Ammar and Tara arrived in the United States in 2014 through the US Special Immigrant Visa program for Iraqis who have been persecuted because of their employment with Western humanitarian and development agencies.
As we celebrated the one-year anniversary of their arrival to the US a few years ago, Ammar shared his concern for his younger brother, Mustafa, who he described to be like a son due to their age difference of 12 years. He was a refugee in Turkey.
Ammar and Tara knew of a refugee sponsorship program that they thought might be a pathway for Mustafa, to resettle in Canada. To be considered, Mustafa would need family members or a group of people in Canada willing to sponsor his resettlement. Ammar and Mustafa have an aunt and cousin in Toronto. I connected them with the director of Christie Welcome Center in Toronto, an organization that facilitates such sponsorships.
Over the next two and a half years, every time I saw Ammar and Tara I would hear of a step in the communication and application process. Every time we spoke, Ammar would thank me for what I did. I would always say, “We know don’t what will happen; there are no guarantees.” Ammar would smile at my response and say, “I know, but you gave me hope.”
Fast forward two and half years to April 2018, when I received a phone call from Tara informing me that Ammar’s brother, Mustafa, had been approved for refugee sponsorship to Canada! We celebrated together over an Iraqi meal as Ammar and Tara began making plans to travel with their two young daughters to meet Mustafa at the Toronto airport.
He arrived in Toronto June 7! It was a joy for me to join them in Toronto a couple days after Mustafa's arrival to celebrate this wonderful family reunion together.
Many times, we undertake what seems a small action, like making a phone call or sending an email, without knowing what the outcome may or may not be. Often it fizzles with little or no result. But sometimes something miraculous, life-giving and hope-inspiring like this happens.