Northwestern College named among most adoption-friendly workplaces

Northwestern College is making its ninth appearance on the Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces list compiled by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. Northwestern was recognized as an adoption advocate and ranked fourth in the education industry for 2021—one rank ahead of University of Notre Dame and behind Yale (first), New York University (second) and Baylor University (third).

“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 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. Additionally, Northwestern employees who adopt are eligible for up to seven days paid leave beyond the six-week parental leave benefit.

Josh Kuipers, director of worship in campus ministry, has adopted three times since he started working at Northwestern. “Not only has Northwestern’s support greatly relieved the financial burden of adoption, but paid family leave—with extra time given to families who are adopting—has allowed us additional time to bond and build attachment with our children,” he says. “This time has also been beneficial in developing ongoing close relationships with their birth families. We have been able to grow our family, not just through our children, but through their biological families as well.”

Rankings for the Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces List are determined by surveying employer benefits across the United States, scoring participants on the amount of financial reimbursement and paid leave given to 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. Find more information at