Can You Adopt while on Active Duty?

Adoption is one of the most noble and loving acts that a family can engage in. When you and your spouse decide to adopt a child that means that you are willing to grow your family in a fairly unique way. Adopting a child means taking on the unknown as far as what challenges the child will offer your family. However, those challenges pale in comparison to the positive impact that an adopted child will have on your entire family. Adoption is anything but a straightforward process, but it can be done especially when you have an experienced adoption attorney by your side.

If you are an active-duty member of the military who is considering adoption, then you should especially be commended. Taking on the sacrifices that you and your family have is impressive in and of itself. On top of that, to show the sort of love to another person that you would consider adopting him or she speaks to the kind of person that you are. While it is an exciting time to be during an adoption that does not mean that the process will not be challenging. The Department of Defense and the military branch that you serve under offer assistance and support but there are aspects of the adoption process that you should be made aware of before undergoing the adoption timeline. 

When you take on the responsibility of adopting a child you do so knowing that the adoption timeline can extend out several months to even taking a year or more. There are costs associated with adopting a child which can add to the stresses that you experience daily due to your serving in the military. On the other hand, there are joys and love associated with being a parent that are obvious plusses when it comes to going through an adoption. Being that you are in the military you may be concerned about whether that will be a negative for your being considered as an adoptive parent. However, for the most part, this is not something that should set you back as far as having a child placed with you. 

The first place that you should start learning about once you decide to adopt a child is to learn as much as you can about the different types of adoption cases. You can work to adopt a child through an adoption agency or adopt a child independently by contacting a birth mother and developing a relationship with her. You may also choose to use a hybrid of the agency and independent adoption. This means that you and the birth family could choose to work together on an adoption using an agency as your intermediary or representatives during the case itself. 

International adoption is a well-known route that parents may choose to take when it comes to adding a new member to their family. There are adoption agencies that are experienced in helping Americans adopt children from other countries. In an open adoption the birth family, child, and adoptive family talk before the adoption. Finally, you can raise a child as a foster parent and then work to adopt him or her. Whatever option is best for you can be determined after giving the subject some thought and then moving towards whatever choice is best for you and your life as of right now. 

Where you are going to live in the next few years is also going to be very important when it comes to determining all the details of the adoption process for you and your possible new family members. If you are going to be moving on to a new location for active duty in the next few months, then that can complicate the adoption process to a certain degree. If you move it may not be the end of the world when it comes to your adoption, but it can put you into a situation where you have to go back and repeat some steps that you had already completed in the adoption process. If you find yourself going overseas, then that would likely put the entire process on hold. 

Finding yourself in a situation where you are going to be living in another county because of your military service is something that many people don’t consider as they begin an adoption as a military member. There are adoption agencies that specialize in helping American citizens who are living in other countries. Many times, the criminal background search process can be complicated by your living in another country. What you want to avoid is a situation where your adoption is put on hold unnecessarily because various steps in the process cannot be completed. Living in another country we’ll certainly not make the process more efficient for you or your adopted child.

One of the reasons why the process becomes more complicated when you live in another country is because there may be some travel that is involved with the adoption. While you may have some degree of travel flexibility because of your military service it is more likely than not that you cannot choose exactly when you get to leave wherever you are living right now. Rather, your military obligation most likely puts you in a position where you can only leave at certain times that are predetermined. You should certainly discuss this with the adoption agency that is partnering with you as early as possible. That way there are no surprises in the future when it comes to planning out dates where you need to travel to and from the country where you are living right now.

Another aspect of the adoption process that makes it difficult is concerning the cost of adoption. Fortunately, as an active-duty member of the military, you can be reimbursed for certain costs that you incur because of trying to adopt a child. You should talk to whoever your contact is with the military as far as benefits and money that can be reimbursed for having started the adoption process. On the other hand, you would be paid for parental leave when you adopt your child. Whether you adopt or have a baby the old-fashioned way, you are entitled to 12 weeks of parental leave to care for your growing family. 

Probably the most considerable concern as far as costs are concerned that people tend to have when a child comes into their lives is health insurance. Your adopted child is automatically covered under your military health insurance. However, after a specific period, you will need to turn in an enrollment application for your child to keep your coverage for him or her current. This is true whether you are adopting a child or fostering a child. There are also adoption tax credits that may be available to you. In some cases, the tax credit may even be able to cover all the costs of the adoption process. 

Military, active-duty service should not be something that by itself holds you back from trying to adopt a child. The military branches offer support and assistance for you and your growing family. This is a great benefit for you all who may be searching for answers at a time when you have a lot of questions. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan is another resource for you. Whether it is you or your spouse, we welcome you to arrange a free-of-charge consultation with one of our family law attorneys. We pride ourselves on being advocates who care for our clients. Talk with us today about the adoption process and the different options that may be available to you and your family.

The adoption process for a military family

While it can sometimes feel like a different set of rules apply for your military family versus civilian families, when t comes to a divorce the adoption process is the same for everyone no matter their status as far as active duty is concerned. Where the adoption process can differ is whether you are stationed in the United States or abroad. In either situation, the military offers you adoption consultants that can help you learn more information about issues specific to your circumstances. These folks can help you to locate an adoption agency that can assist you with the adoption and can point you toward resources and financial help that will assist you in controlling the costs of your adoption as much as possible. 

If you are stationed in the United States, then you will need to first figure out if you are going to adopt a child who lives in a state other than the one where you are currently residing. If so, then you will need to become familiar with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children. When you are stationed overseas and want to adopt then you will use your state of legal residence to determine whether the ICPC applies. A home study will also be required of you and your family when completing the adoption process. The home study process is quite in-depth and is a step that is overlooked quite often. With that said, we are going to spend some time discussing the home study phase of adoption and what it can mean to your growing family. 

Before being considered as an adoptive family you will need to sign up for a home study. Many people find that the actual home study itself is less intimidating than they were led to believe by adoption agencies and other people who are involved in the adoption process. The home study also allows you to learn a lot more about the adoption process. At the same time, the adoption agency that you and your spouse are choosing to work with can learn about your family. All families who go through the adoption process have room for growth as far as their knowledge of the process and the steps involved are concerned. A home study allows you to ask questions and to better prepare yourself for the huge responsibility that you are taking on. A home study will also allow the adoption agency to learn more about you and your family beyond the application submitted and intermittent phone calls and emails. When you invite someone like this into your home you allow them to peel back the shiny veneer that you may have submitted on paper. The truth tends to come out, for better or worse, when homes study evaluator visits your home. 

Different children have different needs. Some children require a great deal more care than at first glance. That could be because the child has suffered emotional trauma and needs counseling and therapy in addition to regular parental contact and intervention. Or a child may have a physical disability that leaves him or her struggling to perform everyday movements. Your family will not only be evaluated in terms the suitability of you for having a child placed in your home but also when it comes to what child will do the best with your family structure and home environment. 

However, this does not mean that you have to be without flaws to adopt a child. What you do need to be is a good match for the child that you are interested in adopting. The age of your child and your current family situation and composition will be evaluated to determine what sort of child is a good match for you and your family. The home study is a critical component in that search. While it can be nerve-wracking to think of a stranger going through your home and interviewing you, I would argue that it empowers you and your family a considerable amount. This way you can ask questions and find out legitimate answers rather than trying to search the internet for reliable information. Of course, if you were working alongside an attorney from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan you would also have our office to help guide you and provide you with information. 

First, it isn’t as if the adoption agency is going to bust down your door immediately upon getting in contact with you to conduct the home study. Rather, you are likely to give an informational overview of the home study and adoption process at the beginning of your interaction with them. This allows you to find out more about that adoption agency, and how they work the process with families, and will help you determine if this is the group that is best suited to help you move forward in the adoption process. There is nothing wrong with shifting gears at this point so that you can start working with an agency that more aligns with your family circumstances and values. 

Once you find an agency that suits you and your family the next step will be to determine a good date for a home study. Your home state will likely require you to undergo some degree of training before having a child placed with you. Texas does this. These training courses will help you and your family learn more about what it takes to parent an adoptive child and what needs your child may have as soon as he or she comes into your home. A home study always involves an interview by a home study employee with the adoption agency. This interview allows the agency to learn more about you, but it also helps you to better understand them and what the steps are in the process. 

The experiences that you have had with raising children will be evaluated. If you have no children currently then this experience will be minimal. On the other hand, if you already have children then you can describe your experiences raising those kids. If you are trying to adopt a child because you are unable to conceive a child, then be prepared to talk about this and how it has led you to want to adopt a child. There are several issues that you will need to work through with your family when you adopt a child. Emotional, financial, and familial topics will be discussed to determine if you are a good candidate for being an adoptive parent. 

Families in your position should be honest with the home study evaluator. There is a tendency to try and hide from the evaluator any negative attributes of your family during a home study. However, eventually, those negatives will come out and be apparent for anyone to see. Families can run into issues once a child is placed in their home when they are ill-suited for adoption.

Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free-of-charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as how your family may be impacted by the filing of a divorce, child custody, or adoption case. 

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