Did you know that many employers offer adoption benefits? Employer adoption benefits may be more than a growing trend, especially as more families seek to grow through open adoption. Employers who provide parental leave and other benefits for new parents may extend these benefits to those who are seeking to become parents through adoption.
The best way to learn about employer adoption benefits in your workplace is to speak with somebody in Human Resources. You may discover that your workplace has more benefits than you initially thought. These benefits can make adoption much more manageable for a family with limited resources!
What Advantages Do Adoption Benefits Offer?
Adoption benefits offered through employers not only make adoption more accessible, but they often make adoption possible. The financial resources can help families that struggle to come up with the expenses associated with paying a birth mother’s medical bills, for example. 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.
What Do Adoption Benefits Include?
Generally, adoption benefits are similar to those offered to other new parents. Employers who offer these benefits understand the needs of new parents trying to provide for their children. They also understand that different types of adoption require more resources. Whether you are planning for domestic adoption, international adoption, or foster care adoption, you face a unique set of challenges. Here’s how employers might try to help:
Information resources are often the first stop for employees who make use of employer 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. Additionally, employers may provide help for people who are dealing with difficult adoption situations or special needs adoptions. They can also point you toward organizations and therapists that offer more support.
Some employers may offer financial assistance, sometimes in the form of payments that individuals can use for the adoption process. The employer may cover some of the associated adoption fees and related expenses, perhaps for travel to pick up the child.
Reimbursement plans can cover a significant portion of adoption-related expenses, and in special circumstances, employers may be inclined to pay more. They may cover agency fees, court costs, medical costs, and pregnancy costs for the birth mother.
Before you adopt, it is important that you 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. This could prevent you from having to take out a loan to cover your adoption fees.
Some employers must give parental leave to adoptive parents. According to federal law, this leave can be unpaid for up to 12 weeks. In some cases, new parents are allowed to use accumulated paid leave as well. Some workplaces even offer paid leave, though it is not a requirement. Ask Human Resources about parental leave for those who adopt to make travel plans and other arrangements in the first weeks of adoption. This resource is available for men and women who adopt.
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 does not offer any assistance. Unfortunately, many companies have not caught on to the benefits associated with adoption benefits in the workplace. If your company doesn’t offer employee adoption benefits, you can encourage them to start such a program by reaching out to 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 their site at AdoptionFriendlyWorkplace.org or call them at 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 not spend as much money as they think they will, but employees can still reap the benefits.
Offering adoption benefits provide many advantages to companies. For one, the company displays a sense of social responsibility. They show that they care about their employees and also 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.
Affording adoption can be a challenge for many. Adoption benefits from your employer can make all the difference as you add a new member to your family!
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…”
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.