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Guest Newbie 101

blink.gif Help! My husband and I are sending in our inquiry next week. We have been reading a lot about adoption and childcare, however, I have a couple of questions that I have not been able to find resources to help me with. Thought maybe any working aps out there might be able to help me out. I am currently working and I plan to continue working after taking a family leave once a baby is placed with us. However, I am not quite sure how to address this with my supervisor. My main concern is how to explain the rather last minute nature of many of the placements, which seems to result in a last minute notice of FMLA. Does anyone have any advice about this? I am not even sure when to address this with my supervisor, at what point in this process is it really important for him to know?

Thanks,

Newbie101

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Guest drewosmomma(not logged in)

I was very lucky. I work in a school and my principal offered me lots of support. Another way I was lucky was that Drew came in July while we were on summer break. I even helped to get a pilot program started for my school where teachers and staff can infants through 4 year olds to a learning center in our building (an on-site daycare). If you work in a ig company, you might think about researching that. One more thing, the davethomasfoundation.com website has a lot of helpful information for your boss about asoption. Hope this was helpful and good luck! smile.gif

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I am glad you started this topic. There are many issues that affect working Moms who adopt and this is only one of many. In my circumstance, I told my boss that we were planning on adopting after we attended the orientation with Abrazo. When you leave the weekend we were told to get ready because this was the beginning of our pregnacy. We knew that sometimes placements occurr very quickly. I had to tell my boss right away so we could develop a plan for my absence. My compnay is a small company ( only 100 employees) so FLMA was not an option. I was disheartened to find out that no paids benefits were offered. I worked closely with my team and prepared for the next six months. Ha! After 2 1/2 months we were parents! The time when I left was vey hectic so after placement I needed to work a couple more days! YUK! My leave was supposed to be 8 weeks but due to the circumstances of a premature birth and other medical conditions, I stayed a home for 5 months. I was able to work part time from my house and still have appointments with clients. The situation worked very well and my company learned so much about the adoption process. Although I had no financial support, they offered me emotional support. When we adopted the second time 2 years later, they knew what to expect and it has worked very well! I wish you well! If you have any more questions, please let me know.

Katharine

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Hi Newbie 101,

Although I'm not a working mom (I worked before Kayleigh but gave my notice in an e-mail when I arrived in Texas to pick up Kayleigh....I was only working on contract though and had no plans to return to work once baby came and I had already made the manager I reported to aware of my situation before I accepted the assignment so I had it pretty easy from that perspective).

I did want to add a little feedback on this though just based on my experience from working for a few different companies and different size companies with different corporate cultures etc. I would say a lot will depend on the type of relationship you have with your manager and with your Human Resources Representative (if you have a designated HR person - if not, the HR Director)...at one company I worked at, I was very friendly with one of the HR members and didn't have as comfortable of a relationship with my manager so I probably would have first spoken to the HR person to explain things to her (we were comfortable enough to be able to speak "off the record" and very informally) just so I could get an idea of how things would be handled with my special situation (the last minuteness of it). Also, HR is aware of all the other people who have experienced similar type of situations and would already know how it was handled by the company, etc. At the other company I worked at, I was the Accounting Manager (my other company I was just a Financial Analyst - had no responsibilities other than my own - no personnel, etc that would be impacted by my absence)...anyway - when I was the Accounting Manager - I reported to the Controller and we were very friendly with each other (she didn't even seem like my manager) and I wasn't very friendly with the HR people (didn't trust her one bit!) so without a doubt - I would have discussed it with my direct manager first rather than going to HR.

Of course, this all depends on the type of company you work for, how family friendly they are, how large they are, their corporate culture, policies, flexibility, etc but I'm of the opinion that the more "heads-up" you can give the better (I agree too though to wait until you return from Orientation unless you feel really comfortable with your manager that you could go ahead and let them know of your adoption plans (everyone wherever I worked knew my business - when I was a manager, I did an in-vitro cycle and felt I had to explain why I was always late in the morning (because I was going to those darn appointments every morning to get blood drawn) for awhile and also why I seemed kind of spacey and why I was missing work, etc (and plus, everyone was always having to listen to me go on and on about how much I wanted to be a mommy)......

Hopefully there's someone in HR though you're comfortable talking with first - I think unless you have a really exceptionally understandable manager, it's just good to get a feel for what you're up against (hopefully all goes well, everyone is understanding, etc etc etc....but - there were a few managers I had in the past who probably wouldn't have been quite so understanding of what was going on (when we got the call about Kayleigh - I lived, slept, dreamt, breathed, ate, drank Kayleigh and getting her well enough to get discharged from the NICU (neo-natal intensive care unit) for the entire 2 weeks she was in there - I absolutely could not have dealt with having to check in with a boss or even cared about any of that during that time (I probably would have been fired - I was just so focused on my baby girl).

Lisa

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Guest Pamela

Newbie 101

When we adopted our first child, Nathan, it too happened very quickly. We had our first telephone conversation with Sheila on Wednesday, Nov. 13th and Nathan was born on Tuesday, November 26th. I had to work four hour days for a few weeks after Nathan came home before I could leave fulltime for my family leave. I have a job that no one does when I'm not here. And, it has taken me almost 20 months to catchup from my last family leave!!!

By federal law you are entitled to 12 weeks of family leave without the threat of lossing your job. Unfortunately, in this "Not-so-family-oriented-country" called the USA, this is not automatically paid time off unlike many other more advanced countries where families get many months of paid family leave. We have to save up our time off in order to get paid. It all depends on your company's policy. We have PTO which we can use and also we can tap into our extended time off bank for family leave.

This time around, as soon as our paperwork and portfolio were turned into Abrazo, I informed both my HR director and my supervisor that we were in the active process. I made sure I told them that once we were matched it could be just a matter of hours or many months when I would be taking leave. They are aware that if a baby is born today I will be gone. There is no plan to replace me while I am gone. I just, unfortunately, and dreadfully, have the catchup process to look forward to when I get back.

I have decided that the most important thing to remember is that, even though we might have very strong work ethics and have been loyal hard-working women, when we become moms, no one in the world, no company in the world, no boss or supervisor, or project, or professional commitment will ever take precedence over our relationships with our child. It is, in fact, just a job. And, when you hold that baby in your arms for the very first time, you too will know EXACTLY what I am talking about.

pkk

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I'm not sure I have any earth shattering advice for you...but thought I'd share my situation too. We unofficially matched with our BP the day we took off for SA for orientation (1/14/04...our BP's due date was 2/8). So, immediately upon returning from orientation I let my manager know our situation and she took me off the schedule as of 2/2 knowing that I may be leaving even earlier than that if necessary. I was fortunate enough to have plenty of paid leave hours saved up and planned to take 12 weeks off work. I also let her know at that time that upon returning, I hoped to go to "on call" status yet work close to full time hours. (Then I could request the hours I wanted to work around my husband's schedule to eliminate the need for daycare). She, and all my co-workers, were very supportive and have remained that way throughout our adoption journey. My husband began investigating FMLA soon after our return from orientation as well and they were aware that he may be leaving at a moment's notice; as time progressed we planned to leave for Texas the day after the Superbowl to await the arrival of our baby with our BP and her family...so he let his work know those specifics just the week before. We feel blessed to have had a healthy baby girl born on 2/13 with placement occuring 2/16. If our adoption wouldn't have been successful, my husband's not sure what his company would have done because their policy isn't set up to allow for beginning FMLA, returning to work (in the case of a failed adoption) and then requesting it again for another??? We're very thankful we didn't have to work through that one. I know everything will work out in your case as well and wish you luck in your adoption adventure!! biggrin.gif

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I was working at a college before we adopted our second child. I let my Dean know after we had finished the orientation and all of our home study stuff was finsished. She is an adoptive mom also, so she was really supportive. Our son was placed with us over the Christmas holidays, so i took a few weeks off of the spring semester and returned to work when my son was about 3 months old. smile.gif

Jeannie

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Guest Newbie101(not logged in)

Thank you all for your feedback. I am touched by how open and how soon people have replied to our questions. We are so excited about the process and trying so hard to be prepared and immersed in the whole experience. We have been reading "Dear Birthmother" and other books on open adoption and really feel like we have found such a good fit to start our family. Going through infertility and infertility treatment was so hard and isolating. Thank you for being a part of our support system as we start this exciting and important journey. I know that we will have more questions as time goes on.

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Do bmoms typically look for stay-home amoms or are they as comfortable with working moms? Just curious.

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Each Bmom that I talked to did not have a problem with me working. The fact is that many of us must work. I know that they are Bmoms that prefer a stay at home Mom but I never talked to any. I imagine that if she selected our profile she already knew that I have a career that would sustain. That is another great aspect of the openess. The Bmom can select would she considers an ideal home for her baby.

Katharine

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Here is what I did. I am a pediatrician and had been at my new job for only 4 months before we attended orientation. We had been with an agency in another state before moving back to FL and finding Abrazo. So my husband and I already knew we were involved in the adoption process with no idea of when a baby would be placed with us.

Not long after starting my job (within 2-3 months) I mentioned to my supervising physician that my husband and I were trying to adopt, and left it at that. Then when we went to orientation I told him that we were going to start working with a new agency and we had heard that many of the couples took placement rather quickly. I told him I did not know when we would match or take placement but that I would five him as much notice as I could. When we matched (both times) he was one of the first people we told (outside of family). When we unmatched he was also one of the first people I told. For me it worked out well to be up front with him (rescheduling patients can be rather difficult). When our BP went into preterm labor we told him, when she dilated to 5 cm we told him. So basically from orientation on he knew what was going on (not all the details mind you but enough for him to make decisions about call schedules etc). When our birthmom went into labor the 2nd time and we all thought our baby was being born I had to call him at midnight Sunday night to tell him I was flying out at 6am Monday morning. Our BP's preterm labor was stopped (again) by the time I got there but our son was born 2 days later. It was touch and go for Mon and Tues but keeping him informed was I think he greatly appreciated.

My practice survived my 5 weeks of leave and my patients all wanted to know what my "family emergency" was they couldn't be happier when I tell them.

I hope your boss is as understanding (of course in the beginning mine wasn't but when he saw my beautiful Shane how could he not be??!!) They even extended my leave from 4 to 5 weeks when I got back from Texas!!

Jeannette

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wink.gif I think you need to be honest with your supervisor/employer, but ask for confidentiality. I told my supervisor and requested that it be only discussed on an as needed basis. My wishes were respected. We were lucky as we matched with our BP in her 6th month so we had time to prepare our respective work environments. Surprisingly all were very supportive. As for the working AP vs stay-at-home; I don't really think it matters. I do think BPs want to know that the child is cared for in the best possible way and they themselves probably work, go to school, or are stay at home mom's. I work per diem and am in the AF Reserves so my BP knows that I'm not always at home with the baby. Needless to say, I love being at home with her - we waited a long time - so working occasionaly is okay with me (hard on the wallet), but we make sacrifices. Good luck - we finalize next week! Yippee.

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Thank you all for your cotinued response and support for my questions. I thought I would catch everyone up. I have spoken with my boss, who is very supportive and I think that we have devised a plan that will work best for everyone involved. In fact, everytime I mention the lack of resources on how to handle this situation for psychotherapists- I am encouraged to publish on my experience for others to share. So I have decided that the ride still may get bumpy, but we will get through and hopefully be able to share with others in the future. Once again, thanks for all the support!

Newbie 101

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I have just started back to work this week--four weeks after placement (the company that I work for did not offer any maternity leave). I can't get the thought out of my mind of how much I want to stay home with our new son. My husband supports me with this, but I am weary because I feel like I will have "failed" as an employee. Still, my priorities have changed now. Part of me feels like I can be a working mom, the other feels like I'm cheating my son, my husband (who works the midnight shift so I may work during the day) and myself by not being home.

I wonder if any of you can relate, or have advice.

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Hi Ann,

I don't know that I can exactly relate to your situation because we had made a decision for me to stay home rather than work before we took placement of Kayleigh. However, prior to "everything" (i.e. ivf, adoption) - I had every intention of juggling both career and motherhood. I worked so very hard for my degree (going to college and finishing was even partially why I placed my daughter for adoption if that gives you any idea of how determined I was) and couldn't wait to build a career (my degree is in Economics) and climb as far as I could to wherever that may be. I remember reading articles upon articles in magazines profiling women who were managing both quite well and I knew that could be me and I wanted that to be me. I remember an article in Fortune magazine profiling the then CEO of Mattel (I think) and she had children and had worked her way up (that was my goal someday to run a company). Anyway, I did everything I could to learn as much as possible at work, to take on as much as I could - I worked insane hours, weekends (fortunately, my husband is a bit of a work-a-holic so our marriage actually thrived with our schedules being as they were). At some point, (after our 1st failed IVF but before our 2nd) - I decided I wanted to put the baby thing on hold for oh...10 or so years and took my LSAT (law school entrance exam) so I could start law school. About the time I was going to start sending out my applications - we were transferred to Washington. Once we moved, something just kept urging me to get back to what I really wanted which was to be a mom (and I also had doubts about being able to get into University of Washington's law school - they're ranked in the top 25% - I did well on my LSAT and graduated viscous substance laude but didn't feel confident I'd get in and I didn't like the other choices I had around here). Anyway - we did IVF again - it failed and then we started the process to adopt. Still feeling as though I'd continue working when that day came that we brought our baby home. At some point, probably when we began filling out the paperwork, I did some soul searching and realized there was really NO WAY I could go to work if it meant me being away from my baby/child. It just physically wasn't possible. I know it works for some people and some people have to work if they're the sole income but for me, it just wasn't an option. I don't know how I shifted priorities so soon but I did and for me, it was the BEST decision I ever made. I have no regrets whatsoever about staying home with Kayleigh and I do sometimes miss "the game" but I guess I've found other outlets now to excel at and work toward. I'm really involved in this preschool thing Kayleigh & I do together - I'm one of the Board of Directors on it and that gives me a feeling of accomplishment because there are many days when it feels like I literally have nothing to show for the day (but I don't have the type of husband who comes home and looks around and says "what have you done all day?") I've certainly not turned into a domestic diva - I HATE cooking - I never cook - we very very rarely have a meal at the table together - usually I feed Kayleigh and it's a free for all between Lance and me and we usually don't even eat dinner at the same time. I HATE cleaning and rarely if ever clean my house (I have a housecleaner so it does actually get cleaned on a regular basis - just not by me), I am not crafty .....anyway, I guess what I imagined a stay-home mom to be and what I'm actually like are so very different but this works for us and I couldn't be happier (well, unless we had another little one running around here but that's another topic!!)

Lisa

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Ann,

Hi! Congratulations on your placement! How wonderful for you and your husband!

Well, for us I had decided to originally stop working. Then as placement neared our company which was only 6 employees was in the process of possibly being bought out. I decided to consider going back part time at 6 months and full time at a year. If we were bought out then there would most likely never be money issues again and we could adopt easily again ASAP. Well, 6 months came and went and I did not want to go back. Now the 1 year mark is nearing and I still don't want to go back. There are some real great things going on at my ex-company and I have to say I am very jealous, but I just want to be there for every first for Andrew's and every second and so on.

We have some real great friends that had their daughter 4 1/2 months after Andrew was born. She decided to go back to work, but do flex time with 32 hours and the ability to work at home if needed. Their very pricey top of the line daycare is less than 3 minutes from her work so she can go and see her daughter every lunch. I know she has issues with not staying at home. I also know I have issues with not going back to work. I think any choice you make will have issues with it.

I feel guillty for not being able to contribute to our family. My husband says I do so much by being there for Andrew. I know I do, but it is not the same. I also miss the mental stimulation. Lately we have been listening to a Dora cd and all that runs through my mind is "back pack back pack" instead of how to make my experiments work.

I do know that once Andrew is in kindergarten I will go back to work. I have seen too many mothers stay at home until the kids are in high school or college and have such a hard time getting back into the market. I also don't see what I could do during the entire day with him not here.

I guess what I am saying is that there are negatives to both and positives to both. I love being at home 99% of the time. The other 1% I would give anything to be out of here.

Good luck with your decision.

Lisa V

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I am in the process of trying to find another child care situation for Nathan. As a single, working mom, childcare is not an option, it's a necessity. His current placement is great, except that the hours are from 7:30-5:00 and they really want you to pick up before five so that the workers can leave at 5. This forces me to leave faculty meetings early, arrive to work at the last minute, and to be always rushing to beat the clock leaving many things undone and me a frazzled mess. It also has me hauling lots of work home and since I have a no work while Nathan is awake policy, it has me working usually from 3 a.m. on. Not a good plan over time.

We visited three centers yesterday. I was amazed at Nathan's reaction. One center he observed very carefully, took a snack that was offered by a worker, ate it and wanted more. The second place, he immediately told me "Gotta Go". I had the same impression. The third place, he wanted to get down and explore. Very interesting. The third place I had some not so great preconceived ideas about, but it is set up very child friendly and enticing. The first place where Nathan acted relaxed and the staff included him immediately, has VERY small rooms and I didn't see many toys for the children to play with. I had wanted to make a decision and a change for Monday, but it's not going to happen. When I returned home from the visits and dinner with a friend, there was a message from his current day care teacher. She was calling to tell me that she has been offered a job at the first center I went to and she is seriously considering going there. Nathan is VERY attached to her and she would be there, not as his teacher, but as a set of eyes and second mom to watch over him. Is that not a sign from above that it is the place HE has chosen for Nathan? I tend to think it is.

Salt, Daycare, sleep issues, wow what a decision packed joy/job parenting is!

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Hello, Everyone!

I think this is a great subject matter. I think whether a woman chooses to go back to work or to stay at home should be supported by all women. I don't think one should look down on the other but rather support one another.

The company I work for gives me 4 weeks of Paid Adoption Leave. Plus, I took 4 weeks paid vacation and I'm taking an additiona 4 weeks without pay. All of this is protected under the Family Medical Leave Act. The month without a paycheck will be thin, but it is something we decided to do. When Erin, our first baby, was 3 months old and I had to take her to our church's daycare, it was all I could do to keep from crying. But Erin has proven to be a very social child, and has thrived in daycare setting. There are days that I take off from work and she still wants to go because that is where her friends are. She is 3 1/2 now, and I'm off again for another 3 months with our son Pearce. We have a friend who will be keeping him throughout the rest of the school year for us so hopefully he won't get ill as frequently. She doesn't keep any other children other than her little girl.

I think it is important to feel very comfortable with the daycare you select, and if after going there for several weeks and your child is still fussy about not going or is crying when you pick them up and this is out of character. There is something seriously wrong. That's what happened to Erin when we relocated. After the first week I was look for another provider. We found one and it made all the difference in the world.

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Thanks to each of you for sharing your stories, it's nice to get different perspectives. For inquiring minds, I have a wonerful boss who is allowing me to keep my position, but with part-time hours. So, while I work, my husband will be home with Aydin, and I can come home early to spend the rest of the day with him.

Thank you, again. This has been a struggle within myself and I sincerely appreciate you taking your time to help me figure this out.

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Ann,

What a beautiful picture! There is just something about a sleeping child that melts my heart! Even now, if Catherine is laying down for a nap (which doesn't happen very often with a 6 year old!) I'll tip toe into her bedroom just to watch her sleep.

Pure innocence!!

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Guest Mac

Hi everyone!

This is my very first post. I found out last month that a birth mother wants to give away her baby. She's chosen me and my husband! Originally, we were told the baby was due in mid-June. As of yesterday, I believe the baby will be born before the end of this month! I'm in San Antonio and I'm looking for a reputable facility/individual that takes newborns less than 6 weeks old for three to four hours each day. I'm also interested in one evening per week. The little one will be with me at all other times.

Thank you in advance.

Mac

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Hi, Mac!

Welcome! And just a gentle reminder: here in Abrazoland, we don't believe birthmothers "give away" their babies... nor do they "want" to... many women with pregnancies they're not prepared for, however, do find themselves needing to make loving plans to place their babies for adoption, and we're happy for you that you've been chosen by one such brave and selfless mother!

Using "positive adoption language" isn't just political correctness: it may go a long way towards helping you, your future birthmom and the child feel good about the choices being made.

Finding childcare for children under 6 weeks old can be difficult, since most parents do take at least 6 weeks maternity leave to stay home with new babies (even when adopting), and putting very new infants in daycare can expose them to a host of nasty germs and viruses at a very early stage. But perhaps you could call the Texas Department of Protective & Family Services Childcare Licensing Unit and get referrals on licensed and accredited centers in the San Antonio area, to be sure that your baby gets the best possible start in the best possible place.

(And while you're planning ahead, how about finding some excellent counseling for you and your birthmom, to be sure you're communicating effectively with each other?)

Good luck! What an exciting time!

The Abrazo Chicks

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Guest Mac

I apologize for my poor choice of words. Is there a place on this forum where I can learn more about the terminology used here?

Thank you for your response.

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Mac,

Have you already attended orientation? I was just wondering because they will give you a hand book which includes some positive adoption language. Marcelo and I had a hard time at first making sure we were using positive language. It was very important to us, so that our family would pick up on it. Whenever you are speaking of adoption just try to keep in mind how your BP would feel if she was listening and I think you'll be alright! Good luck and God bless you on your journey!

Claudia smile.gif

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One good book you can pick up (that is full of positive adoption language) is Adoption is a Family Affair. It is a book geared at helping Grandparents, siblings, etc. understand and accept adoption, but it also teaches you about pos. lang.

There are many other good adoption books out there. Many of them hit the subject of pos. adoption lang. Go to amazon.com. They usually have a nice selection.

Hope this helps.

Elaine

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