I am so honored that Sarah has invited me to share with you today. I wanted to start by thanking all the families who serve our country – and our family! – through serving in the military. You are often in our prayers, and we are so grateful for the sacrifices each of you make!
The timing of this post is special, as November is National Adoption Month and Military Family Appreciation Month! If you have considered growing your family through adoption, my prayer is that you find encouragement, hope, and practical help here!
Military Families Strengths
In the adoption world, words like security, stability, and routine are used frequently. For families that experience frequent – and sometimes, unplanned – change, this can seem daunting. But the most critical components of these things are found in the relationship between children and their caregivers, not circumstances.
In many ways, military families have learned to expect the unexpected. This happens to be a key in any type of adoption. Knowing that we cannot control our circumstances, but we can control how we respond, is one of the primary focuses of adoption training and research.
The abilities to adapt to new surroundings, and face challenges head-on, are also beneficial in helping your new child(ren) adapt and thrive! Employing these skills to help them face the unknown, offers them confidence and security. It can also aid in walking through times of grief, loss, and trauma with them. With this unique set of strengths, many military families find themselves better equipped to handle some of the challenges of adoption!
Stories and Advice
Since we are not a military family, I reached out to some who are for their stories and advice on adopting. Below are two accounts from families who have adopted while one spouse was serving in the military:
“Military life while pursuing adoption can come with several challenges (like PCSing during the middle of the process), but the community aspects and job benefits truly make it worth it. Military families, on average, have an adoption rate of almost twice the national average, and it’s pretty common to find several adoptive families on even a small base. Having a community that completely understands every step of the process, can offer words of wisdom and support, and can offer a community for adopted kids is invaluable.
My personal word of wisdom for a military family in particular: try to time your adoption with your PCS calendar. Every time you move, all paperwork has to be redone to reflect a new address. Home studies are particularly frustrating if you cross state lines (almost a given in the military). It saves a tremendous amount of money and heartache to wait until the next duty station and to choose a plan that can fit with a potential move.” – Audrey
My words of advice: If you know you are being led to adopt, don’t wait! The military is not going to cater to you — they won’t necessarily fight against you, but they are very mission-oriented.
My other piece of advice is to be open about what (age range) you are willing to adopt. When we started, we were *aiming* for an infant. However, within 2 months we broadened our home study to include up to 17-year-old children. Our goal in adoption wasn’t to “complete” our family, but to be a family to a child in need. When our son’s birth mother in a nearby state knew she needed to place her son, we were ready and jumped at the chance to be his family. He’s just a little guy (19 months old), and we are delighted to have connected! Adoption takes many routes. Don’t be dead set on just one, or else you may be waiting for quite a while.” – Sarah
Supports and Resources
Every adoptive family needs to find the right support! For military families, who can face special challenges during the process, finding the proper resources is critical. Researching the type of adoption you are choosing, selecting an agency, paperwork, finances, legalities – it can be challenging to know where to start. I’ve assembled several helpful online resources to get you started, or help you in the process!
National Military Family Association – Information on benefits, reimbursements, healthcare, and leave.
Tricare: Having a Baby or Adopting – Information on the process of adding an adopted child to Tricare.
Military Installations – Finding local supports and services, wherever you are stationed.
Defense Finance and Accounting Service – Detailed information about adoption reimbursement.
Military OneSource – General information on adopting as a military family; peer consultant services that allow you to speak to someone in the military who has adopted from foster care.
AdoptUS Kids – Information on types of adoption, and ways to begin the process.
Post Adoption Support – Bethany Christian Services’ Post Adoption Support Services for Military Families.
A Prayer for You
Father, thank You for the men, women, and their families, who serve in our military. Please protect them, and give them peace. Father, I thank You that Your Word says that You will give us wisdom, if only we ask! I ask that You grant heavenly wisdom to each person reading this. That You would guide them in the next step you want them to take, and strengthen them to do whatever You ask! Father, please remove any fear – for we know that You do not operate in fear, but in love! Lead them by the power and grace of Holy Spirit, and make Your perfect will clear! For those who You are calling to adoption, please provide all they need – spiritually, emotionally, physically, mentally, and financially! For those who You are asking to support orphans in other ways – please provide all they need, as well! Thank You that You place the lonely in families – and that You allow us the blessed privilege of being part of that! In Jesus Name.
I would be honored to connect with and pray for you! Have you considered adoption? Have you already adopted? If so, what is a piece of advice you would offer other hopeful adoptive military families?
Naomi loves Jesus. She is married to her best friend, John. They have six amazing, beautiful kids, two of whom have been adopted from the foster care system. Naomi homeschools their tribe of world changers. She is a type-A, list-making, change-fearing girl living an adventure that demands flexibility, spontaneity, and constant change! Through her words, she prays you’ll find something that points your heart to the Dream Giver and the Author of each of our stories – Jesus.
Naomi is the author of Don’t Waste Your Wait: Embracing the Journey of Bringing Your Child Home. She writes over at her site, Living Out 127, and has done a number of speaking engagements and trainings for prospective and current adoptive and foster families.