At Mother’s Choice, we believe that families are built by love and commitment in many diverse ways. Building a family through adoption is a wonderful way to build your family, and adoptive families need support in every step of this lifelong journey.
What is adoption leave?
Adoption Leave is parental leave for mothers and fathers for a period after their adoptive child is placed in their home. Unlike maternity and paternity leave, Hong Kong has no statutory adoption leave.
This can leave employees who adopt vulnerable as they may not be granted the same benefits and support as their peers who have a child through birth. Therefore, to cover this gap, employers can make specific provisions to include adoption leave within their company policies.
Why is adoption leave important for children and families?
Families who choose to adopt children (Prospective Adoptive Parents), face a number of challenges in their journey to build their family through adoption, and the support of their employer can make an immense difference in their experience of parenthood.
Children waiting for adoption have complex family backgrounds and are unable to be cared for by their birth family. All adopted infants and children will have experiences of separation, loss, instability, and trauma, and will grieve their former caregivers, even as they join their new loving, forever family. These children need extended time to build trust with their new mothers and fathers to form healthy attachments for their future.
Parents need time to be available to show their child how they will love and care for them. For some parents, this will be their first experience of parenthood – suddenly there is a lot to learn and process emotionally. Parents feel less stressed knowing that they have the support of their employers and the understanding of their teams. This enables them to solely focus on learning how to care for and love their new child, and helping their child feel safe in their new homes.
Why do employers offer adoption leave benefits?
Leaders across sectors are becoming increasingly aware that adoption friendly policies are a way for companies to have life-long impact on the community in Hong Kong.
Companies who offer adoption benefits to their employees recognise that they increase employee loyalty, retention, goodwill, and productivity, enhance a company’s family-friendly image, and help support children move from residential to safe, loving, and permanent homes. Learn more by downloading our Adoption LeaveGuidance.
Many companies have Corporate Social Responsibility programs, but might not realise that introducing adoption friendly policies is an invaluable way to have an enduring impact on children and families!
How can my company support adoptive families?
- Develop policies on adoption leave so that decisions not made on a case-by-case basis. When employees fully understand their benefits, they feel reassured that they are doing everything they can to support their child.
- Provide leave as employees will have to attend many appointments, interviews and training. This would be the equivalent of attending pre-natal medical appointments.
- After the child joins the family, provide further leave for the new parent to meet and visit their child during the child’s transition into their home (families may only have a few weeks’ notice!).
- Celebrate with parents in the same way that you would celebrate another parent-to-be, no matter how old they are when they join their adoptive family.
- Encourage colleagues to throw a “baby/toddler/child” shower, give age-appropriate gifts and offer to bring meals.
- Include both Mums and Dads as part of the policy.
Our social workers see a different in those parents who feel supported by their company, as they are able to focus well on this important time for their family, which in turn helps them to be ready to return to work.
Adoption is a lifelong journey, and at Mother’s Choice, we believe everyone in the community has a role to play in supporting children, youth, and families. If you are interested in learning more about how you can support adoptive families in your company, please download our Adoption Leave Guidance, and reach out to our Adoption Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.