Pregnancy can take a lot from you. The physical demands are obvious. It’s a rapid change to your body, and birth isn’t easy. There are also emotional demands on any expectant mother, and these emotional elements of pregnancy can be even more complicated when you are choosing adoption.
Choosing adoption is brave, and it’s not always easy. That’s why giving a baby up for adoption at birth and maternity leave are not mutually exclusive. When choosing adoption, you can still qualify for maternity leave. After going through a pregnancy, the adoption process and giving birth, you deserve a break. There will be physical and emotional recovery, and that can take some time.
Unfortunately, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), adoption and maternity leave are not as simple as perhaps they should be. Things can get complicated. You’ll need to be prepared to create the best situation for yourself, and there are some important facts to know about giving a baby up for adoption at birth and maternity leave.
FMLA Adoption: The Facts You Need to Know
The FMLA is a piece of federal legislation that was passed in 1993 that regulates maternity leave for women all across the country. The law does not necessarily cover everyone, as there are certain requirement that employees must meet to be eligible, and certain businesses are exempt from the regulation. However, the bill does not bar expectant mothers who choose adoption from maternity leave.
As we said, giving a baby up for adoption at birth and maternity leave are not exclusive from one another. You can, and should, do both. When we are talking about FMLA and adoption, the important requirements to know are:
- You must work for at least one year and 1,250 hours with the same employer to be eligible
- FMLA only applies to private companies with more than 50 employees, but it does apply to all public agencies
- Normally, maternity leave for a vaginal delivery is six weeks, while an uncomplicated C-section delivery is eight weeks
- Many maternity leaves are unpaid
This last point is potentially the most controversial aspect of the FMLA. While it protects, in most cases, a woman’s right to maternity leave, it does not guarantee paid maternity leave. Because of this, many women are forced to return to work before the full length of their maternity leave for practical purposes. Going six to eight weeks without pay isn’t something that many people can manage.
Making Sure You Get Your Maternity Leave
The unfortunate reality is that you may have to actively protect your rightful maternity leave. This is true for any expectant mother, and in some cases is even truer for mothers who are choosing adoption. Giving a baby up for adoption at birth and maternity leave are not things that some employers will immediately have a positive response to. There are some ways you can advocate your maternity leave to make sure you get the time off that you deserve.
Firstly, you should be aware of something called pregnancy discrimination. It’s awful, but it does happen. There is a law to protect any woman from experiencing pregnancy discrimination, but it still happens in some industries. The best way to prepare for this is to be proactive and organized when talking with your employer about a potential maternity leave. Speak with your supervisor at work as early as you can about giving a baby up for adoption at birth and maternity leave.
This may be an uncomfortable conversation to have. Pregnancy is obviously a very personal experience, as is adoption. However, any employer covered by FMLA should be professional about this matter. You can help by bringing in a maternity leave plan, which gives your employer an idea of how to cover any responsibilities you have at work for the time you’ll be on leave.
If you have detailed questions about FMLA and adoption, speaking with an adoption specialist or adoption attorney will be the most helpful next step.
Finding Help from Your Adoption Agency
After working out a plan for maternity leave with your employer, the next obvious hurtle is finances. If your employer is one of many who only provide unpaid maternity leave, you may be left wondering how to make ends meet after six weeks without pay. Adoption financial assistance, one of the primary practical benefits of adoption for expectant mothers, can help with this.
In nearly every case, a prospective birth mother is eligible for some form of financial assistance. This can include things like medical bills, housing and other bills. The amount of assistance you can receive will depend on your unique situation, and it is common for this assistance to include the maternity leave timeframe. You should speak with your adoption agency about giving a baby up for adoption at birth and maternity leave. There is a good chance you can receive helpful assistance.