Sincere apologies to all that it’s been so long since the last update. Things have been busy and there have been many turn of events so we have much to update you on.
As you may have seen on our blog and Facebook updates, due to the very specific needs of this particular family and preparing for their imminent arrival, we went ahead and found a perfect apartment for them, and have been paying rent on it since mid-January. Because of their unique needs we decided it would be best to have something permanent ready for when they arrive so they don’t have to have the burden of moving from place to place. It is beautiful and fully furnished, and even has the bonus of a perfect view to downtown and the CN Tower. Many thanks to everyone who has had a part in making it happen, whether you came to help clean or set it up, donated items for it or made a donation that has gone to help cover the rent or other start up costs.
Since then things have taken a few different turns. We were thrilled to hear that the family we are sponsoring was approved on the spot when they went for their interview with the visa office in Beirut in early February, complete with handshakes and a “Welcome to Canada! Can you travel in two weeks?”. However, in the intervening weeks, as travel arrangements began to be investigated, we received news here that there has been a delay in the case . We have no further details about what the issue might be or when it will be resolved. All travel arrangements were put on hold at that time. We realize this is very frustrating and upsetting for everyone, not to mention how difficult it must be for the family, but all we can do is patiently wait until we hear word about the government’s decision. We have been working closely with Lifeline Syria and in touch with Ottawa and they have both assured us that there is no kind of political or media pressure we can put on this case to get it moving faster. And from reports in the media it is apparent that we are not the only private sponsorship group experiencing these kind of unexpected delays.
In early March, the Bloorcourt Sponsors executive team met to talk about what to do about the apartment and contents, which include items purchased specifically for the family’s needs. We discussed many possible scenarios of how to proceed but because of the uncertainty of when the family might now arrive we decided it would be best to give up the apartment and put the contents into storage. We are now looking into finding donated storage space so we will have everything ready and can spring into action when we hear word about the decision. If for some reason they are denied we will be ready to sponsor another Syrian refugee family. Until then we have signed on and are fully committed to sponsor this family. So, we just sit tight, wait and hope for the best.
We are sorry to have to report such disappointing news but we are staying hopeful that this delay will be worked out but realize it could be months before we find out. We will keep you posted on any new developments. We also want to take this opportunity to thank you again for your kind hearts, generosity, support and patience! We are only able to do this because of people like you. We want you to know every penny spent so far has been thoroughly considered and spent wisely, keeping in mind our budget and what is the best for the family. Our members have been working so hard behind the scenes advocating for this family and getting the necessary resources prepared. That is what makes this delay all the more disappointing. We were completely ready to welcome them with medical professionals lined up, phone lines hooked up and pantry stocked.
So not to end this on a negative note, we have one bit of happy news. As some of you may have heard, the mother of the family is pregnant. Due to her wishes and her concerns of her safety she asked that we keep it quiet until now so that is why we are just announcing it. She is due with a baby girl in April. They were very much hoping to have the baby in Canada, but with that not being possible now, they are making preparations to welcome the new addition to their family in Lebanon. And now we can hopefully look forward to welcoming a family of 4 to Canada in the months to come.