Adoption is a complicated process for any family, regardless of their lifestyle and their location. And if you are a military family, the constantly shifting variables can make you feel like you don’t qualify for it. Fortunately, you are not prohibited from adopting and in fact, you can enjoy a simplified process.
The family lawyers in the Tri-Cities understand all the laws and the steps to be undertaken by a service member and are ready to help. Additionally, they can guide you on how to take up the benefits provided for military families.
Does the Department of Defense Support Service Members in Adopting?
Luckily, service members actively serving in the U.S. military can receive support when they decide to adopt a child below 18 years. The U.S. Department of Defense provides funds that cover fees related to adopting the child, including medical expenses. However, travel expenses are not covered in the adoption reimbursement program.
The DoD also understands the importance of you bonding with the newest member of your family. Thus, you can get up to 21 leave days. Reimbursement can amount to $200,000, on top of the healthcare benefits provided until the adoption process is finalized. The funds should cover:
- Hospital expenses for the biological mother and the infant
- Other medical expenses
- Court costs and legal fees
- Fees for the birth parent to receive counseling
- Placement fees
- Adoption fees
What are the Requirements for Receiving Reimbursement?
While the military supports its members to achieve their dreams of being parents and having families with children, there are imposed rules and regulations. You might not receive a reimbursement unless your adoption and claim followed the right procedure. Here are the requirements:
- The adoption should be arranged by a source authorized under state law or a qualified adoption agency
- The adoption was finalized in a U.S. court if it was a stepchild or private adoption
- You must have been at work for at least 180 days
- The adoption was finalized while you were still on active duty
- The claim was submitted while you were still on active duty
- The claim should be submitted within two years from the date when you finalized the adoption process
An adoption attorney in Tri-Cities can help you with the application if you meet the above requirements. Once you submit the documents, you might wait 4-6 weeks for the DFAS to make a determination. If it is approved, you will be paid through direct deposit. You will also be notified in writing in case more information is needed or if the claim is denied.
What is the Adoption Process if I’m Stationed in the United States?
Every state has laws governing adoption by its residents, and adoption attorneys in Tri-Cities, WA, can tell you what is applicable to you. It is critical to understand what the law says about who can adopt, when you can get consent, and revocation of consent to adoption.
You could be wondering what happens when the child you want to adopt resides in another state, different from where you are currently stationed. The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children is there to regulate the process. If the child is outside the United States, you will have to adhere to the laws of the country the child is, the U.S. immigration law, and the laws of your state of record.
What if I’m Stationed Overseas?
You can still adopt a child when you and your family are living overseas. The laws that would apply to you if you were stationed in the United States may still apply when you live in another country. For instance, if the child you wish to adopt lives in another state, different from the State of your legal residence, the laws in the two states will govern the process.
If the child is from another country, you ought to comply with their home country laws and your country of residence laws – if they are different. You may find that some countries do not permit the adoption of children with certain medical or educational needs. So, it is essential to remain aware of the possible limitations and the different types and methods of adoption.
Notably, the agreements and policies between the United States and the countries where its military personnel is stationed can make it favorable for service members to adopt from those countries. Remember that the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) treaty between the two countries affects the relocation of children. And don’t forget that you can bring the child back to the United States based on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services policy.
What is Different About a Home Study for a Military Family?
In the home study, which takes 2-10 months, the prospective adoptive parents are educated, prepared, and be subjected to some information gathering. Remember to involve Tri-Cities family law attorneys to get proper guidance.
The process for military families is similar to that of civilian families. However, military families may encounter the following:
- More Criminal Background Checks than is typical. Adoptive agencies might conduct a background check for every state you have lived in.
- Questions on the Child’s Stability. Agencies may want to know how you will ensure that the child has a stable environment to grow in. It is critical to mention the family support, healthcare, and health insurance the military provides regardless of where you are.
If, midway into the home study, your family receives orders for permanent change of residence (PCS), you might have the home study documents transferred to an agency near your new home. Some agencies might decline such arrangements because they prefer to use their own protocols in the study. And if your family had already been matched with a child before the order to move, the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children should grant you permission to move the minor.
A Compassionate Family Law Firm Guiding You
If you are thinking of expanding your military family, you might need an attorney to aggressively advocate for you. Why should you be overwhelmed by the difficulty of the process, yet you can ask for professional help.
At Pacific Northwest Family Law, we can help you overcome obstacles with our experience and knowledge, and soon your family’s dreams can become a reality. Give us a call on 509-572-3700 to discuss the date of your first free appointment if you’re in Richland, Walla Walla, or Spokane.