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Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to apply for the Adoption Assistance Reimbursement Program?

  • Full-time benefits-eligible faculty and staff
  • Applicants must have at least three years of continuous service at Northwestern University at the time of the adoption

What types of adoptions are eligible for this reimbursement?

  • Domestic adoptions and international adoptions.
  • Second parent adoption meaning the adoption of a spouse's child, including the stepchild. 

May I seek Adoption Assistance Reimbursement for the purpose of establishing legal guardianship of my spouse/partner's child(ren), or a relative's child(ren) (for example, a sibling's children, or my own grandchildren)?

No, legal guardianship is not eligible for reimbursement under the University's Adoption Assistance Reimbursement program.

What types of expenses are reimbursable?

  • Adoption agency placement fees
  • Attorney costs for the adoption
  • Court costs for the adoption
  • Reasonable and necessary transportation and lodging for the purpose of the adoption
  • Other reasonable expenses directly related to the adoption of an Eligible Child

What types of expenses are NOT reimbursable?

Ineligible expenses include those associated with:

  • Adoption of individuals eighteen years or older
  • Expenses paid for carrying out a surrogate parenting arrangement
  • Expenses paid in violation of state or federal law
  • Expenses paid for establishing legal guardianship
  • Expenses reimbursed, paid or funded under any state, local or federal program of other source. (For example, adoption assistance expense reimbursed through another employer.)
  • Expenses claimed as a credit or deduction on your personal tax return

What is the maximum amount I can be reimbursed?

Adoption Assistance Reimbursement is limited to $5,000 per Eligible Child or $6,000 for an Eligible Child with special needs. There is a maximum of two adoptions per household for the lifetime of employment at Northwestern University.

At what point in the adoption process should I submit my request for Adoption Assistance Reimbursement?

Once the adoption is final you can complete the Adoption Assistance Reimbursement Form and submit, along with additional required documentation. Application and supporting documentation must be submitted within six months of the adoption being finalized.

As an adoptive parent, am I entitled to take a leave of absence?

As an adoptive parent, you are entitled to take a leave of absence under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to care for your newly adopted child. For more information, please contact your benefits counselor.

Faculty members, please also refer to the Faculty Family Leave Policy.

What is the process to request a leave of absence?

Contact the Benefits team within the Office of Human Resources at if you would like information about requesting an FMLA leave of absence.

How do I enroll my child to my Northwestern University health, dental, or life insurance, or open a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account?

Please see the birth/adoption information in the Benefits section.

Does the University have any resources for social/emotional support for new parents?

The Employee Assistance Program provides a network of services, including short-term counseling.

Where can I learn about child care resources?

More information can be found on the Work/Life childcare page.

Who can I talk to about all of this?

Contact with questions or to set up a new parent meeting.