My name is Sue Ellen Stamper, I work in the Payroll department in Florence Kentucky and this is our family story. I started with Schneider Electric’s Customer Care Center in 1999. It was in that role that I met my husband Rob. He worked for a local distributor partner and we got to know each other when he contacted our team for support. Our first date was on Valentine’s Day 2003. Since that day our careers took off in different directions but love story kept true. (And we aren’t the only couple who met at Schneider, check out these stories on our blog!)
After the Wedding
We were married in June of 2005 and planned to expand our family sooner rather than later. But the plans we were making and what was in store for us were completely different. Very soon after we were married my husband’s youngest son from a prior marriage was tragically taken from us in a traffic accident. That heartbreaking loss would soon be followed by years of failed attempts to grow our family. We worked with many doctors and professionals in the field of fertility but pregnancy was just not meant to be.
Through all that disappointment and heartache, our desire to be parents together was still strong. In 2011 we began researching options for adoption and were drawn to a foster care agency needing placement homes. We soon began the rigorous training requirements to prepare us for becoming foster parents. The agency was straight up with us to make sure we knew the risks of additional heartbreaking situations and new challenges in our parenting journey. In our first year as foster parents there was more heartbreak and challenges as several wonderful children came to live with us and then returned to their biological families.
The Call that Changed Everything
Then in February 2014 we got the call that changed our life and family story in ways we could not imagine. There was a 3 week old baby boy being released from the hospital that was in need of placement. We met our case worker at the hospital right away and that evening we brought home the sweetest little bundle of joy.
I believe that all new parents can relate to the rollercoaster of emotions that come with bringing a brand new baby home. But bringing home a baby that you did not give birth to and spend many months preparing for added a whole new element. With our situation at the time there were no benefits or corporate leave policies that provided us time off to bond with and care for this fragile new life. I had PTO time and very supportive leaders, but we knew we had to proceed cautiously in using too much of that time off so early in the year. After all we had to be realistic that this child had a biological family that may be able to reunify with him in the coming months.
Our Adoption Day
Fast forward to October 2017. After almost four years of waiting, our adoption day was finally a reality. We spent years praying of the day we would officially become parents and how special that would be. We could not have imagined that Schneider Electric would be introducing a new family leave policy that would affect our non-traditional family. With our best in industry global family leave policy, the primary parent receives 12 weeks of fully paid leave (2 weeks for the secondary parent) for both natural birth and adoption. On October 9th when we left the courthouse with our son, I started my twelve weeks of family leave.
Our family story was far from traditional but that didn’t make it any less special or in need of the same benefits as traditional parents. I did not spend my twelve weeks of changing diapers and warming up bottles, but those weeks were such a gift. I spend very meaningful time with my son bonding and having experiences we would not have otherwise had together. We took a family trip to Disney World and had many other adventures together. It meant so much to our family that Schneider Electric celebrates all their employees and the diversity in their family situations. I know that the new family leave policy will be a blessing to all employees that set out upon the journey of growing their family!
Sue Ellen Stamper
Sue is passionate about customer service in its entirety. This year she will celebrate twenty years with Schneider Electric, currently serving as a Payroll Specialist. Outside of Schneider, Sue Ellen enjoys the outdoors, trying new restaurants, and traveling with her family.