Yazidi refugees reunite in Toronto after they were torn apart by ISIS 2 years ago
Family became separated after they fled to Turkey to escape the violence in Iraq in 2014
Clutching a Canadian flag in one hand and his father's shoulder in the other, Saadi Mado keeps repeating the same words: "Thank you, Canada. Thank you, Canada. Thank you, Canada."
"I'm really happy, I'm really happy," the Iraqi man said as he gripped his father at Pearson airport Wednesday. "My dad means everything ... My father is my second half of my heart."
Mado has spent two years waiting in this country for this moment. Waiting to be reunited with his parents, his siblings and his nephews after they were torn apart when ISIS began attacking Yazidi communities in northern Iraq in 2014.
The family fled to Turkey following an attack in their community. They didn't bring any supplies and went without food and water for two days.
Flight to Toronto
They settled in a Turkish refugee camp, but Mado and two of his siblings were able to leave for Canada soon afterward. The three adult siblings found jobs, splitting their earnings between saving for a home and sending money back to their remaining family.
The five-bedroom house they found in Richmond Hill, however, promised to be much fuller Wednesday night.
The Mados' extended family crowded the Toronto airport, with more than a dozen people weeping, laughing and simply holding one another for several minutes after they landed.
Soon, everyone had a small Canadian flag in their hands.
"To be again in touch with your family and hug them, I could cry," Mado said.
While most of the family smiled or wept, Mado's nephew, still a toddler, kept shying away.
"It's my first time to see him so he's scared from me," Mado said, laughing.
'No more room for her happiness'
They'll have plenty of time to get to know one another: Mado's father, mother, two brothers, sister-in-law and two nephews will live with him in Richmond Hill, along with the two other siblings already there.
The family has considered opening a business together, Mado said. And one of his brothers hopes to continue his studies in information technology.
But it was hard for the family to look much beyond the emotion of the reunion Wednesday night. They have plenty of time to plan in the next days and weeks.
"She is very, very happy to see her children again," Mado said, translating for his mother. "There's no more room for her happiness."
With files from Devin Heroux