Sunday, October 16, 2011

Why Adoptive Parents Get Less

Our social worker has clarified something that really made no sense to me... In Canada, the federal government has a plan for parents to be able to take some time off work when they have a new child. By law, the employer is required to allow this time off and guarantee the same (or equivalent) position upon return. The new parent is also entitled to Employment Insurance during this period.
This time off is divided into Maternity Leave, which covers 15 weeks and can only be taken by the mother, and Parental Leave, which consists of 35 weeks that both parents can share as they like.
It turns out that Maternity Leave is not available to adoptive parents. When I heard of this, let’s say I found it a little peculiar... We keep hearing how important the first year as a family is for attachment. Yet, we get to stay at home for 15 weeks less than everybody else!
It didn’t make any sense to me, until our social worker explained that, in a domestic adoption, the birth mother gets the 15 weeks Mat Leave, and the adoptive parents get the 35 weeks Parental Leave. That makes sense... A young mother who has just delivered a baby and made the most difficult decision of her life sure needs time to recover! It just happens that international adoptions fall in a crack.
 I wish I could donate those 15 weeks off (and the Employment Insurance pay) to the birthmother of my child, in Sri Lanka... I’m sure she could use it!

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