Northwestern named among most adoption-friendly workplaces

Adoption advocate badgeNorthwestern College is making its eighth appearance on the Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces list compiled by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. Northwestern was recognized as an adoption advocate and was ranked fifth in the education industry for 2020, behind Yale (first), New York University (second), Baylor University (third) and Pearson (fourth).

“We are always pleased to have Northwestern College recognized as an adoption-friendly workplace,” says Deb Sandbulte, Northwestern’s director of human resources. “Adoptive families face unique challenges and a wide range of emotions throughout the process. Providing financial assistance and time-off benefits for adoptive parents is a reflection of Northwestern’s support of families no matter how they are built and aligns with our mission to pursue God’s redeeming work in the world.”

Northwestern offers financial assistance of up to $2,000 per adopted child to faculty and staff, with an additional reimbursement of up to $1,000 for the adoption of a special needs child. The funds can be used for such things as home studies, agency and placement fees, legal expenses and court costs, medical expenses, and transportation and lodging. Adoptive parents can also take advantage of Northwestern’s parental leave benefit, which offers six weeks of paid leave to full-time and three-quarter time employees after 12 months of employment.

Drew Schmidt, associate professor of theatre, is among the Northwestern employees who have benefited from the college’s adoption policy. “We are grateful for the financial support, but even more so for the other ways the Northwestern community has been the hands and feet of Jesus throughout our family’s journey with foster care and then adoption,” he says. “Our colleagues have bent over backward to help us and show their love in so many ways. They have shown that they will treat my adopted children the same way as if they were my natural-born kids.”

Rankings for the Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces List are determined by an analysis of a company’s adoption benefits, including the maximum amount of financial reimbursement and paid leave for families who adopt as well as the percentage of employees eligible for those benefits. In addition to ranking the top 100, the foundation also recognized the top 10 by size and the leaders of each industry.

More than 150,000 children in the U.S. foster care system are waiting to be adopted. The release of the annual Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces List helps the Dave Thomas Foundation increase foster care adoption awareness while celebrating those organizations that support adoptive families. More information is at