A father is flying to London to bring his baby home to Canberra after a seven-month bureaucratic delay in giving the new-born a passport.
Tim Hogan will leave Canberra on Monday afternoon after he was told a passport had finally been granted to little Ava, nearly seven months after she was born to a surrogate mother.
Baby Ava and her mother Allena Hogan were stuck in Britain, waiting to come home to Downer in the ACT.
Ava was born on October 22 to a surrogate mother abroad, but she needed a passport to enter Australia. She was given Australian citizenship but not the passport.
Her father, Tim Hogan, was delighted his nightmare was over. "I'm looking forward to being reacquainted with Ava and my wife. We are looking forward to finally settling into life in Australia," he said.
He and his wife were locked in a battle with the Australian authorities, trying to convince them that their daughter really did have the right to live in Australia with them.
The Immigration Department investigated the unusual circumstances because the biological surrogate mother who bore Ava was Mrs Hogan's cousin in Jamaica.
It's important that other people don't have to go through this. I don't want other people to have to endure a bureaucratic nightmare.Tim Hogan
Mr Hogan felt the delay was far too long. He did not criticise the officials involved but did criticise the elected politicians who hadn't helped.
"It's more about the process. There's a lack of compassion from the elected members," he said.
Mr Hogan and his wife met in London nearly 20 years ago. He was an Australian working there and she was a British citizen of Jamaican descent.
He said they bumped into each other as strangers on the street. Their eyes met and they fell in love.
"I was walking out for lunch. We smiled and we went from there," Mr Hogan said.
They got married and made their home in Australia and tried repeatedly to have children.
Having failed repeatedly, Allena's cousin in Jamaica agreed to come to Canberra and be the surrogate mother - his sperm and her egg, using the "turkey-baster" method. She then returned to Jamaica.
When the cousin was about to give birth to the baby, Mr and Mrs Hogan flew straight to Jamaica, arriving the day after the birth to greet their daughter.
And then bureaucracy kicked in.
The authorities insisted on a DNA test which was done and confirmed the parentage.
Mr Hogan engaged in a long correspondence with the Immigration Department which asked him detailed questions about the method of conception.
Ava was eventually granted "citizenship by descent" on April 5 but a passport didn't automatically follow.
Mrs Hogan has family in London with whom she and Ava have been staying. Mr Hogan will now join them and the three will return to Australia in a few weeks.
Mr Hogan hasn't seen his wife and child since December 24 when he returned to Canberra where he works as a town planner.
"It's important that other people don't have to go through this," he said.
"I don't want other people to have to endure a bureaucratic nightmare."
He praised the Department of Foreign Affairs in Canberra - but he laid the blame for the situation squarely at the feet of the Immigration Department.
"I couldn't engage with anyone working on the case," he said.
"I just had to sit and wait.
"It's nothing against the staff. They're probably doing their best in difficult circumstances.
"I don't think the staffing is resourced enough to cope."