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Considering military adoption? Eight things service families should know

Planning on adopting? Military OneSource can help. Photo credit: Military OneSource

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Adoption is a great way to start or grow your family. The joy a child brings can be priceless. Uncle Sam also provides substantial support when you adopt. This includes assistance with adoption costs, tax credits and other benefits.

Military adoption benefits, process and other considerations

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.

Discuss the following with your partner and your adoption agency, and add Military OneSource and AdoptUSKids to your contacts list.

  1. Learning about adoption. The adoption process is a journey; each journey starts with a first step. Let Military OneSource be your first step. Call 800-342-9647 to connect to a Military OneSource adoption consultant, who can provide guidance on beginning the adoption process, military financial assistance and much more. It's free!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. And due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Defense Department has announced that applications for adoption reimbursement may be accepted past the two-year deadline. The exception to policy is effective immediately and will remain in effect through Feb. 28, 2022. View the policy details to find out if you qualify for the extension.
  6. Obtaining leave. Service members may to eligible for 21 days of non-chargeable adoption leave.
  7. 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.
  8. Getting a tax credit. Families adopting a child may qualify for a tax credit (up to $14,300 in per child) to help offset adoption costs. If you can't use all the credit in one year, it may be carried forward for up to 5 years. 

Whether you're just starting to think about adoption or have completed it and have any questions, you can depend on Military OneSource. Call 800-342-9647 for 24/7 help.

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