After a long flight from Kenya and an unexpected citizenship hurdle, a Toronto man and his newborn twin daughters are finally back home.
“I think it’s surreal,” Joseph Tito said. “I still can’t believe I’m here after all this time. I’m just so happy we’re together and we’re here and we’re home.”
Tito, who was born in Italy and inherited his Canadian citizenship through his Canadian-born mother, travelled to Kenya last month to meet Stella and Mia, his new babies born via surrogacy on Nov. 30.
When Tito arrived in Kenya he learned his Canadian citizenship would not automatically be passed down to his children since they were also born out of the country.
A law passed in 2009 stripped the ability of Canadians born outside the country and inherited their citizenship to pass it on to their children who were also not born in Canada.
Tito hired a surrogate mother in Kenya as he found the surrogacy process to be cheaper there for a single man, compared to Canada.
“It just kind of feels weird that I am Canadian, I’ve always been Canadian but my kids are not Canadian,” he said.
On Monday – more than one week after his first planned flight back to Canada – Tito said he finally received visas for his daughters.
After landing at Toronto Pearson International Airport on Wednesday afternoon, Tito introduced Stella and Mia to his family surrounded by cameras.
“I really think the media helped. The media sort of expedited things in terms of getting the visas and the embassy in Kenya was just like take the visas and get out of here, we are done with this story, we don’t want to hear about it anymore.”
Tito said the whole process “felt like a movie.”
“It didn’t feel like it was real – especially for a country like Canada,” he said. “Before I even started with this journey, I looked into it, I called the embassy, I called my clinic, I contacted lawyers, I did all my research and then I paid for everything three weeks before that and then all of a sudden it was ‘OK you can’t go’ I was just floored.”
“I couldn’t believe it.”
The sponsorships for the young girls have already been completed, Tito said, and he plans to apply for their citizenships as soon as possible.
“I will throw them a big party when they are Canadians,” Tito said.