Adoption is a life-changing journey that brings joy and fulfillment to countless families. In the United States, adoption is one pathway couples can take to welcome a child into their lives. Coupled with adoption benefits from your workplace, adopting a baby becomes an even more accessible and financially feasible option.
Employer-provided adoption benefits may be more than a growing trend, especially as more and more couples seek to grow their family through open adoption. Employers who provide parental leave and other benefits for new parents may extend these benefits to those seeking to become parents through adoption.
You may discover that your workplace offers more help than you initially thought. These benefits can make adoption much more financially manageable. This article will explore how workplace adoption benefits can support you in this transformative process.
Adoption Benefits from Your Workplace
Many companies recognize the significance of adoption and offer adoption benefits as part of their employee assistance programs. These benefits can help alleviate the financial burden associated with adoption and provide essential support.
Here are some common types of adoption benefits that employers may offer:
1. Financial Assistance: Some employers provide reimbursement for adoption-related expenses, such as agency fees, legal fees, home studies, and travel expenses. This financial support can significantly reduce the financial strain associated with private adoption.
Reimbursement plans can cover a significant portion of adoption-related expenses, and employers may be inclined to pay more in special circumstances. They may cover agency fees, court costs, medical costs, and financial help for your child’s birth mother.
Before you adopt, check with your employer to see when adoption benefits will kick in. Some payments are reimbursed after you pay for them, while others kick in when the adoption is finalized. Having this knowledge ahead of time could prevent you from having to take out a loan to cover your adoption fees.
You could also use work perks to ease the cost of adoption. For example, discounts on hotels, restaurants, and plane tickets could help defray your adoption travel costs.
2. Educational Resources
Educational resources are often the first stop for employees who make use of their adoption benefits. These resources include referrals to licensed adoption agencies and support groups for parents considering adoption or dealing with the transition it may bring. Employers may also connect you with an adoption specialist to answer your questions about the process.
Additionally, employers may help those dealing with difficult adoption situations or special needs adoptions. They can also point you toward organizations and therapists that offer more support.
3. Paid Leave
Companies may offer paid leave to employees who are adopting a child, allowing them the necessary time to bond with their new family member and adjust to the changes. Paid time off can be particularly helpful when adopting an infant or a young child who may require additional care and attention during the initial stages.
4. Counseling and Support Services
Adoption can be an emotionally challenging process. Some employers offer access to counseling services or support groups to help employees navigate the emotional aspects of adoption and address any concerns or anxieties that may arise during the process.
5. Flexible Work Arrangements
Employers may provide flexible work arrangements, such as reduced working hours or telecommuting options, to accommodate the needs of employees going through the adoption process. This flexibility allows adoptive parents to attend adoption-related appointments, home study interviews, court hearings, or other necessary engagements.
What Advantages Do Adoption Benefits Offer?
Adoption benefits offered through employers make adoption attainable to hopeful parents. For example, financial resources can help couples who struggle to come up with the funds to pay a birth mother’s medical bills. While these expenses could be covered by health insurance if the employee was the one pregnant, adoption benefits step in to cover the birth mother’s health expenses.
It’s entirely possible that you would be unable to follow through with adoption without financial assistance, but what about the time off? Adoption benefits offered through employers may give you the time you need to adjust to life with a new baby or child.
As Rita Soronen, President and CEO of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, says, “It is vital for adoptive parents to spend time with their children to bond and develop trust. Employers who offer adoption benefits understand that the initial needs of adoptive families are no different than families formed biologically. And family-friendly work environments create strong and loyal workforces.”
Navigating the Benefits Process
The best way to learn about employer adoption benefits in your workplace is to speak with Human Resources. You may discover that your workplace offers more than you initially thought. These benefits can make adoption much more manageable for a family with limited resources!
When should you talk to your employer about these benefits, and how should you go about it? This article shares tips on approaching your employer to inquire about these benefits: How to Ask Your Employer About Adoption Benefits.
To take advantage of your workplace adoption benefits, begin by familiarizing yourself with your company’s policies and procedures. Reach out to your HR department or consult your employee handbook to understand the specific benefits available to you.
Once you have a clear understanding of your adoption benefits, work closely with your adoption agency or attorney to ensure that you meet all the necessary requirements and documentation. Keep track of your expenses and maintain proper records, as you may need to provide documentation when seeking reimbursement.
What If My Employer Doesn’t Offer Adoption Benefits?
If you ask your employer’s Human Resources Department about adoption benefits, you may discover that your workplace offers no assistance. Unfortunately, many companies have not caught on to the benefits associated with adoption benefits in the workplace. If your company doesn’t provide adoption benefits, you can encourage them to start such a program by contacting the Dave Thomas Foundation about their Adoption-Friendly Workplace program. Their mission is to make adoption an affordable option for every employed adoptive parent. Just visit the Dave Thomas Foundation website or call 1-800-275-3832.
You may be able to persuade your employer to consider adoption benefits because so few people ever actually use them. Your employer may spend less money than they think they will, but employees can still reap the benefits.
Offering adoption benefits provides many advantages to companies. For one, the company displays a sense of social responsibility. They show that they care about their employees and want to do what is best for their community. Additionally, employer adoption benefits make employees happier. Improved employee morale can increase employee efficiency and attendance.
Adoption Benefits and You
Adoption benefits offered by your workplace can significantly alleviate the financial burden of private adoption in the United States. They can make all the difference as you add a new member to your family!
By tapping into these resources, you can embark on your adoption journey with greater peace of mind, knowing that your employer supports and values your decision to grow your family through adoption. Remember to explore your workplace adoption benefits, understand the process, and seek guidance from adoption professionals to make the most of this transformative experience.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on January 28, 2020, and has since been updated.
As Vice President of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.
Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.
As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.