Adoption can be an overwhelming process for any family, but for many military families it can seem even more overwhelming. This is especially true for knowing and understanding what benefits you are entitled to as a military family. While there are many benefits for adoptive military families; here are six of some of the top adoption benefits available.
1. Military Family and Support Centers.
Each branch of the military has them but they have different names depending on the branch. It is worth reaching out to them as they would be able to talk to you and give you a thorough list of benefits that apply to your specific branch. I have worked with families in the Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, Army, and Marines and what I have found is that while most of the benefits are the same from one branch to another there are things that vary; like how many days of leave you get, etc.
2. Military OneSource.
I often get calls from Military OneSource which is a resource that families can use to help get started. They have representatives who will do some of the leg work for you (finding out costs, what type of programs agencies offer in the area where you live, etc.). Their website is www.militaryonesource.mil/.
3. Adoption Subsidy.
If you are active duty military then you are eligible for up to $2,000 in reimbursement for qualifying adoption expenses. You do need to wait until the adoption is finalized to receive it and must be active duty when the adoption is finalized. So, make sure that you keep receipts for all adoption expenses.
4. Adoption Leave.
Parents in the military are eligible for three weeks of adoption leave uncharged (at least in the Navy, again, this could vary branch to branch within the military) vs. 10 days of paternity leave for having a child biologically. This is not something that every Command is aware of, so you may need to bring in a copy of the policy to show (I had one family who had to go this route) in order to get the three weeks approved.
5. Health Insurance.
As soon as a family signs an adoptive placement agreement or their internationally adopted child comes home to them, they are able to enroll the child in DEERS and then Tricare. Families I work with typically don’t have a problem, but every so often I get calls about issues. I always say try a second person as you will probably get a different result (and they often do) or, if there are problems let me know and I, as their adoption worker, can get involved. There are Federal Laws that protect adoptive families and allow the child to be immediately added onto their health insurance as long as it is within 30 days of placement.
6. Resources after Adoption.
While your local agency should offer post adoption support as a military family you may move away from the area soon after you adopt. There are many resources for military families such as child developmental programs, confidential services, parenting resources, and family advocacy programs. While the resources and support are out there it will be important for you, as the parents, to be proactive and advocate for the services and support that your child and family will need.