East Balt Bakeries announced they have become an official Adoption-Friendly Workplace, a signature program of The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. The foundation is America’s only national nonprofit public charity dedicated solely to finding permanent homes for children in foster care. In accordance with the foundation, East Balt will offer financial reimbursement and/or adoption leave to all employees who are building families of their own through adoption.

“Family is important to us and we want to provide assistance to all East Balt employees who choose adoption,” said Mark Bendix, chief executive officer of East Balt Bakeries. “With over 100,000 children in foster care who need loving families, we are committed to providing our team members with the support they need outside of the workplace to make adoption a reality for their family.”

Every adoption story is unique and East Balt is fortunate to have several employees who wanted to share their own personal experiences. Mike LaBosky, vice president of global quality for East Balt was adopted as an infant. As Mike explains, “My adoptive parents are MY parents. They may not be my biological parents, but they nurtured and raised me responsibly; they made me the person I am today.” Mike’s parents were open about his adoption and he says he never went through a period of feeling upset that he was adopted. “While everyone comes to grips differently about being adopted, I am thankful to my birth parents for making the most difficult decision to give me up for adoption.” Mike’s parents couldn’t have children on their own so they turned to adoption. “They made a purposeful decision to leave a legacy behind by adopting me and my sister.”

Larry Van Nort, director of U.S. Quality Systems for East Balt, is not only adopted, but he and his wife chose adoption when they experienced difficulties having a family of their own. “Both my wife and I were raised in loving homes as adopted kids,” Larry said, “so choosing adoption was a natural progression for us.”  “Being adopted is normal in my family,” he continued. "There are no stereotypes, just a loving family.” Larry was able to utilize the Adoption-Friendly Workplace benefits when he and his wife adopted their baby boy. “I was able to take paternal time off, so I could focus on wrapping up the adoption process all while bonding with my new son.”   

East Balt Network Manager Tim Russell and his wife wanted a larger family and “were blessed with siblings” when they became foster parents nearly five years ago. “It was important for us to keep the boys together,” Tim explains, as he and his wife began their adoption journey with the siblings. “They were both at risk kids and we were able to reinforce stability and most importantly, provide a loving home to the boys.”

Mike, Larry and Tim are strong advocates of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and believe adoption is truly a gift for all who choose. For more information on adoption or adoption benefits go to www.davethomasfoundation.org.