Bringing a new child into your life is a huge transition whether you are a biological or adoptive parent—and time becomes the most precious commodity. From late night feedings and frequent diaper changes to playtime and snuggling, new parents have a tremendous amount of responsibility as they adjust to the wonderful (yet slightly overwhelming) world of being a mom or dad.
In the case of biological parents, many new moms get maternity leave—and a few lucky dads may get a week or two off of work as well. But what about same sex parents who have adopted a child? The Chicago Tribune recently highlighted some of the difficulties experienced by many same-sex dads who adopt and how they can prepare for their transition into parenthood.
BECOMING A PARENT IS COMPLICATED, REGARDLESS OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES
While taking some time off to adjust to your new family and bond with your child seems pretty standard in most countries, it varies depending on your location, work status, and even your sexuality. In the United States, for example, the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act states that workers are eligible for up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave—without pay.
Paid maternity or paternity leave is available only to a small number of working moms and dads. In fact, just 14% of US employees are offered paid family leave—and an even smaller portion of that percentage get paid paternity leave. To compare, most countries within the European Union grant their employees at least 14 weeks of paid time off to settle in after having a child.
But, what about gay parents who adopt? Do new dads get paternity leave? Unfortunately, the short answer is most often no. Read the full article to hear about how two dads manage expanding their family without paid leave.
PLANNING FOR YOUR PARTY OF THREE (OR MORE)
Planning for when you’ll become a parent is much more difficult for adoptions—and without paternity leave on the table, can cause anyone stress and worry about the financial impact. Both heterosexual and same-sex adopters often can’t predict exactly when the adoption process will begin, how long it will take, and when they’ll get to welcome their newest family member.
That can make planning for your leave, setting a budget, accumulating vacation days, and informing your employer all the more difficult. However, there are a few ways adoptive parents can best prepare for parenthood, with or without a non-gendered leave in place from their employer.
Here are a few key items to consider before adoption:
- Talk to your employer about your plans; even if you don’t have specific dates set, give them a heads up and keep them informed as new information becomes available.
- Save as many vacation and sick days as possible. If you have hours that don’t roll over or are about to expire, try talking to your boss or HR manager to find out if exceptions can be made.
- Start putting aside money for emergency, travel expenses, and adoption and attorney fees. Having a little nest egg can also help offset any lost wages from taking time off.
- Talk to a lawyer about adoption planning. The guidance of an experienced attorney is an invaluable resource as your prepare for adoption.
Questions about your next steps? If you are looking for an Asheville adoption attorney, contact Chris Craig today. The Asheville LGBT adoption process does not have to be so complicated; let us help you and your partner navigate your new life with your family.