Wednesday, June 29, 2011

adoption in the workplace

I've been thinking a lot about how adoption is treated in the workplace. Obviously there is variability just as there is variability in how employers respond to finding out someone is pregnant. But my job title is changing classifications at my employer (not just me-everyone with my job title) and that affects the benefits we are entitled to. And that's got me thinking about the differences between benefits available to adoptive moms and benefits available to biological parents.

I should start out by saying that my employer does offer some adoption benefits. They will reimburse some qualified adoption expenses after finalization. And most of their policies are explicit about treating adoption and giving birth equally. So they are trying. But when you look at the details, there are some structural differences that make it harder for adoptive parents.

For example, because of the change in my classification, I am losing 20 days of paid parental leave. This is a big blow, obviously. I can take unpaid leave, but 4 weeks of pay is nice a chunk of change that it would be great to have. The unpaid leave is basically FMLA leave and it adheres to those rules. That's a federal law that allows up to 12 weeks unpaid leave for family or medical reasons, for my international readers. The loss in paid parental leave applies to both birth and adoption but women who give birth have more options for getting other forms of paid leave. If I was pregnant and giving birth to a child, I could use any accrued sick days since that counts as a medical condition for myself. But since we are adopting, I can't use any sick days to care for a newborn child.

Likewise with disability insurance. While I disagree with the idea that being pregnant or having recently given birth makes someone disabled, the fact is you can claim short term disability benefits if you are pregnant or have recently given birth. Not so if you are adopting.

So I don't have any options for getting a paid leave. Other than using any vacation days I have, but since we are not allowed to carry over vacation days from one to the next, there's not that many available to use. And since we can't use vacation days that we haven't yet accrued, if we get a placement in January, we would be completely screwed b/c I would not have had time to accrue any vacation yet.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

First situation

We have our first situation that we are inquiring into. It is still to early to know anything, and maybe it is already taken. This is coming not from our agency but a national agency that publicizes situations where they can't find a match from among their couples. I'm not too optimistic this will lead to something, but also nervous. One thing that is intriguing me is that the due date is my birthday. The situation doesn't seem that problematic, so I wonder why they can't find a match for it. But we will see once we get more information.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Getting ready

OK, now I am moving into a new stage of overwhelming-ness (not a word, but it is what I feel). I had coffee with a friend today who has many friends in the medical field. She told me how she is sending our profile to all these people she thinks could be helpful (nurses, etc). And one friend in our area who also adopted and had a match in only two weeks through a lawyer. So she is putting me in touch with her. I left thinking how great this friend is, even though to be honest we only met recently so don't know each other that well. But I also left thinking, "wow, I might actually have a baby soon." And the whole freakout commenced with me thinking I need to start getting ready. Plus we had lunch with my in-laws on Sunday for father's day and my mother in law is bursting at the seams to buy us nursery furniture. Our plan is to buy things as we wait but give them to my in-laws to store until we need them so we don't have all these baby things in our house as reminders.

So I took a little tour around a baby store site today and left not even knowing which way to go. Bassinets, cradles, and co-sleepers, oh my! Any advice out there? What did you do for the baby's first 6 months? I am a total liberal, crunchy, yuppie and it seems all my friends who fit that are into co-sleeping. But everything I read about co-sleeping says it goes along with breastfeeding and we are not doing that. The co-sleepers I see online really just seem to be bassinets that you place next to the bed. Not exactly revolutionary in my mind. And we have a very high bed so it might not work with our bed anyway.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I don't have much to report other than we are slowly working on our networking and trying to get our profile information out there. is a great source and we are developing our presence. Pretty much everyone we know now has a copy of our profile, so hopefully people will file it away in case they ever hear of something.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Our profile website

Dear friends,
Please take a moment to look at the profile website we created. Share it with anyone you may know who is considering adoption or has a job in which they may come into contact with women who may be considering adoption.

Also, any constructive criticism is welcome if you want to leave it here!


Monday, June 13, 2011

Both of them

I knew it as soon as I saw the text from my sister. I didn't need to read the text to know what the "news" was that she mentioned. The phone call from my brother was a little harder to read. I did just send him the video I filmed at his wedding. Maybe he was calling about that. And he did have a question about that. But then he mentioned our sister's text. And I knew there was more to the story. My brand new sister in law is pregnant as well. Both of them. Two weeks apart. They can share the whole process. Cousins to grow up together. Why can't that be me?

My other brother had a hard time at our youngest brother's wedding. It can be difficult to be the only sibling not married. I tried to make him feel better but didn't want to make myself too vulnerable in the process. But I know this is how he felt on that day.

**Updated to add: Now I need to take back anything bad I've ever said about my stepmom. She called this evening to see how I was feeling and let me know that her and my dad know this can be hard for me. I can't tell you how much I appreciated that phone call.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Profile approved

I finally got our profile in and it meets all their requirements. I thought I would be more excited about that, but with all the stress over it, I am just glad it is done. Next on our list is to figure out what other type of networking things we should do. Does anyone have any thoughts or experiences with the business cards? I can see how this would be great to give to people we know, but then it also seems a bit awkward to be handing out cards like this.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Profile drama continues

Yet more profile drama. As I said before, our agency is very specific about what they want. Pages must be 8.5x11". Every page must have a sheet protector. It must fit in a 9x12" envelope. Can't be bound. It must have two 2-page birthparent letters (one from each of us), two 2-page forms that describe our personality and interests, a 1-page sheet that has basic information about us, and 4 pages of pictures. I put all this together and end up with an 18 page profile printed out on standard letter size paper. It would be 9 pages with pages inserted front to back as if they were double-sided. I buy standard sheet protectors. I found three report covers that did not look too cheap. Two of them added slightly more height and width so I go with the smallest one.

I'm following all the directions, right? But I end up with a big mess. The small report cover has that flip-style enclosure and is too small to fit the 9 pages of sheet protectors and the middle ones fall out. The sheet protectors, by the way, stick out from the report cover because the edge added for the rings makes it slightly wider and thus too wide to fit into a 9x12 envelope. Their rules are impossible to follow. This is so aggravating.

Catching up

Sorry dear friends for being MIA. My baby brother had to go and get married which forced me to go on vacation. It was a great trip and good to see my younger siblings. We are printing out our profile today and finalizing our preference form to deliver these to the agency on Monday. Then we will officially be on the waiting list. Next on my to-do list is create a short profile that we can send out more widely to find a placement independently. I have a list of good suggestions, but any others that you would recommend would be greatly appreciated. If anyone has any advice on what to do once we get a call, that would be appreciated as well. Our agency gave us a list of red flags but it does not have much guidance about how we should actually approach a conversation with a potential birthmother. Thoughts?
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