Adoption Triad: Helping Military Families Navigate the Adoption Process

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February 2022   |   Archive   |   National Adoption Month   

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Helping Military Families Navigate the Adoption Process

Military families may be well suited for adoption because they have experience with adapting to change and may encounter and/or live among a range of diverse cultures. Additionally, they likely have access to training, services, and an extended support system through the military. To help these families be successful in meeting the needs of children who are adopted, professionals need to learn about military culture and the needs of these families.

When considering adoptive homes for children, it is important to recognize the individual needs of each child or youth when determining whether a specific family is a good fit. There are certain aspects of military life that professionals should consider before placing a child with a military family. For instance, most families will have regular moves when their station changes and many will have to adjust when one family member is deployed. A family's changing residency may present logistical challenges in the preadoption stage, such as conducting background checks, completing the home study, and finalizing the adoption in the court with jurisdiction, all of which could delay achieving permanency for the child or youth. But if professionals and families are flexible and create a detailed plan, these issues can be addressed.

It is also important to consider the child's history and assess how the child will respond to a lifestyle where change is frequent. Professionals can talk with the military family about how they maintain stability and routines in their homes even when the geographical location may change. If a parent will be deployed, professionals can help the family plan for how the family will maintain contact and connection to that parent, which can help minimize feelings of separation and loss the child might experience. All in all, rather than ruling out a military family, it is important to assess the parents' ability to meet the child's needs as you would with any potential adoptive family. 

3 Resources on Supporting Military Families With the Adoption Process



By National Military
Family Association


Working With Military Families as They Pursue Adoption of Children and Youth

By Child Welfare
Information Gateway



Supporting Military Families in Adoption


    By National Council
for Adoption



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