The decision to adopt is an exciting step for any family, but it can also be overwhelming, especially if yours is a military family. The Department of Defense shares a strong advocacy for family; in fact, they report that family plays an important part in overall career satisfaction and retention of their service men and women. The Department of Defense supports service members’ decisions to adopt children and also supports families during the adoption process.
While much of the adoption process is the same for military families as it is for other families, there may be some differences to be aware of.
Benefits to Children
As a military family, you have a lot to offer children in need of a forever family. Most military families have faced change and adversity, such as a risky work environment and separation from family and friends. Because of this, you are very likely to be well versed in resiliency, flexibility, and commitment. Some other strengths that are a benefit to children and youth include:
The ethnic diversity in the military exceeds that of the general population; in fact, more than one third of the active duty military identify themselves as a minority. Social workers are often looking for ways to recruit families of color that may be a good fit for children and youth in out-of-home care. Your family may be a great resource for those workers—as well as a good fit for the thousands of U.S. children waiting to be adopted. In addition, military experience often provides families with opportunities to travel and experience different cultures.
Family structure is also an important issue with children in the child welfare system. For this reason, military families can be a great benefit to kids who haven’t had much structure in their lives or who are in need of more.
Support for families and children are built in at most military bases, including: adoption reimbursement, exceptional family member programs, and the new parent support programs. The close-knit lifestyle of military communities means that families benefit from a support system, even if they are stationed in another county. These strong bonds with other military families can help children cope with separation and other hardships.