Adoption for Military Families – Guidance and Answers

by | Apr 5, 2023 | Adoptive Families Blog

A member of military and his wife in their living room talking about adoptingIs adoption for military families possible? How is the process handled if you’re currently stationed overseas? Military life is not an obstacle to adoption, and Lifetime Adoption is proud to help military couples adopt. Since our inception in 1986, we’ve helped thousands of military adoptive families stationed in the United States and abroad. To show our gratitude for your service to our country, Lifetime offers military adoptive couples a reduction in fees.
As you explore how you can adopt while you’re on active duty, you’ll likely come up with many questions. We’re eager to assist you with your adoption planning and exploration. Lifetime’s adoption professionals have seen great success in adoption for military families, and service members have several military adoption benefits.
To help you learn more about the possibilities in adoption for military families, here are six of the most common questions asked (and their answers!)

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#1: Our deployment/rotation is coming up soon. What can we do now towards our adoption?

We encourage you to complete our free application online, even though you have deployment or rotation schedules soon approaching. By filling out our application, you’re able to start communicating with an adoption professional at Lifetime to help you in your adoption planning. From there, she will be able to provide you with information, get to know you, and customize the steps you’ll need to take to with the timing you have as a service member.
Military couples can fill out the online application and have a one-on-one phone conference with one of our adoption experts. If approved for our program, you’ll also receive our contract packet to peruse. None of these steps require you to make any obligations to Lifetime. We can assist you in figuring out if you should start taking steps toward adopting now or if you should stay in the planning phase.

#2: Do birth parents often pick military couples?

Military adoptive families have had great success with Lifetime Adoption! We’ve seen that military families have many traits that birth mothers usually look for in adoptive parents. Many birth moms like to see integrity, patriotic values, good work ethic, a diverse community, stable income, access to good medical care, and many other attributes commonly found in military families.
Military couple posing with baby shoesLifetime has observed that military families are more likely to have a high level of adoption readiness, are able to follow the steps of our program and have great communication skills.
Just as with military service, the call that a birth mother is interested in you as her baby’s parents could come at any time. Military families are used to living “at the ready.” This greatly contributes to the success of adoption for military families who are contracted with Lifetime Adoption.

#3: We move every three years and may be stationed overseas. How can we make open adoption in-person visits happen?

The definition of “open adoption” includes its agreement to stay in touch through the years. You can also email, send photos, post on social media, or have a FaceTime call with your birth mother. You’ll still want to make your best efforts to be available to her for visits. One method that military adoptive couples have used to make visits happen is to have a lunch date or play date while they’re in the U.S., visiting friends and family. If travel isn’t possible, you could also call your child’s birth mother on the phone or have a video chat.
Birth mothers are in charge of their own travel arrangements in open adoption. She’ll know when picking a military family that you may be stationed overseas in the future. Lifetime hasn’t noticed that this dissuades birth moms from choosing a military adoptive couple.

#4: What if I receive orders for deployment during the adoption process?

Lifetime introduced our “hold” option a couple of decades ago in order to accommodate for adoption for military families during the First Gulf War. Placing your adoption on hold isn’t required in cases of deployment, exercise, TDY, or other military duties; it’s simply a choice that Lifetime gives our clients. We strive to help reduce barriers to adoption for military families.
While there is a military duty to fulfill, married couples can continue pursuing adoption. We encourage our military spouses to obtain a Power of Attorney, which will allow them to continue with the adoption process if a placement happens while their spouse is away on military duty.
Close up of a member of the military holding his wife's hand

#5: What if we get picked for a sudden adoption opportunity, and we’re stationed overseas?

When you start your program at Lifetime, make sure to voice your travel concerns with your Adoption Coordinator. Share with her how much time you estimate that it’d take you to travel from your location back to the U.S.
Lifetime can still consider you for sudden adoption opportunities so long as you can arrive within the time needed for the adoption opportunity!
Some birth mothers plan a last-minute adoption or have time constrictions that give us just a few hours to have an adoptive family there. Lifetime will keep travel time in mind when deciding which adoptive family is a good fit.
Lifetime doesn’t require that you’re open to sudden adoption opportunities if you’re stationed overseas. Please inform us in advance that you want to be omitted from these adoption opportunities. All adoptive couples living stateside are required to be open to sudden adoption opportunities. We do make allowances for military adoptive couples who are stationed overseas.

#6: What if we rotate during the adoption process?

Rotation plans should be shared with Lifetime as soon as possible. That way, we will be able to lead you through the necessary steps of your adoption process.
If you haven’t completed an adoption yet and you’re moving to a different state, a new home study is required.
If you’re moving to another part of the same state or county, you’ll probably only need to update your home study. The update will include updated info on your residence and a new home inspection.
Keep in mind that states have differing home study requirements. So, if you’re moving to another state, you should be ready to start a new home study at your new location. It’s for this very reason that Lifetime will discuss the projected timeline of your rotation before beginning the program together. Most military families will need to remain at a duty station for a certain amount of time. Lifetime respects and understands that where and when you move is out of your control, and the needs of the military always prevail.
Do you have a question about adoption for military families and it didn’t get answered here? Please call 727-493-0933 or email us your question.

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on February 2, 2016, and has since been updated. 

Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P.

Written by Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P.

Founder of Lifetime Adoption, adoptive mom, adoption expert, and Certified Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P).

Since 1986, adoption expert Mardie Caldwell has been dedicated to bringing couples and birth parents together in order to fulfill their dreams.

“Many years ago, I was also searching for a child to adopt. We didn’t know where or how to get started. Through research, determination, and a prayer, our dream of a family became reality. I started with a plan, a notebook, assistance from a caring adoption consultant and a lot of hard work; this was my family I was building. We had a few heartaches along the way, but the pain of not having children was worse!

Within weeks we had three different birth mothers choose us. We were overwhelmed and delighted. Many unsettling events would take place before our adoption would be finalized, many months later. Little did I know that God was training and aligning me for the adoption work I now do today. It is my goal to share with our families the methods and plans which succeed and do not succeed. I believe adoption should be affordable and can be a wonderful “pregnancy” for the adoptive couple.

I have also been on both sides of infertility with the loss of seven pregnancies and then conceiving by new technology, giving birth to a healthy daughter. I have experienced first-hand the emotional pain of infertility and believe my experience allows me to serve your needs better.

It is my hope that for you, the prospective parents, your desire for a child will be fulfilled soon.”

Read More About Mardie Caldwell

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