Monday, March 14, 2011

Moolah Monday - Adoption Leave

With the pending arrival of the new baby that may or may not arrive in our home, we've found ourselves with a financial dilemma I couldn't have predicted.  I'm confident that if this all does work out so that we have a new baby in 4 months that God could and did predict the financial situation so it will all work out fine, but in the meantime it's made me consider things I've never thought about before.

If you've been lucky enough like me to have given birth to a healthy baby, you may recall that you had some time to plan for that baby's arrival - typically 8-9 months.  When we finally got pregnant, we had been trying for a while.  Add that to a healthy pregnancy and we had a good amount of time to plan and save.  This put us in a good position so that as we got closer to his birth we were able to buy the things we needed for him and had saved enough for me to stay home with him for 13 weeks - the full 12 weeks allowed by FMLA and an extra week which happened to be the last of the year, between Christmas & New Years.  We also had saved enough to pay for almost all of the medical bills as soon as they came in, which were more than I had thought they would be (particularly with an intervention-free, medicine-free birth!).

Foster and adoptive placements count as FMLA eligible events, which means that both Jason and I would qualify for up to 12 weeks off without penalty to care for any of our children when they are placed.  To date, I have not used any FMLA time, though I have taken off 1-day on average for the 1st 4 kiddos that were placed with us.  That means that with new baby I'd have the opportunity to take off the full 12-weeks if I wanted to.  With our other placements, I haven't felt it necessary to take any official time off but with new baby it will be different.  The thought is new baby will come home with us from the hospital (we'll see), which means we'll have a 2-day old baby that will need care just like any other baby.  I can't just arrange for childcare.  Can't drop it off a day later at a daycare facility.  Please hear me - I wouldn't want to do that anyway (note Logan didn't go to daycare until he was 8 months old and that was part time) - but in this case it isn't even an option.  I'll need to take off at least 6 weeks and if I could take off 12 that would be ideal.

Unfortunately, we've got into this game a little late to plan for me to take 12 weeks off work.  Let's say I use my vacation time - 3 weeks - that leaves me with 9 weeks that we would have to cover financially.  At this point, its important to remember that in a typical birth situation the mother (if she works) would receive 6 weeks disability pay (8 weeks for c-section).  If I had that, it would mean I would only have to cover another 3 weeks of pay to make a 12 week leave happen.  Worst case scenario I could do that with credit cards, which you know we don't use but you get the point that it would be doable. 

The problem is, there is no disability pay for adoptive parents.  I'd argue obviously that makes sense and I'm not here to fight for "employee rights" for paid-time off for adoptions.  I'm just stating the obvious that I'd never considered before that is new to me as a potential adoptive mom - if you adopt a baby you really have to be prepared financially!  Of course, most folks who adopt from domestic private adoption or international sources are already aware how expensive adoption can be.  Then again those processes can take a long, long time to occur.  Typically with a foster-to-adopt placement you usually don't have much notice, but you also don't get brand-new baby. 

So, here we are - 4 months to go needing to find about 10-20K.  Saving & we come.  Donations welcome :)

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