With the 4th of July coming up, Lifetime Adoption would like to take this chance to thank our armed forces for your service to our country! We’re proud to help military members learn about their choices in open adoption.
If you’re experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and in the military, you might be stressing over how you will do it all: being deployed plus raising a child. You may wonder, “How do I place my baby for adoption while I’m on active duty?” Here’s how the process works, and why adoption could be the right choice for you.
Adoption is a choice you can make, even if you’re stationed overseas. You can choose the perfect adoptive parents for your child from a wide selection of adoptive couples nationwide. You could even select an adoptive couple who are also members of the military, whether they’re in the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, or Air Force.
What is the Military Adoption Process?
If you’re in the military and considering adoption for your baby, Lifetime can help. Whether you are stationed in the U.S., currently deployed, or stationed abroad, the steps of the adoption process will generally be the same as it is for other women considering adoption. We work with military women facing an unplanned pregnancy or considering adoption for their child.
You might wonder, “Can I put my baby up for adoption while deployed overseas?” Lifetime is here to help you plan your baby’s adoption from wherever you’re at, and we’re available 24/7. You can plan on giving birth on the base you’re stationed at. The adoptive family you choose will fly out to you once you deliver, to meet you in person and begin the bonding process with baby.
While the exact steps will be different depending on your situation, here’s how choosing adoption while enlisted in the Army, Navy, or any other branch of the military works:
- Contact Lifetime Adoption by calling or texting 1-800-923-6784. Caring adoption coordinators are ready to answer your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Get your questions answered: the Adoption Coordinator you speak with will be happy to answer any questions you have and will ask what you’re looking for in adoptive parents for your baby. Then, she’ll send you links to profiles about hopeful adoptive parents.
- Complete the preliminary adoption questionnaire online at LifetimeAdoption.com/questionnaire
- Get the help you need: you can speak to a licensed counselor or a peer counselor. A peer counselor is a woman who has been in your shoes and made an adoption plan for her child. Getting counseling can help you sort out your thoughts and feelings. Counseling is available at no cost to you.
- Select your “top 3” picks of adoptive families. You can then meet with them or speak to them by phone. The choice is up to you! Your adoption coordinator can help you with this conversation.
- When your baby is born, there’s typically a minimum amount of time to wait before you can legally complete and sign final adoption paperwork. That waiting period varies depending on which state you give birth in (or if you’re overseas, your state of residence). Legal representation will make sure you fully understand everything.
After the adoption, you can seek counseling and emotional support through the military or Lifetime Adoption if you need help handling the complex emotions that birth parents often experience after placement. You can continue to have a relationship with your child and their adoptive family if you choose to have an open adoption. You can communicate however you’re all comfortable with, even during deployment periods.
Military Adoptive Families
Lifetime Adoption has helped many military couples to become parents through adoption, so you can even choose fellow U.S. military men and women to raise your baby if you desire. Whatever you’re looking for, Lifetime will help you find it! We have over 35 years of experience assisting military women as they learn about their adoption options.
You can view profiles about military adoptive families here. You can also meet a few of them by watching this short video:
Jamila* had just served her first few years, then became pregnant. Her relationship with a civilian didn’t work out, and she couldn’t afford to be a single mother. When she called Lifetime, Jamila shared she had an abortion at 16, and it wasn’t something she could cope with again. Instead, she picked an adoptive family to raise her child. “I realized I wasn’t going to be getting any support from my family. So I had to make a quick decision because I was to be shipped out in a few months. I wanted my baby boy to grow up in a two-parent home where he would be provided for and loved unconditionally,” says Jamila.
Jamila made an open adoption plan, so she chose the lifestyle she wanted for her son. She found a family that would love him unconditionally and help him go to college. Jamila was still a part of his life with visits and photos, and he is growing up proud, knowing that his mother is serving his country. Jamila has plans to finish college when her tour of duty is complete. On her last visit stateside, she was able to spend time with her son and his family.
“I love it that wherever I am stationed in the world, I can get updates about my son. I mail him cards and pictures of all the places I travel to. Because I get updates on my son, I know he’s cared for and loved. I can see in his eyes in the videos and photos they send me that he’s happy. I don’t know where I’ll end up long-term, but I know he is in good hands which is such a comfort for me!” Jamila shares.
* Name has been changed for confidentiality.
Choosing Adoption as a Member of the Military
Adoption is always an option if you’re dealing with an unplanned pregnancy. Just like everyone else, you can create an adoption plan and place your baby in the care of a loving family. Your active duty status and even your deployment will not stop you from choosing adoption.
As a military member, you understand discipline, ethics, and hard work. You realize that most things worth doing take work. Adoption is challenging, but it’s worth it. Adoption is a selfless decision about putting your child’s best interests above your own.
You may feel unsure about adoption because you think that it’s “giving up your baby,” but this is not giving up at all. Adoption gives your baby the safety and security of a home, the love of two stable parents, and a future full of opportunity.
Adoption is a choice that can offer the best of both worlds: for you to continue your career while giving your child the gift of life and family. Call or text us 24 hours a day at 1-800-923-6784 to receive free help and assistance with an adoption plan.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on July 4, 2014, and has since been updated.
As Vice President of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.
Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.
As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.