An Egyptian couple living in Canada were reunited with their baby on Monday after the infant, who had been stranded in Egypt due to government red tape, finally arrived in Toronto.
Samah and Ahmed Aboushady, who have permanent resident status in Canada, were separated from their youngest child, Adam, after Citizenship and Immigration Canada rejected the baby's visitor visa last summer.
The boy, who is now 12 months old, arrived at Toronto's Pearson International Airport this morning. His sisters, Lara, 4, and Judy, 5, waited in the arrivals area with a handmade sign and an inflatable SpongeBob Squarepants toy.
"I couldn't believe it when I could see them with my own eyes," the boy's father told CBC News Network.
"Adam's reaction ... he was very happy, he recognized me," Ahmed Aboushady said, adding that was a concern, given that he'd missed so much of his child's life so far.
His wife had gone to Egypt to pick up the baby once government clearance was given. Samah Aboushady said she's looking forward to spending time together as a family.
Adam's sisters have already excitedly begun planning activities for their little brother, she added.
The Aboushady family fled the tense situation in Egypt for the U.K. in 2010, a year before the 2011 revolution which eventually resulted in the ouster of then-president Hosni Mubarak. In 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada accepted their applications for permanent residency.
The family arrived in Canada in March 2013 to make their status official, but then temporarily returned to the U.K. so the children could finish the school year and they could prepare to permanently move to Canada. Adam was born in the U.K., but pregnancy complications made travel impossible for his mother. The boy was considered to be an Egyptian citizen
Visa denied by immigration officials
An immigration firm advised the Aboushadys to apply for a visitor's visa with a "dual intent" — to bring Adam to Canada, then sponsor him to become a permanent resident while in the country.
But Citizenship and Immigration Canada rejected the visa request.
The Aboushadys were forced to leave Adam temporarily with his grandparents in Egypt, because if they left Canada to care for the newborn they would themselves lose the permanent resident status granted to them and their daughters.
After a Go Public piece on their story appeared on CBC.ca, immigration officials approved the Aboushadys as sponsors and allowed Adam's passage to Canada.
Ahmed Aboushady thanked the Go Public team for telling their story. He said that while the ordeal was difficult, he's glad there has been a happy conclusion.
"It's worth what we have stood up for. It's worth it," he said.