Adoption, especially U.S. adoption, may be difficult for members of the military and their spouses who are subject to frequent transfers to other states or even other countries, particularly if they wish to adopt a healthy newborn. Numerous agencies have waiting lists for years; consequently, military families are never in one place long enough to make it to the top of many agencies' waiting lists.
In addition, HOME STUDIES are usually not "transferable," thus often a person in the armed forces must start over again at square one in the new location.
The picture is not entirely bleak: military families who are willing to actively network and seek out agencies willing to work with them have a good chance of successfully adopting a child. In addition, some agencies will accept home studies from other agencies. Military members may also adopt through public agencies or may opt to adopt independently or internationally.
Because of the diverse ethnic and racial mix of the military, many military members are good candidates as adoptive parents, particularly since it is more difficult to place black and biracial children. Many military families have traveled abroad and have far more cosmopolitan and accepting attitudes than families who have never left their home areas.
Some adoption agencies are biased against military members; for example, because of the "macho" image of the military, some agencies may believe that such parents may be harsh disciplinarians, authoritarian or even physically abusive. This is an unfair stereotype and hard to counter if individuals are turned away, ostensibly for other reasons.
Another problem faced by military parents who adopt is that health insurance benefits for their children are not available until finalization of the adoption, however, finalization could take up to a year, depending on the state in which the family resides. Most private corporations provide medical insurance to their employees for adopted children as soon as the child joins the family, and several states have passed laws mandating coverage upon placement. (See INSURANCE).
Military members are eligible for a $2,000 reimbursement upon finalizing an adoption of a child, whether the child was adopted through a private adoption agency, attorney, international adoption agency or any other legal means of adoption.
Prospective adoptive parents in the military are advised to join local and national adoptive parent support groups, who can help them steer through the sometimes confusing morass of adoption rules and regulations and help them find the agency or attorney who can help them adopt.
Find more information on military members and adoption
©2000 by Christine Adamec and William Pierce, Ph.D. Reprinted from The Encyclopedia of Adoption, 2nd Edition (2nd Edition) with permission of Facts On File, Inc.
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