ensure the adoption is in the best interest of the child.
Lawyers tell Global News the process is redundant since the province of adoption and the country of adoption would have already done this.
“We have done everything the way it needs to be done,” said Clark, referring to his paperwork.
Global News attempted to ask the Immigration Minister if he thinks the process needs to be streamlined. He was not available to answer.
Meanwhile, the Morans are now hoping to now get their son a temporary visa.
“On the grounds of compassion…so we can wait for his citizenship in Canada, as a family,” said Clark.
And while Immigration Canada says it is actively working on the Morans’ file and is aware of Kim’s current condition, it’s a request the IRCC told Global News it cannot grant — more disappointing news for the couple, who had hoped to be together for the holidays.
“I want to set up our stockings, I want to get a Christmas tree and decorate it,” Kim said tearfully. “But I am not going to do it myself.”