Military Adoption Success Story
Navigating a military adoption is both an emotionally rewarding and grueling process. Like many other couples and individuals, those serving in the United States military have the desire to expand their families through adoption. Taking on a child who needs a supportive and loving home, as well as making a career out of serving your country, comes with its own unique set of challenges. Fortunately, the United States does not prohibit active members of the military from adopting a child. However, the servicemen and women in question should ensure that they will be able to maintain leave in order to properly care for the child upon his or her arrival.
A Support System
According to an article written for the National Military Family Association, the United States Military makes allowances for newly adoptive parents. “There are three categories of parental leave for service members: convalescent maternity leave, for service members who give birth; primary caregiver leave; and secondary caregiver leave.”
These varying types of leave depend on the branch of the military. Any leave period is up to the discretion of the commander, but it is typical for military couples to designate one parent as the primary caregiver. That person is usually granted up to six weeks of leave. It varies for a secondary caregiver, and typically depends on the branch of the military that they reside in.
An additional military benefit that aids the adoption process is financial support. The National Military Family Association highlights that servicemen and women are reimbursed for adoption expenses, which can be costly. “Military service members who adopt a child under 18 years of age, including step-children, may be reimbursed for qualified adoption expenses up to $2,000 per adoptive child (up to a total of $5,000 if more than one child is adopted) per calendar year.”
It may seem difficult to have children and pursue an active military career. But the majority of branches seem like they heavily support this path to parenthood. Adoptees can even be eligible for military health benefits.
However, all of these advantages are dependent upon the military branch, and require a lot of research. There are different formalities that come with navigating a military adoption while being stationed in the United States, versus adopting a child while being stationed in another country. A life in the military demands many sacrifices, and for the sake of a potential adoptee, it would be advisable to see what kind of support is available when making that kind of decision.
The Adoption Process
From the perspective of adopting within the boundaries of the United States, the process is typical to that of a civilian family. With Adoption Choices of Colorado, an application is the initial first step. When filling out an adoption application, it’s important to be as open and honest as possible. We are here to support you, so transparency is key. A life in the military is often demanding, and Adoption Choices wants to facilitate the best match for both you and the child. Following the application, the agency will then offer a home visit. This could be a unique experience for military officials that reside on a base as a somewhat permanent residence. Many members of the military reside on the base with the children, so there is no reason adoptive children shouldn’t be able to do the same. After a successful home visit, adoptive parents will begin to take part in training classes.
According to Adoption Choices, “the State of Colorado requires 16 hours of face-to face training for all families adopting domestically.”
This training is necessary before a child can be placed in a new home. Military families are not an exception to this rule. Adoption Choices of Colorado typically offers these training sessions once a month. After the training is successfully completed, the placement process can begin.
Navigating a military adoption is a different situation. You want to ensure that every child placed has a full-time caregiver. The nature of military life can be unpredictable, but many families are able to raise loving children this way. Growing up on a base allows for close family relationships to develop. Because there are so many other families present, it also makes for a tight-knit community. A military child will never have a shortage of other kids to play with, and can grow in a safe atmosphere surrounded by responsible adults. A military child will also develop an appreciation for different cultures, because they will have the privilege of living in many unique places. This will foster open-minded kids that are supportive of a variety of world views. Military kids also develop terrific social skills, as they are accustomed to meeting a lot of different people and forming new friendships.
Pregnant in the Military: Considering Adoption
On the other hand, if you’re a military official who finds herself to be pregnant, you may be experiencing a variety of emotions. A life in the military can be extremely challenging, and adding an unplanned pregnancy to that can create a difficult situation. Typically, many military branches allow deferral for a certain time period when a female officer is pregnant. If you are overseas during this time, you can begin the planning stages of putting your child up for adoption. However, you will eventually need to return to the United States to give birth and participate in adoption placement.
As a birth mother choosing adoption, you have a responsibility to your unborn child, just like you have a responsibility to the United States military. It is your duty to find a family who is going to love your child, and provide them with the kind of life that you envision for them. Will the adoptive parents understand the demands of your work? The values that you hold in high esteem as a servicewomen of your country? Will these values be something that they share with the adoptee when they are older? It is important to understand the significance that these questions have to you, and to search for a family that is willing to adhere to this. Having a clear sense of the kind of person that their birth mother is can only benefit the child in the long-run. Any supportive adopting family will be able to understand that. Adoption Choices will help through every step!
Although the demands of military life may take you away for long periods of time, you don’t have to be a missing presence in your child’s life. This is why Adoption Choices of Colorado is such an advocate for open adoption, so the relationship between birth parent and adoptee doesn’t have to end after placement. Your child can grow up knowing the sacrifices that you made for them, and the sacrifices that you make for the United States.
All men and women that serve our country should be treated with the utmost respect. When it comes to raising a child, they should be granted the same challenges and triumphs as any other loving couple. A servicewomen who is considering adoption should be granted support and held in high esteem. At a personal cost, she is selecting a loving couple to raise her child while she makes sacrifices protecting our nation. Adoption Choices of Colorado is more than happy to facilitate military adoptions and send more kids to forever families.
If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and want to learn more about your adoption options, contact Adoption Choices of Colorado by email, phone, or text: Email Us, Call us: 720-371-1099, Call or Text us: 303-670-4673 (HOPE). If you are hoping to adopt, please contact us here.
Meet the Author: Katherine Burns is a journalism student at Loyola University Maryland with plans to pursue a career in the news and magazine industries. With over three years of experience writing for the Greyhound Newspaper at Loyola, Katherine specializes in Op-eds. However, she has recently branched out to cover a variety of topics, including education and sports journalism. She also has ample experience with travel blogging.
Katherine has conducted a variety of interviews in her time at Loyola and has displayed her stories through differing forms of media. In addition to her studies at Loyola, Katherine spent the fall of 2019 studying communications at the American University of Paris. To learn more about Katherine, be sure to check her out on social media.