U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen offers helps with Haitian adoptions
By LARRY BIVINS
January 19, 2010
Press-Gazette Washington Bureau [email protected]
WASHINGTON — Just when it seemed Kat and Mike Meissner had broken through the remaining strands of red tape in their efforts to adopt a 10-year-old Haitian girl, a massive earthquake came along to rattle their optimism.
Now the Coleman couple is hoping U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen, D-Appleton, can help them secure the evacuation of MaryLynn from the All God’s Children orphanage in Carrefour, the epicenter of the 7.0 earthquake that struck on Jan. 12 and has taken tens of thousands of lives.
"Hopefully, he can get to the right people and be convincing enough to make them move forward," Kat Meissner said Monday.
In a Jan. 15 letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Kagen said last week’s catastrophic earthquake in Haiti has further complicated what had already become a frustrating experience for many families.
"A number of families in my district received heartbreaking news that as a consequence of the earthquake in Haiti, the arrival of the children these families have adopted may be seriously delayed," Kagen wrote.
Kagen, whose office has been contacted by four families in his district seeking help, pointed out that many families are in the same predicament because of a disruption the earthquake has caused to immigration paperwork.
Kagen called on Clinton and Napolitano to "rapidly eliminate obstructions to the adoption process and place a high priority on evacuating the adoptees."
Kat Meissner said she and her husband began their adoption process three years ago and were looking to wrap it up within 90 days. She said the process had been prolonged by difficulties in getting the child’s birth certificate and the necessary approvals.
"It’s been a long ordeal," Meissner said with a sound of exasperation.
Meissner said she didn’t know if MaryLynn was still alive until 2 a.m. Thursday when they heard from a contact with an organization called Haitian Helping Haitian.
She said they have been unable to reach their attorney in Haiti handling the case.
The latest news has left the couple more optimistic that they soon will be united with their adopted child.