In 1992, when I started out in this business, adoptive parents in Canada were entitled to 10 weeks of employment insurance. There was a little known, and definitely not advertised, additional benefit for another five weeks if adoptive parents could prove their child had “special needs”. The acceptable proof was usually a document from the adoption agency stating that the child had been living in an orphanage overseas and as a consequence could face attachment challenges once adopted.


But folks, before getting all self righteous about this, please don’t overlook the progress in this situation. Before 1990, there weren’t any parental benefits and consequently, adoptive parents were entitled to nothing.


The progress continued and in 2000, the Canadian government increased the employment insurance benefits for parental leave to 35 weeks. A whopping 350% increase! In addition, there was an additional 15 weeks of maternity benefits for biological mothers.


So after 11 years of relative quiet, it seems that the feelings of inequity have once again arisen. What exactly is this difference in entitlement really saying? Adoptive parents don’t need the same amount of time to bond with their children as biological parents? Really?


Perhaps this all leads back to the famous nurture versus nature question regarding child rearing. Which has a stronger influence? To me, it seems silly not to recognize the significant influence of both. We know too much about the power of genetics and environmental influence not to believe in both.


In closing, you may be interested in the petition that I just signed:


"Equal Employment Insurance Benefits for ALL Canadian Families"

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Winter Solstice (forgive me if I forgot anything) and all the best for the New Year!