Facilitating a Haitian Adoption for the Menke Family
When an earthquake devastated Haiti in January, Patrick and Bridget Menke of West St. Paul felt the tremors deeply. The couple was in the process of adopting Roxanne, a 6-year-old Haitian orphan who was living near Port-au-Prince when the quake hit.
Worried about Roxanne's safety and the fact that the Haitian government had suspended all adoptions in the aftermath of the disaster, the couple called Senator Franken for help and he met with them in his St. Paul office soon afterward.
They told him that Roxanne was sleeping in a tent, with very little clean water with the threat of malaria and other diseases all around. The disaster knocked out much of the country's communication systems, crippling the Haitian government's ability to process adoptions. They also were very concerned that Roxanne's paperwork would be lost because of the extent of the devastation.
For the next several weeks, Senator Franken and his staff spent hours working with the Menke's and the many federal government agencies involved in the complicated foreign adoption process. In February, the weeks of effort finally paid off when the couple got word from the U.S. Embassy in Haiti that the process was complete and that Roxanne had permission to join them in the United States.