Adoption Benefits Can Boost Recruitment Efforts for Employers, Nonprofit Head Says

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By Martin Berman-Gorvine

Nov. 20 — Offering benefits to employees going through the process of adopting children can help boost efforts to recruit talented workers, Rita Soronen, president and CEO of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, said in a Nov. 20 interview with Bloomberg BNA.

Offering adoption benefits “creates a family-friendly atmosphere and a sense of equitability” between adoptive families and those with biological children, Soronen said, adding that such benefits help job candidates “make a decision” to come to work for the employer that provides them, “other things being equal,” with a competitive job offer.

Cornell Tops List

November is National Adoption Awareness Month, and in a Nov. 10 press release, Cornell University trumpeted its first-place ranking among educational institutions on the foundation's list of adoption-friendly workplaces.

“To help cover the costs incurred through the adoption process, Cornell provides up to $5,000 per adoption and $6,000 for adoption of a child with special needs,” the press release noted.

Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is named after the late founder of the Wendy's fast food chain, who was an adopted child himself. It is an independent nonprofit charity based in Columbus, Ohio, though it does have an informal relationship with Wendy's, which helps raise funds for the foundation's work.

The organization has been compiling the annually updated list of adoption-friendly workplaces for eight years, using self-reported survey data companies submit, Soronen said. “We provide tool kits and templates” for companies looking to start offering adoption benefits, she said. Using these resources, a company can get a program up and running in as little as a week or two, she added.

Typically, adoption benefits employers offer include financial reimbursement for adoptive parents' legal fees, travel costs and home studies—total costs to families can range into the tens of thousands of dollars—as well as paid or unpaid leave of from one to 18 weeks, like that offered parents of newborn biological children, Soronen said. “Families spend a significant amount of time in the workplace,” she said. “We support families through birth, so it seems equitable to support adoption.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Martin Berman-Gorvine in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Nadel at

The list of top adoption-friendly workplaces can be seen at