11/04/2014 05:56 EST | Updated 01/04/2015 05:59 EST

Saskatoon Couple Wins Appeal To Bring Adopted Son To Canada From Pakistan

Marili Forastieri via Getty Images
SASKATOON - A Saskatoon couple has won an appeal and may soon be able to bring home their adopted son from Pakistan.

Waheeda and Ashfaq Afridi have been trying to get their little boy named Ajjab to Canada since he was born four years ago.

The family's lawyer, Haidah Amirzadeh, said Tuesday that the appeal division of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada ruled in the couple's favour earlier this week, and granted the child a sponsorship visa.

A Canadian immigration officer in Pakistan now has to process the paperwork, which could take a few weeks, she said.

The federal government still has the option of asking the Federal Court for a review. But Amirzadeh believes it's unlikely it will do so because it would need to have a strong case.

Waheeda Afridi, who has been waiting with the boy in Pakistan during the lengthy legal process, was initially excited by news of the legal win.

But Amirzadeh said the woman is still skeptical.

"She says, 'Until I'm at the airport in Saskatoon, I don't believe that everything worked out.'"

The Afridis, who are Canadian citizens, tried unsuccessfully to have their own children. When Waheeda Afridi's sister in Pakistan was widowed and learned she was pregnant with her seventh child, they decided to adopt the baby.

Authorities there granted them custody after the boy was born in 2010, but the couple soon ran into problems with Canadian officials.

After nearly two years, Canada denied their application for a permanent residence application for their child. And in 2013, adoption authorities in all Canadian provinces decided to no longer approve adoptions from the Asian country.

Amirzadeh said things changed in June, when the Saskatchewan government wrote a letter stating it didn't object to the adoption. The letter was presented as valuable new evidence at the appeal hearing.

"It wouldn't have happened if that letter wouldn't have been issued," said Amirzadeh. "My clients are very grateful that the province stepped up and supported them."


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