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Infants Reunited With Families, Set Foot In Canada For The First Time

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They may be too young to realise all that has gone on around them in their so-far short lives, but for Adam Aboushady and Ella Perras, it was the end of a long journey.

The two infants, aged just 12 months and 20 months, respectively, landed in Canada for the first time earlier this month. Adam, who had been stranded in Egypt due to government bureaucracy, was finally reunited with his parents in Toronto on March 16. Two weeks earlier, Claude Perras from Longueuil, Quebec, landed in Montreal with his adopted daughter Ella, a Canadian citizen.

Adam Aboushady’s story

When Adam landed in Toronto Pearson Airport earlier this week, it marked the end of a turbulent year. The boy’s parents, Ahmed and Samah Aboushady have missed most of their child’s life so far.

The Aboushady family left Egypt for the United Kingdom in 2010, in doing so leaving a country racked by tension. This atmosphere culminated in the 2011 revolution, the “Arab Spring”, but the family was long gone from Egyptian shores by this stage. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) accepted their applications for permanent residence in 2012.

The family arrived in Canada in March 2013 to make their permanent resident status official, but then returned temporarily to the U.K. so that Adam’s sisters, Lara and Judy, could finish the school year before moving to Canada permanently. Due to pregnancy complications making travel impossible for his mother, Adam was born in the U.K. He was considered to be an Egyptian citizen.

Because Adam was not on the original Canadian immigration application, the Aboushadys applied for a visitor visa so that he could come to Canada, whereupon his parents planned to sponsor him for permanent residence. However, CIC rejected the application for a visitor visa and the Aboushadys were forced to leave Adam temporarily with his grandparents in Egypt. After a public campaign, however, CIC officials approved the Aboushadys as sponsors and allowed Adam’s passage to Canada.

“He [Adam] was very happy, he recognized me,” said Ahmed Aboushady. “It’s worth what we have stood up for.”

Ella Perras’ story

Though she has never contracted the deadly disease, Sierra Leone native Ella Perras has had the first two years of her life turned upside-down by the Ebola outbreak that has affected her home country.

Claude Perras, who is engaged to a Canadian woman, began the adoption process for Ella in the summer of 2013, shortly after she was born to a 13-year-old girl in Sierra Leone. Claude was in the country on a business trip. Given the biological mother’s age and her inability to feed Ella, Perras began the adoption process in June 2013. On July 2, 2014, the adoption was granted by Sierra Leonean authorities. It was subsequently approved by Canadian authorities.

Perras travelled to Freetown, Sierra Leone, in October, 2014, despite the fact that a Canadian visa had not yet been granted. He ended up being stranded there — in the midst of a devastating Ebola outbreak — while waiting for Canadian officials to grant Canadian citizenship for Ella. The government of Canada has introduced travel restrictions on individuals from Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, regardless of whether or not the person wishing to travel to Canada actually has Ebola.

Ella’s Canadian citizenship was finally granted last month, and the father and daughter arrived safely in Montreal. After a long ordeal, Ella is now getting used to her new life in Canada.

Canadian compassion

“One thing that became clear from these stories is how ordinary Canadians rallied behind the Aboushadys and Clause Perras to ensure that these innocent children are allowed to build their lives in Canada,” says Attorney David Cohen.

“When Adam Aboushady was still in Egypt with his grandparents, nine thousand kilometres from his parents and sisters, his story was featured in national news and on primetime TV. Meanwhile, friends and family of Claude Perras travelled to Ottawa to lobby the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to use his discretionary powers to intervene in the situation. It shows real Canadian compassion at its finest.

“Now that they’re here, little Adam and Ella must be wondering what all this snow in Central Canada is all about!”

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