On Dec. 29, 2006, my husband and I adopted a beautiful little girl we named Lilly. I was surprised -- and thrilled -- at the response and generosity from my co-workers at Mayo Clinic. Friends, colleagues and acquaintances showered us with goodies from diapers and bottles to outfits and toys.
Having the opportunity to adopt a child, while definitely a blessing, can be an emotional and financial rollercoaster. But the outpouring of support from my colleagues, as well as the numerous resources offered by Mayo Clinic for employees looking to adopt, reminded me why I feel so lucky to work at this institution.
According to a recent survey from Hewitt Associates, more than 39 percent of major U.S. employers offer adoption benefits. Mayo Clinic has been providing the benefits to employees for more than 20 years.
Adoption consultation and referral services are available to Mayo Clinic employees seeking to adopt a child or stepchild as well as financial assistance of up to $10,000. Mayo's plan is unique because it does not place a limit on the number of adoptions per employee.
Those who have taken advantage of Mayo's benefits say the support makes the entire process more enjoyable.
"There is a lot of uncertainty that comes with adoption. Knowing that Mayo supports us and has resources available both financially and otherwise is a tremendous value," says Cynthia Nelson, senior marketing communication specialist in Florida. "Being able to talk to other employees who have adopted has been quite helpful, too. I am glad to know the emotions, feelings and questions I am having are "normal" and completely rational given the situation."
Arizona human resources analyst Robert McGriff recalls his experience even as a new member of the Mayo family. "When we took placement of our now 2-year old, Jonah, I was relatively new to Mayo Clinic and I had attended baby showers for other employees, but I wasn't sure what to expect in our situation. Jonah was three months old when he was brought to our door. I think my co-workers were unsure how to respond, but to their credit, they handled his arrival in typical Mayo fashion, with love and support and a HUGE baby shower."
Susan Schwartz, senior benefits counselor in Rochester, says: "As we went through our classes at our agency and met other couples looking to adopt, we found the generous amount of monetary reimbursement provided to us by Mayo Clinic really set us far apart from other employers... I look back fondly at that time of anticipation, which I know I was able to enjoy so much more because we weren't scrambling trying to find ways to pay the adoption fees."
For more information, visit the benefits link in the jobs Web pages for each Mayo Clinic campus.
Written by Dana Baker, compensation and benefits analyst, with assistance from Katie Phelan, administrative fellow at Mayo Clinic in Florida.