Between armed forces regulations and frequent travel, military families lead a different lifestyle than many Americans. When these families decide to adopt a child, they have different options and benefits available, too.
When trying to adopt, military families face some special challenges. The constant moves that are a fact of military life can conflict with state adoption rules. But all this means is that families serving in the armed forces need to be aware of their options. Military life doesn’t have to be a deterrent to parenthood.
Military families considering adoption have probably heard that adoption agency rules on residency requirements and home ownership may create obstacles. Fortunately, a few agencies realize the impact these rules have on military families, and are making changes to accommodate them.
With support from a federal grant, Welcome House, an adoption agency based in Perkasie, Pennsylvania, sponsors information nights on military bases in the Delaware Valley. The agency has instituted a special six-week home-study program that takes place on the military base. Other innovative federally supported projects have been started by agencies in Virginia, Arizona, Alaska, Tennessee, and Washington, D.C.
Even living overseas is not a barrier to U.S. adoption. Families stationed on military bases abroad can adopt children from the United States through the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children, because U.S. military bases are considered American soil. The Interstate Compact is completed between the state where the child resides and an agency in the state of legal residency for the prospective parents. Base social workers or clergy can complete the required home study.
In general, military adoptions range in price from $0 for a foster child waiting for adoption, to $30,000 for an independent adoption. Military families are entitled to adoption benefits of up to $2,000 a year per child, or $5,000 per family for reasonable and necessary expenses. A specific list of eligible expenses can be found at www.adoptions.com/aecmilitary.cfm; the website also includes lists of adoption professionals experienced in military adoption, military personnel with knowledge of adoption issues, and agencies able to place children with U.S. citizens living abroad.
A version of this article originally appeared in the Spring 2006 issue of Conceive Magazine.
Related Topics: Adoption