Adopting a child can take several months to years and can cost thousands of dollars. But the happy returns of a child are limitless. Military life is no longer a barrier to adoption as it once was, and service members have several military adoption benefits.
- Learning about adoption. The adoption process is a journey; each journey starts with a first step. Requirements and standard practices for adoption vary across states, and can get even more complex if you and your family are thinking about inter-country adoption. Know your state’s rules and regulations.
- Moving. It’s easier to complete the process at one duty station. If you move during the process, you may have to repeat some costly steps. Getting deployed could put things on hold.
- Living overseas. Look for an agency used to working with U.S. citizens living abroad. Living overseas also can complicate required criminal background checks. Your agency or military law enforcement office at your overseas duty station may be helpful here.
- Traveling issues. You’ll likely need to travel if adopting from another state or country. This can pose an issue for service members who don’t have flexibility. Discuss this early with your agency to come up with a backup plan.
- Reducing expenses. Thanks to the Department of Defense Adoption Reimbursement Policy, you can claim up to $2,000 per child and $5,000 per calendar year in reimbursement for certain adoption expenses.
- Obtaining leave. Service members may to eligible for 21 days of non-chargeable adoption leave.
- Getting health insurance. Children are automatically covered under TRICARE, but after a certain amount of time—the time period varies based on your TRICARE plan—the parent must submit an enrollment application to maintain coverage.
- Getting a tax credit. Families adopting a child may qualify for a tax credit (up to $13,400 in 2015) to help offset adoption costs. If you can’t use all the credit in one year, it may be carried forward.
Source: Military OneSource: www.militairyonesource.mil