The Leis family
Four years ago Lexmark employee Shauna Leis and her husband, Tony — along with their two children, Nathan and Grace — began a journey that required a lot of grit, determination and prayer to keep them going. They became a foster family hoping to one day be able to adopt a child placed in their care.
The Leis’ fostered four children, including one they had in their home for 18 months before he was ultimately returned to his birth parents.
“It was hard physically and emotionally,” said Shauna. “It almost forced us out of the program, but we knew what we were doing was a good thing. There were other children who still needed a safe home.”
In January 2014, just three short days after receiving their third foster son, the Leis’ got a call that there was a baby on the way and the mother was giving him up under the Safe Haven Baby Act. The Leis’ were chosen because they were in the foster-to-adopt program.
Two days later they picked up Carter David from the hospital.
“The mother had 30 days to decide if she wanted him back,” said Shauna. “It was 30 days of waiting and insecurity about what was going to happen. After the 30 days passed, and relief set in, we were free to seek termination of parental rights and start the adoption process.”
The Leis’ used Lexmark’s Adoption Assistance Program to help cover the cost of the adoption. Because they were in the foster-to-adopt program, the adoption fees were much less than a traditional private adoption. The total cost was approximately $2,000 — paid in full by Lexmark.
“We found out about the Lexmark benefit through friends at work who had adopted,” said Shauna. “Receiving the benefit was a super easy process. We collected receipts, filled out the form online and had our reimbursement back in within two weeks. Thanks to the Lexmark Adoption Assistance Program, the adoption cost us nothing except blood, sweat, tears and, of course, sleep.”
The Inabinet family
Ward Inabinet’s wife, Kelly, had a desire to adopt a child even before they were married in 2003.
In 2007, they found themselves still with no children and ready for that to change. Ward was lukewarm at best to the idea of adoption until he attended an adoption conference and had a “heartwarming” experience listening to all the stories from adoptive families.
Not long after the conference, the Inabinets started their adoption journey.
At first they decided to pursue an international adoption. Inabinet traveled to China for Lexmark so it made sense to look for a Chineseinfant who needed a family.
Ward and Kelly began the paperwork required to complete a Chinese adoption, and on the day that the work was finished, they discovered that Kelly was pregnant. In September 2007, on Ward’s 30th birthday, their adoption dossier was sent to China and the wait began.
Their daughter, Claire, was born in December 2007. But the wait to adopt a healthy baby girl from China dragged on for years.
“I remember going back to the adoption agency in July 2013, and realizing it was time to make a change,” said Ward. “We started exploring a domestic adoption program.”
In October of that same year, the adoption agency informed the Inabinets that a birth mother wanted to meet them.
“We were very excited,” said Ward. “We set up a first date at a restaurant between Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky. We sat down and had a great conversation. Kelly felt an instant connection and comfort level.”
The birth mother made her decision that night. The Inabinets were in the parking lot and the social worker told them they had been chosen as the adoptive parents.
In December 2013, their son, Preston, was born.
“We got to take him home from the hospital,” said Ward. “We made a decision to keep it an open adoption. We wanted to keep a connection to the birth parents to allow our son to have the opportunity to know his biological parents. We continue to keep that connection through text messages and visits.”
In the U.S., a voluntary adoption of a newborn through a nonprofit agency generally costs between $10,000 and $25,000. Using Lexmark’s Adoption Assistance Program and the federal adoption tax credit, the Inabinets were able to cover all the expenses of their adoption, which cost approximately $20,000.
“After everything was paid for, we got an itemized receipt and submitted for reimbursement through Lexmark’s online system,” said Ward. “We received the money in my very next paycheck.”
Lexmark’s Adoption Assistance Program covers up to $7,000 of eligible adoption expenses per adoption per family (up to two adoptions), for all full-time employees. Regular part-time employees receive $3,500.
Benefits are paid once the child has been placed in the employee’s home under legal custody.
Eligible expenses include adoption agency fees, placement fees, legal fees, maternity fees while both the birth mother and infant are in the hospital, and temporary care expenses immediately preceding placement of the child in the home.
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