A question has been posed to us regarding maternity/paternity leave with an adopted child. This is of course something that we have considered and researched. Here is what we have found out. Most pediatricians will write a note saying it’s important for me to bond with the baby. I can then use my saved sick days (which I have about 6 weeks of right now) as my so called “maternity leave”. I can then take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per the Family and Medical Leave Act. It states that employees are entitled to:
- Twelve workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for:
- the placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement;
Scott’s company does offer unpaid paternity leave through the act as well, but I believe it stipulates that it can only be taken if no other family member (such as a spouse) is taking leave. Scott will therefore need to use vacation time in order to spend any of the first days at home.
The other area of concern with an adopted child is in regards to medical insurance coverage. We are expected to cover all bills the child may incur from birth. In our adoptive parenting class they informed us that Public Law 103-66, amended the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). The amended law requires that any group health plan which provides coverage for dependent children must provide benefits to a child placed for adoption under the same terms and conditions as apply to a child who is the biologic child of a plan participant. Under the law, coverage does not commence until the time of “placement.” This is where it gets a bit tricky. Placement for us is at time of surrender, about 72 hours post birth. This would mean the cost of birth and time in the hospital would not be covered; however, the term placement is defined in the statute as the time when the adoptive parent assumes financial responsibility. We are given financial responsibility at birth. Most insurance companies, including ours, considers placement at 72 hours. You can fight this, but it is often not worth it. That is why our agency works very hard to obtain a Medicaid card for the child to cover those first few days. Another medical expense that is not covered by our insurance is the birth mother’s medical expenses. We are expected to cover any medical bills she incurs as pertains to the pregnancy and birth. Our agency tries their best to make sure they obtain medical insurance or Medicaid, but this area can be a concern.
Just like everything else with adoption, it’s different, it’s the same, it’s complicated, and each situation will be different.