Windsor mom 'overwhelmed with joy' after reuniting with kids abducted by their father in 2019
‘I’m so happy that they’re home,’ Khawla Khalifa says
A Windsor, Ont., woman has been reunited with two of her children, two years after they were abducted by their father and taken to Lebanon.
Khawla Khalifa said Dina, 7, and Fawzi, 10, arrived at Toronto's Pearson Airport on Sunday night.
"It's indescribable. It's something I've been dreaming about, you know, for the past two and a half years, and I can't even explain with words," Khalifa said.
"I'm overwhelmed with joy. I'm so happy that they're home, they're home with us."
In 2019, Achraf Zeidan took his two children to Lebanon, despite the fact that he was not to leave Essex County with them. A court had granted custody to his ex-wife Khawla Khalifa. The youngest child, Zein Eldin, stayed with Khalifa.
Earlier this year, Khalifa sued Zeidan, members of his family and Egyptair for $10 million for their alleged roles in the abduction of the two children in 2019. The claims in the lawsuit have not been proved in court.
On Monday, Khalifa said the children were returned to her under an agreement reached with the parties.
"We were able to come to an agreement with the parties and the outcome of that was the kids coming home [on Sunday]," she said.
The lawsuit with Egyptair is ongoing. Zedian signed an agreement in August.
"It's been a roller coaster since then," Khalifa said.
'They're happy to be home'
She said Global Affairs Canada was instrumental in arranging travel documents and making travel arrangements for the return of the kids, who she said will need time to adjust.
"They're happy to be home. They're going to need some time to adjust and we're going to need some time to adjust as well but, you know, I don't doubt their resilience at all," she said.
WATCH | Khawla Khalifa talks about the 24 hours she's had with all her children:
Her mother reminded her of the many things she has to do for her children now that they're back, including renewing their health cards. Khalifa's daughter Dina has a brain tumour and Khalifa doesn't know if she had any medical help while she was in Lebanon.
"So there's a lot of work, but definitely most of my time is just going to be [spent] ... just being with them. That's all I could ask for," Khalifa said.
"They've been through something that I don't think anybody could understand. We'll get through this together.... I told my son today, 'We have the rest of our lives to work through this.' The only way now is forward, so we're going to work on that and we'll take it day by day."