Visa mix-up keeping newborn and mum overseas

Beech Forest’s Nicholas Andrew, 6, has been separated from his mother and new baby brother for over two months.

Alleged misinformation from the Australian Home Affairs Department has stranded a Beech Forest woman and her newborn child overseas.

John Andrew’s wife Zhanar, a Kazakh national with Australian permanent residency, travelled from the couple’s Beech Forest home to Kazakhstan in July to assist with the delivery of their son Tomas, through surrogacy.

John said the couple have an older son Nicholas, who was also born in Kazakhstan, and wanted to complete their family by having another child.

He said they explored the option of surrogacy in Zhanar’s home country because they were unable to conceive themselves and their attempts at IVF had failed.

“My wife couldn’t have any more children and we had already had one child, and we felt it was unsatisfactory to have a family with one child, a little Lord Fauntleroy as they say,” he said.

“We went to Kazakhstan and did IVF after Nicholas was born, and that failed, but we really wanted to have another child, so we decided to take the surrogate avenue.

“My wife is a doctor herself; she understands the medical process and she understands the language, and she understands everything you need to know about the procedure, she understands sickness, she understands the lot.

“So it was good for her (to pursue surrogacy in Kazakhstan) because it’s in her culture, she can understand all the nuances.”

But John said his family’s joy of welcoming Tomas into the world in August quickly made way for panic in September, when the couple’s visa application to bring their new son home was declined.

John said he contacted Australia’s Home Affairs department to seek guidance on what visa he should apply for for Tomas, informing the department that he intended to bring Tomas, his biological son, to Australia and apply for citizenship by descent.

See Wednesday’s Colac Herald for more.

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