Military life is not always the most stable for Massachusetts families. Those who are in the military or grew up in a military family can attest to that. But now, more adoption agencies and child welfare groups are recognizing that military families are just as capable of providing a loving and welcoming home for children as any other family. Though being in the military does pose unique circumstances, it also means that you may be able to receive certain benefits when adopting a child that are not available to anyone who is not in the armed forces.
Complications With the Adoption Process for Military Families
Military life is unique and brings with it many specific circumstances that other families may not experience or have to deal with, especially when they are going through the adoption process. These include:
- Moving: The family member who is in the military will periodically be reassigned to different military bases, which is called a permanent change of station (PCS). This can be troublesome to families who are in the adoption process, because adoption laws vary from state to state. While it is easier to complete the process while you are in one duty station, it is not impossible to complete an adoption during a move–it just might take a little longer.
- Living Overseas: Not all military bases are in the United States–there are many U.S. military bases positioned throughout the world, and depending on what specialty the military member is in, they could be stationed at any one of those bases. Living overseas does not make you unable to adopt; it just complicates the process.
Benefits Awarded to Adopting Military Families
- Reimbursement: If you have been looking into adoption, you probably know that it can get a bit pricey. If you adopt through the foster care system, costs remain relatively low or can be nonexistent. If you adopt through a private agency or individual, costs can range to the tens of thousands of dollars. When you are a military family, you are eligible for reimbursement from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) of up to $2,000 for one child or $5,000 when you adopt multiple children.
- Leave: Though each branch of the military has its own rules, the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard allow service members certain amounts of leave. Primary caregivers can get up to six weeks of non-chargeable leave, and secondary caregivers can receive up to 14 days of non-chargeable leave, or 21 days for those who are in the Air Force.
- Medical Coverage: All children who are dependents of people in the military are covered under Tricare, which is the Department of Defense’s health insurance program. While your child is placed in your care, but the adoption has not been finalized, the child might be eligible for health benefits through Tricare.
- Post-Adoption Services: Services to help raise children in a military family are available to all service members. Child development programs, family development programs, childcare, parenting resources, and support groups are all provided to military families to help them thrive.
Contact a Massachusetts Adoption Lawyer
If you are in the military, and you are looking to adopt, you know that it can be daunting. A knowledgeable Middlesex County family law attorney can provide you with the legal help you need with your military adoption.
Contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation to discover how painless it can be to welcome a child into your military family.