Archives for May 2016

The Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FFMLA)

The Federal Family and Medical Leave Act or FFMLA was passed a number of years ago to help families who have a new child with them. This also covered adoption maternity and paternity leave for adoptive or foster parents. This Act applies to all businesses with at least 50 employees as well as all state and local governments and all public and private schools. The Act mandates up to 12 weeks of unpaid job protective leave per year, and with continued insurance benefits.

In order to qualify for Family Leave, for a business with at least 50 employees, the employee must have worked for the employer for at least 12 months and for at least 1,250 hours over those 12 months and at a location within 75 miles of where the 50 or more employees work. While this is provided for under federal law, states may have their own version of this law and it is therefore advisable for any new parents to check to see if that is the case. The leave can only be taken within 12 months following the birth or the placement of a child. Since this applies to adoptive parents, the leave could be taken separately and need not be taken together which would then provide 24 weeks of unpaid leave. However, if the parents are working for the same employer, the 12 weeks are combined.

Although this discussion involves the federal FMLA, many states now have requirements that mandate smaller companies to participate in these programs, with some even requiring a certain amount of pay for time off. It is important that all adoptive parents and prospective adoptive parents review their state laws. The National Conference of State Legislatures maintains a website that may provide additional information.

International Adoptions Continue to Decline


Twenty years ago, if you wanted to adopt an infant from China, you could almost get in line, wait 12-15 months and travel to the Orient to pick up your child. The chances were about 99-to-1 that you’d bring home a girl, unless you were willing to adopt a special needs boy, but the process was streamlined and had enjoyed steady growth over a number of decades. Over the last decade, though, that trend has completely reversed. And it’s not just adoptions from China, it’s international adoptions overall.

Consider these statistics. In 2004, nearly 23,000 foreign adoptees came into the United States. Just seven years later, the number was less than 10,000. In 2004, more than 13,000 children were adopted from China—by 2011, the number had dropped by more than 10,000.

According to adoption authorities, the trend has nothing to do with either supply or demand. There are just as many, if not more, children in orphanages in China and around the world, and there are just as many adoptive parents who want a child. Experts say it’s a change in attitude in those countries where the children live. Countries like China and Russia are finding that more and more people oppose sending orphans out of the country.

In addition, many foreign countries have implemented new rules making it harder for those most inclined and able to adopt to do so. The typical parent in a foreign adoption is older, and it’s not been uncommon for many to be single moms. In 2007, China changed its rules, prohibiting anyone over 50 from adopting, as well as single parents. The ban on single women was lifted in 2011, but all single adoptive mothers must now sign an affidavit swearing they are not gay. Families must also have at least $10,000 in income per family member and a minimum of $80,000 in assets.

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