The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption recently ranked SRP No. 86 nationally overall on its 2018 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces list and third in the nation in the Energy and Utilities category for its adoption benefits.
SRP employees like Patrick Bald are a testament to the life-changing impact these benefits can have on employees and their families.
Bald’s son is full of smiles and laughter. He’s chatty and inquisitive, and loves to be read to. At 12 months, he was walking. Now at 14 months, he chases the dogs around the house.
“Seeing his progress is my favorite thing about being a dad,” Bald said. “It’s the little moments of seeing something click in his head. And obviously all the love and snuggles.”
Becoming a father was a long process for Bald, though — one that would have been even longer without SRP’s adoption benefits, which the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption recognized as among the best in the country for the second consecutive year.
“My wife had to have a hysterectomy, so our options for having children were limited to surrogacy and adoption,” said Bald, a Senior Engineer in System Protection. “We decided to adopt because there are plenty of kids who are already here and need a good home.”
Employees who participate in the SRP Adoption Assistance Program can receive a per-child payment of as much as $4,000 for a regular adoption and as much as $6,000 for a special needs adoption. The adopted child is eligible to be added to the SRP group insurance plan once he or she is legally placed in the home. Employees may also be eligible for up to 12 weeks of leave, with four of those weeks paid under SRP’s parental leave policy if the employee qualifies.
Those benefits, in addition to a pay raise, drove Bald’s decision to join SRP in February 2017.
“Those two things truly accelerated our ability to get the adoption process done,” added Bald, who said the adoption process added up to nearly $40,000 between the cost of the adoption agency, a lawyer and travel to San Antonio, Texas, where their son was born.
“We were able to complete the adoption in about a year. Before coming to SRP, we had planned on it taking us about five years to financially be able to adopt. It was a godsend.”
Bald knows there are worries associated with adoption. Will I be able to bond with a child who isn’t biologically mine? Will the child love me? He encouraged those who are considering adoption to not let fear override the opportunity to become a parent.
“I had the same fears, but as soon as I got to the hospital and saw Hunter, there was no doubt in my mind that I loved him,” Bald said. “Don’t be afraid.”