Imagine this…

One Sunday afternoon, you’re painting your soon-to-be nursery when you get a call that there’s a new, healthy baby boy in need of a loving home and the birth mother has chosen you.

In August 2023, after two years of navigating the adoption process, Meghan and Sara became first-time parents in less than four hours. “There were a lot of tears,” Meghan recalls. “I remember having to lay down for a minute.”

They met their son that night. “We got to cuddle him,” Sara remembers. “Up until that point he hadn’t really been held—so that was big for us.”

Leaving the hospital, Meghan and Sara looked at each other and said, “Let’s do this,” but they had very few supplies to welcome a new baby. “Luckily, we have a community of friends who are like family,” Sara says. “We all met up in a store parking lot and two shopping carts full of baby things later we went home to get ready to welcome this very new baby boy.” From there, it was a whirlwind.

Most families have months to prepare mentally, emotionally, and financially for a new baby—Meghan and Sara did it in a matter of hours. Top of the list was figuring out paid family leave.

Meghan, a recent graduate of the fire academy, was told that because she had only been on the job for less than a year and because her new baby was born via an adoption and there was no exception for families of adoptive children, she didn’t qualify for any leave. “I was told I could go into negative sick leave for up to 80 hours. I didn’t know how I’d ever climb out of that, but at the time, I knew I needed to take time off AND get paid,” she explains.

“It’s crazy to me that they will let you accumulate negative sick hours, but they don’t offer paid family leave.”


Sara, who is employed at a major U.S. retailer, had four weeks of leave. She ended up bundling her PTO for a total of six weeks. “And then…we had to figure out an affordable daycare option,” Sara explains.

Meghan and Sara quickly found out that there was a six- to eight-month waitlist and they needed to find care in the next two weeks. “There were a few options available right away, but they were hundreds of dollars more per week and we couldn’t sustain that,” Meghan remembers.

They had heard about an affordable daycare option their friend sent their child to and decided to take a tour even though they were told it was at capacity. “We got lucky. Period,” says Sara.

Today, almost one year later, Meghan, Sara and their son are happy. They’re back to working on house projects and their son loves playing on his DJ turntable, swimming, and cats. Navigating the system was tricky, but they’ve come out on top.

When asked what they want for the future, Sara says, “I don’t want adoption to be a separate bucket. Being a parent to a newborn is the hardest thing you could ever go through no matter what the situation is and all parents deserve time off with their newborn.”

This year, paid family leave, maternal health, and affordable childcare for families like Meghan and Sara and YOURS is on the ballot. Have you checked to make sure your voter registration is up to date?