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Do Parental Leave Policies Apply for Adoption?

Berkley's adoptive familyWhen you have a child, you may be eligible for paternal or maternal leave. The same goes for adoptive children. There are regulations in place that are designed to allow you time to bond with the newest addition to your family. 

These regulations can vary from state to state. It’s important that you know how much time you’re allowed to take off work when you adopt. Let’s have a look at how parental leave policies work.

Existing Policies

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 provides for paid leave for employees in the instance they have a family or medical matter to attend to. As an adoptive parent, you may qualify for time off from employment when you adopt a child. FMLA allows you to be away from work for up to 12 weeks without being terminated by your employer for this reason.

Adoption of a new child or baby can bring multifaceted changes for your family. Some people struggle to get used to their new normal. When this happens, you can easily get overwhelmed by the new parent responsibilities that you’ll be taking on. This is why it’s important that you make use of your 12 weeks of leave time to bond with your adopted child and set up a structure that works for your family.

Benefits of Parental Leave After Adoption

Taking parental leave when you adopt a child has several benefits to both you as a parent and for your child. Some of these benefits include:

Ample Time to Form Better Relationships

Many children are adopted from difficult situations. You’ll need to form new relationships and bond with your child. This is very important because adopted children need to build trust and acclimatize with their new environment. The more time you spend with a child, the better the relationships that you’ll form with them.

Enables Parents to Learn

Parental leave is especially important for new parents who don’t have kids yet. The learning process of parenting is continuous, and it’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario, so utilize the FMLA if you are welcoming an additional child to your growing family. There’s also no handbook for parenting, so what worked for one instance isn’t guaranteed to work another time. Learning about your child and this specific situation makes it easier for you to have a good relationship with them.

Better Mental Health for Parents

Having a new baby can be stressful enough without adding a stressful job to the mix. This is why as an adoptive parent, it is heavily suggested that you take parental leave. It’s also important to be in the right state of mind as you welcome your child, something that you can’t do if you’re stressed about splitting time between your job and your child. Utilizing the FMLA parental leave also makes it possible for you to take care of and bond with your child as much as possible without worrying about job security. 

Before your adopted child comes into your home, you should ensure that you apply for parental leave. It’s important to know that outside of the 12 weeks allowed by the FMLA, in some states, you can get even more time. 

If you’re unsure of the parental leave policies where you live, contact your adoption agency for detailed information and the legalities in your state for the Family and Medical Leave Act.