The first time adoptive parents meet their child-to-be is a major family milestone. Nick Horvath, general director of network engineering and operations, remembers his first Gotcha Day in 2003.
It was almost a decade after Nick had joined Verizon when he and his wife, Kathy, stood in an orphanage in Kazakhstan. Beside them was a nurse holding a baby girl, who reached out and grasped Nick’s finger with her tiny hand. She’s had him wrapped around her little finger ever since.
Verizon aids adoption journey
Nick and Kathy’s adoption journey had begun a year earlier in upstate New York, where they live. The couple had wanted to be parents for some time. One day, Nick was talking with his supervisor about adoption when he learned of another employee who had used Verizon’s adoption assistance program. Nick learned that Verizon would reimburse some adoption-related costs per child, including legal fees and travel expenses.
For Nick and his wife, who have since adopted three daughters from China (in 2005, 2010 and 2012), the total savings has numbered in the tens of thousands of dollars. “It was with such ease that I got reimbursed for those costs,” adds Nick. The benefits provider even translated receipts that were written in Chinese language and denominated in RMB—no questions asked.
Promoting family values
Today, that little baby from Kazakhstan is an accomplished clarinet player named Dianna, who is 13 years old, and her sisters—Ellie, age 11, Mallory, age 6, and Kiki, age 5—all love cheerleading, gymnastics and dance.
These days Nick and Kathy’s evenings are filled with “a lot of running around,” as well as homework and plenty of hugs. Verizon’s family-friendly policies include generous family leave after each adoption, medical coverage for oral surgeries needed by Nick’s youngest two daughters, and the ongoing support of his supervisor and team members throughout the adoption process. “I just think the company keeps outdoing itself,” Nick adds. “Verizon promotes family values, and I think it’s evident in the benefits they offer.”
Adoption exceeds expectations
Sharing their adoption story is one way that the Horvaths hope to pay forward some of the good fortune they have enjoyed as a family. It’s also their way of challenging how people think about adoption. “People tell us we’re so nice to help these kids,” says Nick, “but the truth is, they’ve done more for us than we could ever do for them. We decided to go this route, and obviously it’s exceeded our expectations.”