Well, we’re at the end of another full week, and we haven’t received any news about our situation. We’re one of five Canadian families in the process of adopting children in Japan, but because the Canadian Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) won’t issue visas for our babies, we’re stuck here.
Our entry into the Land of Limbo began on May 25th
We first arrived in Japan on April 23rd, took custody of our son on April 24th, and then waited for the visa to arrive. We didn’t suspect there was any problem, but when our visa didn’t arrive by our scheduled departure date of May 23rd, we made the decision that I should head back home anyway to work and earn some income for our family. It wasn’t until May 25th, when I was back in Vancouver and separated from my family, that the IRCC announced that it wasn’t a minor delay we were experiencing, but that they were indefinitely suspending our process. What I had thought would only be a few days’ separation turned into several weeks.
Long days and nights
During that time, we hoped for resolution, but when it never arrived, I finally made my way back to Japan on June 15th to rejoin Marcie and our son. Since returning, I’ve been so busy writing government officials, coordinating and conducting media interviews, and in general trying to promote our story that I’ve barely left the hotel.
Trying to find normalcy
Last night, we finally decided to take a few hours off. We met up with one of the other moms stranded here and separated from her husband, who also had to return to Vancouver for work. We took a humble stroll through the grounds of a Japanese garden that is managed by a local hotel. We saw fireflies, sculptures, a beautiful pagoda, and just tried to pretend we were normal people without the weight of uncertainty bearing down us and our children.
With each week that passes without a resolution, the more in jeopardy we feel—not only emotionally, but financially, and physically. Yes, physically. Weeks of stress and duress can take a toll.
Thankfully, however, our children are babies—they have no idea about the situation. We’ve now had them for more than half their lives and we’re the only parents they’ve ever known. As far as they are concerned, life is normal. They still coo and cough, smile and smirk, naive to the whimsies of the bureaucracies that hold their future in the balance.
Contacting the government helps
We do sincerely believe that everyone’s efforts—writing letters to MPs and the ministers, sharing links on social media, and advocating on our behalf—have made a difference. Our campaign has captured the attention of the decision makers. What decisions they make, or how quickly they make them, is still something we worry about, but at least it seems that THEY are now worrying about us, too.
So, this is another heartfelt thank you to everyone for your support. Your letter-writing, your messages of support, your prayers and positive vibes, mean a lot to us and it’s hard to put our gratitude into words. There are a lot of terrible things happening in the world—far more terrible than the situation we are in—and we are so blessed to be offered the care and attention of friends, family, colleagues, and even complete strangers.
Grateful to Japan
We also want to express our gratitude to the country of Japan. The people here have been so welcoming and hospitable. The workers at our agency here have checked in on us, chaperoned us to medical and immunization appointments, and sincerely cared about our well-being.
Help us keep our story alive
If you haven’t yet written a letter to the Minister of Immigration, please consider doing so. There’s a helpful template letter at the bottom of this blog post.
If you’ve already written, and would like to send an additional letter, you can use the template letter that I posted at the bottom of this blog post.
Thank you again. Our uneven path continues, but now we don’t feel quite so lonely.