What You Need to Know About Adoption and Maternity Leave

by | Apr 3, 2020 | Birth Parent Blog

Pregnant employee choosing adoption wondering about maternity leave and adoptionChoosing adoption for your baby can be an exhausting process — emotionally, mentally, and physically. Like other new mothers, you deserve time to recover from your delivery and the adoption processes.

You might be wondering if you’re allowed to take maternity leave if you plan on placing your baby for adoption. You are already going through a difficult ordeal that impacts you emotionally and physically, and you need time to recover after you give birth. 

Are you unsure if you should take maternity leave in the coming months? This guide will help you look at your options.

You Can Take Maternity Leave

Choosing adoption does not mean you have any less right to take maternity leave than anybody else. You are recovering physically and emotionally from childbirth just as much as any other mother. Your body has been working hard for nine months to nurture a baby, and now it needs to recover from all that hard work.

Placing your baby for adoption does not eliminate your ability to take maternity leave. The Family Medical Leave Act, also known as FMLA, protects your right to unpaid leave, even if you do not plan to parent.

Your employer will need to meet specific requirements to be eligible for FMLA. For example, you must have worked at your job for at least one year, and you also need to have worked 1,250 hours during that time. Additionally, companies only have to allow FMLA leave if they have at least 50 employees. Many employers do not fall into this group.

If your employer does not fall under the umbrella of FMLA guidelines and you are unable to take maternity leave, you may decide to quit your job with the intent of getting another job after recovery. In some cases, an employer will hold your job for you if you are clear about your goals ahead of time. Every case is different.

How to Take Maternity Leave After Adoption

If you plan to take maternity leave, you should speak with your employer early on. You need to know your employer’s policies as soon as possible so you can plan ahead. You might feel awkward talking about your wishes with your employer, but it is an important conversation to have. You may discover that there are more benefits available to you than you thought, or you may find that you need to search for a new job.

If you feel unsure about your eligibility for FMLA, you should schedule a meeting with HR to discuss your situation. You should come in with a request for a specific length of time. It’s always a good idea to put this request in writing.

Maternity Leave Gives You Time to Recover

Maternity leave typically allows at least six weeks of recovery for women who undergo a regular vaginal delivery, and you may receive about eight weeks if you have a typical C-section procedure. Of course, you have the power to decide when you want to return. Some women return to work quite quickly because they feel perfectly fine.

After you place your baby with his or her adoptive parents, you’ll also have some emotional factors to consider. You may need to take some time off to cope. The way you feel after giving birth and placing your child can be unpredictable, and you may want to take some time for yourself. During this time, you might need to talk to a counselor or attend therapy services.

Should You Take Maternity Leave After Adoption?

If you want to take maternity leave after adoption, you are not alone. In fact, it might be the best thing you do for your body and mind. Every woman is different and experiences postpartum recovery differently.

In some cases, you might not be able to take maternity leave for long because of financial reasons. FMLA requires unpaid leave, which means your employer does not have to pay you during the time you are recovering. If you are not eligible for maternity leave or cannot take it, you should talk with your Adoption Coordinator at Lifetime. You can learn more about costs that could be covered for you, which include medical bills and possibly some extra living expenses. You may even be able to receive assistance for the time you have to spend recovering and not working.

Giving birth is stressful, and you may be worried about the financial difficulties you may face. You have the right to recover from your adoption process in whichever way you see fit. Make sure to speak with your Adoption Coordinator for more advice on what is best for you.

Lifetime Adoption is just a phone call or text message away,
at 1-800-923-6784.

Call or text Lifetime anytime, even right now!


Heather Featherston

Written by Heather Featherston

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.

Read more about Heather Featherston

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