Tuesday, September 11, 2012

100 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces: 2012

Are you looking into adoption benefits?  Looking for an employer with superior benefits?  Check out the brand new list of the 2012 100 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces published by the Dave Thomas Foundation For Adoption.  This is a great tool for really digging into some of the employers out there that really go above and beyond to make adoption more possible for their employees.

In honor of this new publication, the President and CEO of the Dave Thomas Foundation For Adoption, Rita Soronen, kindly offered to answer a few questions about adoption and foster-to-adopt benefits for mie.

Mie: What can average employees do to impact the adoption benefits their employer offers?
Rita Soronen: This is a great question. Simply asking for the inclusion of adoption benefits is the first step. Many employers do not know that they can offer this to their employees. And then make the case for these benefits – they are cost-effective, build employee loyalty, and enhance a company’s image of being family-friendly. Offering benefits to families who are formed through adoption or through birth is the right thing to do. We make it easy by providing the templates, toolkits and information for employees and employers.

Mie: As an adoptive or prospective adoptive parent, where could I go to get more information about benefits available to my family?
Rita Soronen: There are many excellent resources for families to get information about adoption benefits. The variety of resources continues to grow and includes workplace benefits, adoption tax credits, adoption subsidies (for children adopted from foster care), education assistance for adopted youth, adoption assistance from private organizations, and benefits for military families who want to adopt. The following is a selected list of contacts, but the Foundation can help with additional resources:

    • Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption (workplace benefits) www.davethomasfoundationforadoption.org
    • North American Council on Adoptable Children (subsidies) www.nacac.org
    • Internal Revenue Service (adoption tax credit) www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc607.html
    • Military adoption assistancehttp://myarmybenefits.us.army.mil/Home/Benefit_Library/Federal_Benefits_Page/Adoption_Assistance.html
    • Education assistance for adopted youth (scholarships, vouchers and waivers)www.childwelfare.gov/adoption/adopt_people/assistance.cfm
    • Individual adoption assistance (helping with the costs of adoption) www.childwelfare.gov/adoption/adoptive/funding.cfm
Mie: There are several common benefits (medicaid, fee reimbursement, etc.) - what are some of the lesser known benefits?
Rita Soronen: Some of the benefits listed above – the adoption tax credit, education assistance and individual assistance are not as well known. Of course, every adoption is different and the family needs vary, so the best any parent can do is learn as much as possible. We can help connect individuals to the national resources available.

Mie: In your experience, what are the biggest obstacles people claim prevent them from adopting (from foster care)?
Rita Soronen: There are some key misperceptions that may cause individuals to either stop or not engage in the foster care adoption process. First, we know that there is a perception that it is simply too expensive to adopt. Although other forms of adoption (domestic infant or inter-country adoption) can cost tens of thousands of dollars, to adopt from foster care costs little to nothing. Second, there is a misconception that once a child is adopted, a birth family may file further legal action to regain custody oftheir child. In the child welfare system, once a child has been permanently freed for adoption, all legal paths are closed to the birth parents; the adoption is final and the child is a member of the adoptive family. And finally, there are so many misperceptions that surround the children waiting to be adopted – that they are too old for new families, that they are “unadoptable” or not able to fit into families. Nothing could be further from the truth. These children have grief and loss issues, and many may have trust or attachment challenges, but every child waiting to be adopted deserves a safe, nurturing and permanent home and the opportunity to grow and thrive in the 
birthright of every child – a family.   

As we began the adoption process we had great friends who were able to help explain some of the basic adoption benefits available when adopting through foster care.  I've found that unless you have some close friends or even more so unless you actually go through the process it is hard to really get a good understanding of the benefits available to you as an adoptive or foster-to-adopt parent.

Workplace benefits has become an extremely important topic to mie since prospective adoption became very real with our 4th placement (Summer) and the drama surrounding her brother's subsequent adoption.  We went from adopting a fully-supported sibling group to adopting a single, unsupported child, then back-and-forth between two unsupported children and a myriad of combinations in-between.  Though we entered the adoption process thinking our expenses would be largely covered, we were suddenly in the position of figuring out how to pay for one or possibly two adoptions that we weren't planning to pay for.  In the end, I found my company offered some minimal but appreciated adoption benefits and my husband's didn't appear to offer any, at all.  I also began researching possible benefits out there and found that many companies to a GREAT job! As an adoptive mom and leader in the HR-ish field, the meaning of adoption-friendly intrigues mie.

I applaud these employers and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption for their work in supporting adoption-friendly workplaces.  Personally, anything I can do to support all of these organizations is worth it to mie as together we support finding every child a permanent, loving home and family.

On behalf of Letting Go of Mie, I want to sincerely thank Rita Soronen and her team at the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption for not only doing all the work to put this together but for giving mie the opportunity to share their message here on my blog.

Rita Soronen
President & CEO
The Dave Thomas Foundation
for Adoption

The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is a national nonprofit public charity dedicated to dramatically increasing the adoptions of the more than 134,000 children waiting in North America’s foster care systems. Created by Wendy’s® founder Dave Thomas who was adopted, the Foundation implements evidence-based, results-driven national signature programs, foster care adoption awareness initiatives and research-based advocacy efforts. To learn more, visit davethomasfoundation.org, or call 1-800-ASK-DTFA.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Say What (?!?) Sunday - Two Funnies to Share

Our home has been infested with pink eye.  Of the 7 people in our home, only 1, the baby, has not had pink eye yet.  I've determined she either brought us the pink eye or a couple days from now I will let you know that she too has developed bright eyes.  Brighter than they are anyway.

It started with the hubby and I, literally at the same time, and it sucks.  After 4 days my eyes are still pink.  His are nice and white.  Figures.  I've been to the doctor 4 times.  I convinced the doctors that yes, I know that one doesn't have goop yet but I promise I know he/she will have it tomorrow so please just write the script.  I was right.  In the morning he/she had it as predicted.

It could be worse.

To cheer mie up I'm sharing these two funnies:


#12, 13, and I were driving to their initial doctor appt from dropping off Summer's fecal sample at the doctor, 11 months after it was requested (the vials weren't expired and I had to do something to make her poop on the floor incident worth it).  We had to drive down the newly paved country-ish road.  I was enjoying the "quiet".  #13 was jabbering in the back seat quietly, mostly to himself.  Then...

#13 - MOM!!!
Mie - Yes #13?
#13 - Stop stealing the mail!
Mie -  What?
#13 - You and daddy need to stop stealing the mail!!!
Mie - We don't steal the mail.  Who stole the mail?
#13 - Unintelligible
Mie - #13, Who steals the mail?
#13 - I don't know, I can't see him, he's invisible. Unintelligble... the hulk is dead.

Hmmm...I'm fairly sure this kiddo had an experience with someone stealing the mail and it made him uncomfortable when I started asking about it.  The things you hear in foster care.


Tonight, after the baseball game, Summer went right to sleep.  She did spend her naptime at the doctor getting her eyes looked at, afterall.  We woke her up and she was grumpy.

Daddy - Summer are you mad?
Summer - *nodded*
Daddy - Who are you mad at?
Summer - *points to daddy then quickly changes* MOMMY!!
Daddy - *turns his head to laugh*
Mommy - Why are you angry at mommy? 
Summer - You are BE-YOO-TIFUL

At least she's mad at mie for a good reason ;)

Monday, September 03, 2012

Say What (!?!) Sunday - She's Who?

I love you all - I miss you!  I don't think I've signed onto my blog for 2 weeks now. I've been working like crazy, coming home and taking care of the 5 kiddos, then "working" another full-time job completing my dissertation draft for submission until 1 or 2 am each night.  I've had 4-5 hours of sleep, interrupted by at least one kiddo of course, for the past 30 days.  There has been NO time for blogging and I've been really good to stay away.

But I've missed you all.  A lot has changed since the last time we spoke.

  • #13 arrived.  We now have another 3 year old boy.  This means on top of everything that has been going on we added 3 kids in 2 weeks, all from separate placements.  This is also our first public case meaning the reason for removal was all over tv.  Thankfully the news isn't directly related to our little guy so no one actually knows the connection, but it has been interesting to say the least.
  • #12 came to us toothless.  Since she's been here she's cut 5 teeth and has 3 more at the surface.  That's 8 teeth in 3 weeks.  Poor kiddo.  You can imagine she's pretty grumpy.
  • Logan started kindergarten at the big boy school.  We did the whole take-him-into-the-classroom thing, waited until the class started, and then the hubby dragged me away kicking and screaming.  It wasn't that bad but I was really relieved at the end of the day Logan called to say that school was AWESOME! and he was extremely emphatic about it.  Since then it's been wonderful.
  • Logan started taking the school bus.  So far so good there too.  I was worried about it but he enjoys it and it has worked out well so far.
I thought it was Sunday but it's actually Monday.  It really doesn't matter - I have a funny Say What for you.

Setting - Dinner, 1st or 2nd night with #13.

#13 - ...and Hope* did this and Hope* did that and Hope* gets in trouble a lot...(name made up, but he talks about this individual a lot)

Mie - "Oh, I see.  Who is Hope?"

#13 - My wife.  straight-faced, without missing a beat.

The hubby and I did our best to not bust out in laughter.  He was so matter-of-fact and sure about it that it just caught us off guard.  Too funny.

Hope that brightened your day - thanks for continuing to come around to see mie even though I haven't "been" here much.  Stick around - I plan to submit my draft dissertation in a couple days and then I should have a little bit more time on my hands.  I also have a couple FAQ questions that were requested of mie and a few people who've reached out and asked to guest post and/or have mie share information in the next few weeks so I should be here again soon.