The countdown is on – I go back to work in less than 2 months having had 37 weeks off (35 paid for through EI). I’m constantly asked why I’m going back to work early. I love my job and am looking forward to going back to work – having a full income again won’t hurt either – but I wish I could say I chose to go back to work early. Instead, my response is always ‘as an adoptive parent, I’m only allowed 37 weeks off with EI.’ I’d say about 90% of people can’t believe that adoptive parents aren’t given the full year – yes, we don’t need recovery time for our bodies but what about missing out on the 9 month bonding period of carrying a child inside of you? We had 6 days notice before becoming parents and the first month was the most emotional time of my life not knowing if the birth parents would change their mind. Doesn’t that deserve some recuperation time? Finding the right daycare is also very stressful as lots of parents went on waiting lists while pregnant. Not to mention the daycare costs for a child under 18 months is quite high in Toronto.
The Adoption Council of Canada recognizes the need for adoptive parents to be treated the same as biological parents. An article from 2011 by Patricia Paul-Carson summarizes the issues adoptive parents face below and why more time is needed.
The issues and concerns that adoptive parents face that are distinct to them are described below. Not all adoptive parents must deal with all the issues listed below; however all adoptive parents face some of them. They include:
- Extra time needed to bond with an adopted child and for the adopted child to bond with the adoptive parents;
- Dealing with expected and unexpected health issues of the child;
- Establishing a relationship with the birth parents;
- Post Adoption Depression;
- Dealing with Grief and Depression Regarding the Ability to Give Birth;
- Helping the Child Adapt to a New Culture;
- Time to Travel Abroad for International Adoptions; and
- Breastfeeding of an Adopted Baby.
I wouldn’t change how we became parents for the world but I’m also sad to know my time off with my son is dwindling and just wish I had the option of being off for up to one year.
Please help and tweet @OntYouth and @OntMinLabour to raise awareness for this issue and move forward in gaining equality for adoptive parents.