A military transport should soon be taking off from Haiti to bring 109 orphans from La Maison des Enfants de Dieu orphanage, including 6-year-old Sophia Luc and 1-year-old David Valdeus.
Xavier University is known for its extended family and its caring atmosphere. The efforts of a great many members of that family, as well as many others, have resulted in the transport of Sophia and David from a Port-Au-Prince orphanage to the loving adoptive home of Chris and Lauri Pramuk, their son Isaiah and daughter Grace.
Chris Pramuk is an assistant professor in Xavier’s department of theology. Lauri is a pediatrician with Group Health Associates. For over a year, they have been in the process of adopting Sophia and Henry David. Recalling a casual conversation last year about the adoption, Rabbi Abie Ingber, founder of Xavier’s office of Interfaith Community Engagement, called to check on the children after hearing about last Tuesday’s earthquake. Offering to do whatever he could, Ingber was instantly drawn into the effort to get those two children and others already in the process of adoption out of Haiti as quickly as possible. The process often takes as long as five years.
“Having just witnessed the poverty and need in Jamaica, the tragedy in Haiti hit very close to home,” says Ingber. “I immediately thought of Chris and Lauri with pictures of their new ‘babies’ already on their fridge door. They had shared their escalating joy at a hoped-for February trip to bring them home. When I heard about the earthquake, I contacted them and offered to do anything, adding that I believe in miracles. The rest unfolded through the goodness and kindness and prayers and compassion of others.”
Many people at Xavier, in government relations, university relations, community relations, faculty, and ministry, as well as alumni, stepped forward to assist in whatever way they could. Students, faculty members and staff have been donating funds to help with rescue and rebuilding of Haiti. Tonight’s basketball game will have Hoops for Haiti. Gary Massa, Xavier's vice president of university relations reached out to donors, who made amazing offers of assistance. Congressman Steve Driehaus (D-OH), a co-founder of Xavier’s Community Building Institute, and his staff have worked to establish opportunities for saving the orphans. For Sophia and David, it has truly taken a village.
“I am always amazed by the caring and generosity of the Xavier family,” Massa says. “Our community, both those currently with the University and our alumni, time after time pulls together in support of those who need it.”
After a rollercoaster week-and-a-half, the Xavier family is very excited about welcoming its two newest members and helping them come to love the community, the city and their new home country.