A Kitchener woman says she is fighting to keep her family together, but she’s running out of time and options.

Lisa Nowack first met Jheyson Escobar Baraona at a Bolivian orphanage that Nowack was volunteering at in 2006. He was just seven at the time.

“I felt like I was safe with her more than in the orphanage,” Baraona explains.

Nowack would go on to become the boy’s guardian, unable to officially adopt him because of what she says are Bolivian protocols.

For 11 years, he has been part of her family along with four other kids. He is here on a visitor’s visa, which Nowack says was her only option because the Canadian government does not recognize guardianship.

In a statement, however, Immigration Canada says that Baraona had "obtained several visitor records to enable his adoptive parents to finalize his adoption."

A lapse in his visa led to concerns from the government. According to Immigration Canada, his last visitor record expired on Sept. 24, 2014, which the organization says was the validity date of his passport.

"His passport and visitor record expired on September 24, 2014, and he has remained in Canada without status," reads a media relations statement in part.

When Nowack applied for a temporary resident permit for Baraona, she says she was denied.

“Whether I birthed him or not, he is my child and no country is going to take him,” Nowack says.

A letter from Immigration Canada addressed to Baraona reads in part, “You MUST leave Canada immediately. If you do not leave Canada voluntarily, enforcement action may be taken against you.”

In the meantime, Nowack says she is working on a last ditch effort for him to stay under humanitarian and compassionate grounds, an official plea to the organization.

She says she is working on the application with her lawyer.

It’s a lengthy process—according to the government’s website, it can take more than 30 months. If approved, Baraona would be eligible for permanent residency.