After 22 years in Canada, orphan ordered back home

The , Jul 22, 2009


At age 12, an adoption agency brought Fatima Desrosiers to Toronto from a Brazilian orphanage, with the hope of finding the abused child a home.

She was taken to the Don Mills area, where she met her prospective new mother. Desrosiers recalls a confrontation; the woman yelled at her, but at the time Desrosiers did not understand English. She also remembers the woman holding a knife and ordering her to leave.

Desrosiers ran out into the street, stopping what she thought was a cab. It was, in fact, a police cruiser and officers immediately placed her in the care of children's aid.

That was 1987. For years after, Desrosiers was a Crown ward, bouncing from foster home to group home, under a temporary resident permit.

She was never adopted or sponsored to become a permanent resident, and her numerous criminal convictions over the years – theft, drug trafficking, prostitution, assaults – meant she couldn't get landed status.

Now, 22 years after Desrosiers was brought here for a better future, she has been ordered to return to a country where she has no ties and no longer speaks the language.

"Fatima has never been clean long enough to get landed," lamented her immigration lawyer, Marshall Drukarsh. "This is an extremely rare situation, but she is probably the least to blame. She never chose to come here."

Desrosiers, 34, has vague memories of growing up in a small shack with 11 adults and seven children in Tiete, before she was removed and taken to an orphanage at age 5. She also recalls attending a São Paulo court with a woman to get papers to come to Canada.

"I didn't know any English. I wasn't even aware I was in a different country," said Desrosiers, whose immigration file shows she lived in at least 27 homes in Toronto, Mississauga, Richmond Hill, Hamilton, Waterloo and Dunnville. She was never anywhere long enough to set roots and was always in trouble, which she attributes to behavioural problems caused by childhood abuse in Brazil.

"I have never stayed anywhere for a full year. I never really attended school. I can't read or do math," added Desrosiers, who has three sons and two daughters, none of whom lives with her.

Immigration officials cannot comment on Desrosiers' case, but a rejection letter in May said her application to extend the temporary permit was refused because she has failed to support herself financially as an adult – she lives on government assistance – and because of her lengthy criminal record.

These days, children adopted internationally arrive in Canada as permanent residents or citizens; in the past, children were brought on temporary resident permits while the adoption process was completed in Canada, said Drukarsh.

Desrosiers now lives in Belleville with a boyfriend. She says she is still battling post-traumatic stress disorder from the earlier abuse, but overcame her crack cocaine addiction 10 years ago and has lived a stable life in her one-bedroom apartment for 18 months. She feels she deserves a second chance.

Her last criminal offence was two years ago when she was charged with assaulting a boyfriend.

"I can't speak Portuguese. I don't know anybody or have any family in Brazil," she said. "To send me back is like putting me in an early grave."



Here is another tragic deportation story, this time about a 19 year old man who was brought as a child from Mexico to Canada by a "Canadian woman who flew to Guadalajara to adopt a beautiful dark-haired four-year-old girl named Gabriela, only to be told that she could not leave without the child's five-year-old brother. She returned to Toronto with both children but she turned Mario over to the CAS, saying she could no longer manage the impulsive, aggressive, disturbed eight -year-old boy."
Shortly after he became an adult he was convicted of break-ins and, despite a last-ditch appeal by lawyers hired by the Catholic Children's Aid Society in Toronto for him to remain Canada on compassionate grounds, was automatically deported.

Also see

Here, revisited

Take a look at our collection of Deportation Cases.

So far, the cases featured are limited in the sense that they feature only those adopted by Americans.  Clearly, the deportation of adoptees is a problem/issue that goes beyond the USA borders.


After 22 years in Canada, orphan ordered back home

Nice letter in response to the case described in the first post

Orphans treated so differently
Jul 26, 2009 04:30 AM

Two reports in Wednesday's Greater Toronto section provide an interesting perspective on our values.

Page 1 tells a sad tale of Fatima Desrosiers, a single mother awaiting deportation to a country she has no ties to after being in Canada for 22 years. As a victim of a flawed adoption system, her life is truly tragic. An orphan, she was a ward of the Crown from the age of 12. She was bounced from foster homes to group homes, she is illiterate and has lived in at least 27 different homes. No one bothered to register her as a permanent resident so our immigration officials are working on her deportation to Brazil.

Page 8 has a heartwarming story of Wiggles, an orphaned pig. This more fortunate orphan was offered a home by no less than 40 sanctuaries and individuals after undergoing knee and leg surgery. The Humane Society shortlisted 12 sanctuaries before selecting one that would provide the best home.

We seem to place significantly greater value on the life of an orphaned piglet than that of a human victim of uncaring adoption and child care agencies.

Juanita Lobo, Oakville

Not Orphaned

Fatima (AKA: Tina) I my sister. Not by blood but we did grow up together. I am her Canadian sister. If I had the money to bring her back I would. She tryed to live a good life. I miss her much.

Pound Pup Legacy