Monday, August 9, 2010

Adoption Benefits (yeah right!)

So, I just read a post by J about how her school is NOT giving her a maternity leave because she is adopting (instead of giving birth). It fired me up and reminded me of the LACK of resources I get at my agency because I'm adopting and not giving birth to my child. I feel the need to let the world know about this incredible injustice.

So, first of all, I went through infertility. I was BANNED from the world of getting pregnant easily, seeing the 2 lines, then going on to a have a cute, happy pregnancy, then having my beautiful child 9 months later. That was not happening for me. So, we moved on to adoption. And we couldn't be happier with that decision! Our baby girl is coming home to us soon, and we both know she is meant for our family...even though she is coming at the least convenient time ever:). We STILL know she is our daughter, and we love her already. We'll have to teach her about timing when she gets a little!

That said, I do NOT get two thirds of my pay for 6 weeks like EVERY other new (birth) mommy at my agency gets. How do they get away with that you ask? Well, my agency only *technically* offers unpaid maternity leave. However, they provide (and pay for) short term disability benefits, and every mom who gives birth qualifies. Therefore, they get two thirds of their pay for 6 weeks (maybe 12, I'm not sure?). When I brought this up to HR, stating that I could not access that benefit because I am not giving birth to my child, they didn't seem too concerned. They are *technically* providing the same benefit to all parents - we just can't ACCESS the benefits the same way.

So, I kindly suggested they consider offering adoption stipends, or something like that, for adopting families (MANY companies do this). HR then told me they don't offer stipends to help all the birthmoms with birth expenses, so why would they offer stipends to adoptive parents? My response to that offer HEALTH BENEFITS that pay for birth expenses! So, I get a bill the size of a house (WELL worth it, mind you), and my agency can't seem to figure out why I might need extra support, too! I should mention I work for a non-profit agency that serves children and families....interesting, huh? I will say this once (for now): Adoptive families are unique. We face unique challenges, and unique gifts. Therefore, benefits and services should be considered that address our unique situation.

I can't go on and on about this because it gets me so worked up and I can't be worked up right now. Let me just say that it IS an injustice, it is unfair, and it should not be tolerated. But, hey, everything they are doing is *technically* what can I do?

If you are interested in learning about how to get adoption benefits through your company/agency, please go to:

There are great kits at that site. I sent it along to my HR rep. No, I'm not holding my breath.


  1. Oh, well this is awful! I have been home with my kids for so long that I admit I was totally unaware of this practice in the workplace. Maybe you are the one to start the ball rolling for change. :)

  2. Thank you so much for posting that link, Faith! This was a very sensitive issue for me when River was born and I'm glad to know that there is a movement towards making things more fair for adoptive parents.

    I am so sorry to hear that your friend isn't even getting unpaid maternity leave. That makes me want to use many four letter words (especially the mother of them all!) when I think about it. Unfortunately, I'm not entirely surprised. My company offers unpaid maternity and I was floored when everyone I spoke to about it acted like I should be eternally greatful that they were so incredibly kind and generous (said dripping with sarcasm) to "allow" me that.

    I am going to send the info on to my company but it is a large international firm so I'm REALLY not holding my breath!


  3. the company I just left offered us supplimental insurance for giving birth. I took it, not knowing what was going to happen this year. as it turns out, I wont need it, but they offer not a thing for adopting families. My husband works for a huge company that provides pretty good benefits. except that they dont provide any insurance plan that does any sort of fertility treatment, even the PPO on offer, and they dont provide any sort of adoption benefit like most employers of their size.

    Im hoping the tax credit can ease your financial burden a bit. shame shame shame on your employer for enabling women who give birth to have a little financial break and doing nothing for you. it makes me see red, and I think you are much more composed about it than I would be. good for you for mentioning it to HR.

    so excited for your family, thinking of you. xxxxx

  4. I read this same post and just can't believe how terrible this is!! I am so fortunate to work for a school district that allows me the same leave as mothers who give birth. The only down side is that I do have a short term disability package I pay for myself that would cover 80% of my maternity leave if I gave birth. But, since I'm not going to give birth, I won't be able to access that. So we are saving for my maternity leave now.

  5. Faith - I am dealing with the same thing! My law firm ( a LAW firm) offers 12 weeks paid maternity leave...but not for adoption. Even though the LEGAL defintion of maternity is "the process of becoming a mother"....Congrats on your beautiful addition...much love to all...