Pregnancy, Adoption, Surrogacy, and Foster Care

Becoming a parent through pregnancy, adoption, surrogacy, and/or foster care is a time filled with joy, excitement, and change in a person’s life. The Global Community Liaison Office (GCLO) is here to help support Foreign Service families through these milestones by providing information and Department of State resources to help navigate these momentous life events.

Key Resources

Department of State Resources

Global Community Liaison Office

The Global Community Liaison Office (GCLO) advocates for employees and families under Chief of Mission authority. The Support Services Team provides guidance and referrals to all Foreign Service employees and their family members on a broad range of topics related to Foreign Service Life. For more information, email

Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA)

The Bureau of Consular Affairs has a website dedicated to Intercountry Adoption that provides a wealth of information from starting the process to post-adoption information. CA’s website also provides country-specific information with news and adoption notices, as well as information on adoptions from the U.S., post adoption requirements, the Hague Adoption Convention, and much more.

Bureau of Medical Services’ (MED) Office of Foreign Programs

The Office of Foreign Programs is responsible for authorizing and managing medical evacuations (including OB medevacs) of Department of State employees, their eligible family members, and other participants in the Medical Program to the United States. MED also provides guidance and direction to deployed MED staff on medical evacuations to designated overseas medevac centers. It develops and implements policy regarding OB medical evacuations for the Department of State’s worldwide medical program (1 FAM 364.3). To contact MED Foreign Programs, email

MED Behavioral Health Services’ Employee Consultation Services (ECS)

ECS offers free, confidential counseling with professional clinical social workers to Department of State employees and family members. They can assist with job stress, marital and relationship matters, parent and child dynamics, single parent and blended family concerns, school adjustment, acute and chronic medical illness, depression, postpartum depression, anxiety, financial concerns, and life transitions. Contact ECS at or 202-634-4874 for more information and to schedule an appointment.

Employee Consultation Services (ECS) — Virtual Support Groups Open to Members of All Foreign Affairs Agencies

Note: These groups may be on hiatus June, July, and August each year. Please contact ECS with any questions: or +1-202-634-4874.

  • Parents of Children 4-11 Years Support Group
    Meets the 1st Wednesday of each month
    Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm ET
  • Parents of Adolescent Children 12-16 Years Support Group
    Meets the 4th Wednesday of each month
    Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm ET
  • Single Parenting Support Group
    Meets the 3rd Wednesday of each month
    Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm ET
  • Women’s Fertility Support Group
    Meets the 2nd Wednesday of each month
    Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm ET

Global Talent Management’s Office of Employee Relations

The Office of Employee Relations (GTM/ER) administers and develops policies, plans, and procedures for:

New Parent Guide

The Department of State’s New Parent Guide [2 MB] (best viewed via OpenNet to access intranet hyperlinks) provides information to assist Department of State Civil Service and Foreign Service employees and Eligible Family Members with pregnancy, adoption, surrogacy, and foster care-related questions and issues.

The guide is divided into two parts:

  • Part I provides guidance on pregnancy and childbirth, including information on payment for medical expenses, types of leave, obtaining a diplomatic passport and visa for the child, allowances and per diem, and other topics related to an obstetrical medevac.
  • Part II provides guidance for employees navigating the processes of adoption, surrogacy, and foster care.

WorkLife4You (WL4Y) is the Department of State’s comprehensive and confidential resource and referral service for employees and their family members. WL4Y provides free 24/7 education, and referral services that help Department of State employees and family members find the programs, providers, information, and resources they need to manage personal and professional responsibilities. Counselors will help determine what services are needed and available and refer to appropriate providers (including lawyers who may assist with financial matters, wills, etc.).

Call them for 24/7 personalized assistance, read articles, and educational guides related to adoption, pregnancy, breastfeeding, children with disabilities, and find out more about childcare services in the area. Employees may also order topic-related kits (e.g., prenatal and child safety), engage in monthly live talks, watch webinars, and listen to audios.

Department of State, both Civil Service and Foreign Service, employees and family members are eligible to use WorkLife4You. Contact for log-in information.

Visit GCLO’s List of Federal Agencies’ Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) webpage or contact for help with contacting your agency’s EAP.

Employee Organizations

Balancing Act @ State

Balancing Act is interested in helping the Department of State enhance productivity and attract, retain, and motivate a diverse talent pool through modernizing workplace policies that allow for more flexibility. For more information, please contact

Working Parents @ State

Working Parents @ State (WP@S) promotes diversity in the Department of State by fostering the inclusion of parent employees at all ranks and in all aspects of foreign affairs and policy. WP@S advocates for parent employees and their families to combat discrimination and have the support and resources they need to have fulfilling careers and lives in public service by actively cultivating a community for working parents within the Department of State. For more information, please contact


What to Expect When You’re Expecting Parental Leave (Foreign Service Journal, September 2023)
New EAG brings working parents issues to the forefront (State Magazine, May 2022)
On Our Own: Diplomats Deserve Equal Access to Reproductive Health Services (Foreign Service Journal, May 2022)
Balancing Act’s Formula for Driving Institutional Change (Foreign Service Journal, April 2020)

Lactation Resources

Additional Resources

American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) is both the principal advocate for the long-term institutional wellbeing of the professional career Foreign Service and responsible for safeguarding the interests of AFSA members.

The Foreign Service Youth Foundation (FSYF) is a non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to the support of children of employees of the U.S. foreign affairs agencies. Through publications, contests, workshops, and family events, they help young people adapt to their transitions between posts worldwide. For more information email

Office of Women’s Health (OWH) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), coordinates women’s health efforts across HHS and addresses critical women’s health issues by informing and advancing policies, educating health care professionals and consumers, and supporting innovative programs. OWH’s website includes a wealth of information to support nursing mothers, such as, a breastfeeding factsheet, a guide to breastfeeding, information on how employers can support nursing mothers, and much more.


Listings of private entities on this page are provided as a convenience and should not be construed as an endorsement by the U.S. Department of State or the U.S. government of the entity, its views or the products or services it provides. The order in which names appear has no significance, and the links may be removed at any time at the discretion of the Department.

U.S. Department of State

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