“It was the hardest time of our lives and you need each other, you need that time.”
For gay, bi, and trans dads who may already have a long journey to fatherhood, trying to arrange paternity leave can be an added stress.
The US is one of a handful of nations that doesn't mandate paid parental leave — and when employers do provide these benefits, new dads are often left out. Adoptive parents of any gender often get less leave than a parent who gives birth.
Under a federal law called the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), employers over a certain size have to offer new parents 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave — though not all employees qualify. New Jersey, California, and Rhode Island provide paid leave.
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“I don’t know how parents who don’t have this luxury are able to take their very small children to a daycare right away.”
Ryan: “I was given up to 12 weeks of leave at 60% of my salary. I only chose to take 6 weeks because that was all we could afford financially. We were lucky to have my mother-in-law come for two months following my leave.
Marc: “I took 1 week of fully paid leave. Ryan stayed home with Liam following my week.”
“Spending time with Liam following his birth was essential for us all to adjust to our new reality. We would have loved to take more time — in fact, our Polish friends were shocked to find out this wasn't an automatic benefit. Sadly, it wasn't possible for us. It was difficult to go back to work, but we were very fortunate to have Marc's mom live with us for two months following Ryan's FMLA. I don't know how parents who don't have this luxury are able to take their very small children to a daycare right away.”
— Ryan, 38, hotel sales and Mark, 35, HR for an oil and gas company
“My conversation with my new boss went something like, ‘I know when you hired me you didn’t think I would get pregnant, but my husband and I have been matched for adoption and instead of 9 months, the baby’s due date is in three months.'”
“As it turns out, we beat the odds and were matched with a couple in Florida for adoption just three months into my new job. My conversation with my new boss went something like, 'I know when you hired me you didn't think I would get pregnant, but my husband and I have been matched for adoption and instead of 9 months, the baby's due date is in three months.' The organization had over 50 employees and so was required by the state of Philadelphia — where the organization had its headquarters — to provide six weeks of paternity leave.
Mike used a combination of vacation and sick leave that he accrued over a long time to cover the period where he was home.
Today our son is good natured three-year-old, with a larger than average vocabulary, who seems well-adjusted and adaptable to each new challenge. Mike and I credit a lot of this to the daily time and attention we've given him since birth, ensuring he feels loved and nurtured.”
—”DJ” Johnson, 39, Nonprofit Vice-President and Mike Stirratt, 47, Federal Government Program Officer, Washington, DC
Provided to BuzzFeed