TORONTO (Sun Media) - Single mom Hong Zhang and her baby daughter Sherry are all smiles today after being temporarily spared from being deported to China.
"It feels great and I am so happy," Zhang, 39, said yesterday, the day after her immigration consultant, Roy Kellogg, received a deferral of her removal from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
"All my dreams and prayers have come true."
The mom's plight was featured in the Toronto Sun in April after Peel Children's Aid refused to take 13-month-old Sherry when Zhang was deported to her native China.
If sent to China -- where laws ban children out of wedlock -- Sherry would have been treated as a second-class citizen. She wouldn't get health coverage, be allowed to attend school or obtain Chinese citizenship.
Zhang would also face a $140,000 fine for returning to China with a child, Kellogg said.
This so outraged Sun readers that Kellogg and the Sun were inundated with 2,200 phone calls, faxes and e-mails from people wanting to help Zhang and Sherry.
Kellogg said more than 20 men proposed marriage to Zhang to sponsor her to Canada.
"There were literally hundreds of people who wanted to adopt Sherry," Kellogg said yesterday. "The calls and e-mails from people have been non-stop."
An ecstatic Chief Zane Bell, of the Algonquin Woodland Metis Aboriginal Tribe, said he's travelled to Toronto several times in a bid by his tribe to sponsor or adopt the family.
"I am very pleased they can stay"' Bell said yesterday. "The girl is Canadian and they should never attempt to deport this family."
CBSA spokesman Anna Pape said she couldn't comment on the case yesterday due to privacy concerns.
But Kellogg said Zhang's deportation was deferred until her humanitarian and compassionate case can be heard, and that can take up to three years.
However that doesn't mean she won't eventually be deported.
Since coming to Canada in 1997, Zhang has filed an unsuccessful refugee claim and appeals. She also gave birth to Sherry, who is a Canadian citizen.
For now she plans on going back to work to her last job as a chicken deboner.
"Even Sherry seems to be happier now that we are not going back to China," she said.