Why adoptive families say they need same time off as biological ones

Adoptive families spoke out against Bill 51 on Sun., Dec. 1, 2019, saying they face unique challenges and should have the same time off allocated as biological ones.

Parents of adopted children criticized the Quebec government’s planned reforms to the province’s adoption laws on Sunday, saying they deserve the same rights as biological parents.

Last week Coalition Avenir Quebec Labout, Employment and Social Solidarity Minister Jean Boulet unveiled Bill 51. Part of that bill would raise the amount of shareable leave time for adoptive families to 42 weeks from 37. Biological families are entitled to 55 weeks.

Boulet justified the difference by saying that the “physiological effects of pregnancy and childbirth” present challenges that justify the additional time but adoptive families said they face their own unique challenges.

Sebastien Rho and his wife Julie St-Amand adopted several children, including their son Logan when he was two. The pair had to put Logan into daycare as both parents had to work.

“He was really not prepared for daycare,” said Rho. “Every time we left him there he was re-living his abandonment.”

The couple also adopted three-year-old daughter Delphine.

“She doesn’t really understand what a family is like,” said Rho. “For her, it’s like everybody could be her parents.”

“The child needs me and they are my priority in life so I choose them before work,” added St-Amand.

Ian Lie said he was lucky he and his wife could afford to take time off.

“We really saw our daughter change, her real nature came out after a year, a year-and-a-half,” he said.

The CAQ had pledged during the 2018 provincial campaign to give adoptive parents the same time off as biological ones.

Parti Quebecois MNA Veronique Hivon said Bill 51 fails to meet the needs of adoptive parents.

“They have been abandoned, they have traumas in their past, they have health issues,” she said. “Often they have to be secured if they want to be able to grow properly.”

Mia Crysler, who was adopted as a child and dealth with ADHD and autism, said adoptive families are no different from biological ones when it comes to needs.

“They spent a lot of time every single day taking care of me, helping me find some tools to help me concentrate at school or at home,” she said. “Honestly, it’s actually amazing to know my parents were always there for me.”

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