By Tom Ford

A slice of Sophie Engels' birthday cake has been kept in the freezer of her family's Tyler, Minn., home since she turned 9 in October.

It's being saved for her father, John, a major in the Minnesota National Guard who has been in Iraq since July and is expected to return to Minnesota this summer.

Yet however joyful his homecoming will be, his wife fears that it will be stunted by the immediate work and long hours he will have to put in trying to keep alive the two-person law practice he left behind.

"There's this cloud over [his return]," said Amanda Engels, who noted that she and her husband had to sell their house to help keep the law practice in business.

Their financial and emotional struggles, shared by many other families of overseas Guard members and Reservists, are ones that Sen. Amy Klobuchar hopes to alleviate.

Among the proposals that she announced her support for on Sunday is legislation to provide more money for services for children and parents, such as parenting classes, as well as a bill that would offer tax breaks to employers who hire returning soldiers or assure that current employees are compensated while they are deployed.

Klobuchar also said she will seek $4.5 million in federal funding to support the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program.