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Toronto man returns home with twin girls after clearing citizenship hurdle

Last Updated Jan 9, 2019 at 9:16 pm EST

A Toronto man who fulfilled his dreams of becoming a father by using a foreign surrogate finally arrived back in Canada on Wednesday with his newborn twins.

“I think it’s surreal,” said Joseph Tito as he arrived at Pearson International Airport on Wednesday. “I still can’t believe I’m here after all this time.”

As CityNews first reported last month, soon after twin girls Stella and Mia were born through the use of a surrogate in Kenya, Tito was blindsided to discover he would not be able to bring his newborns home due to recent changes to Canada’s Immigration Act.

Tito, who was born to a Canadian mother in Italy, is considered second generation Canadian and his newborn daughters do not automatically inherit his citizenship as they were born outside the country. Tito was told he would have to sponsor them as foreign national family members, a process that could take six months.

Tito began the process of submitting the necessary sponsorship documents at the end of December and was then told he could apply for a temporary resident visa for the twins and allowed to return home while their sponsorship was being processed.

Tito credits the subsequent media attention given his case for helping to find a quick resolution.

“It felt like a movie,” he said. “I didn’t think it was real, especially for a country like Canada. You hear that all over the world, you expect that from the United States but not Canada.”

Immigration lawyer Joel Sandaluk says Tito’s case shows the many pitfalls associated with foreign surrogacy. He says potential parents should thoroughly educate themselves about the laws that are applicable, not just in Canada but in the country and jurisdiction where they go through surrogacy.

Sandaluk adds there is no such thing as being too cautious when it comes to foreign surrogacy and people should be fully prepared with all the necessary documents to go through whatever processes are required, including proof of status in Canada and proof of relationship to the child.