John Brown University recently announced its intention to provide three weeks of paid adoption leave to its faculty and staff. We at the Threefold Advocate believe this is a beneficial decision that is long overdue.
In 2008, the University formalized a maternity leave policy specifying up to 180 calendar days of paid sick leave (generally six weeks for uncomplicated pregnancy and birth). This makes a lot of sense, because of the wide variety of changes that bringing a little one into the world can create. It also gives the new mother time to recover and adjust to having a baby to take care of 24/7.
Less well known are the complications of adoption. This process, unlike the typical nine-month gestation period for a baby, can take weeks, months or years. It is rarely predictable. It is a different kind of “labor,” but it is labor nonetheless. The child may be from Africa or Arkansas, a boy or a girl, a baby or a teenager. Whatever the case, bringing the child home will cause major changes in the life of the adopting family.
Many times, in addition to the mountains of paperwork, the endless waiting, the thousands of dollars spent, and the significant adjustment period once the child is adopted, lengthy travel to the child’s place of origin is also a requirement when adopting. These are all significant reasons to allow faculty and staff to take a paid leave to facilitate their adoption process.
Whether the family’s reasons for adopting are infertility, personal experience, a heart for the nations, or a desire to raise at-risk children in a safe home, the Threefold Advocate believes it is a valid choice, and should be honored in the employee benefits package at the University.
We are glad that this decision was made. Allowing families to follow the call of adoption and facilitating that desire by providing adoption leave is a long-overdue decision by the University. We encourage the University to continue promoting its mission by helping its employees honor God with head, heart and hand through the practice of adoption.