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Information and support for service members and their families. About the Call Center.
Adoption and Foster Care — The Essentials
Adoption and foster care can be great ways to start and grow your military family, but there are some aspects to both adoption and fostering that are unique to military life. Whether you’re just starting to think about adoption and foster care or have completed the process and have questions, you can depend on Military OneSource for both the guidance and information you need to make the process go more smoothly and for ongoing support of your new family.
Military families have six adoption options, including agency adoption, independent adoption, identified adoption (a blend of agency and independent adoption), open adoption (where there is communication between adoptive parents, the birth parents and the child,) intercountry adoption and foster care adoption. You’ll want to know the ins and outs of each approach so you can think carefully about what kind of support you’ll need in the process.Military OneSource adoption consultations
Adoption consultations are available to answer your questions during every stage of the adoption process. Specially trained adoption consultants can help you understand your adoption options, locate sources of military-related financial assistance, learn about state-specific requirements, and identify agencies and resources to help you with your family’s specific needs. Learn more about adoption specialty consultations.Intercountry adoption
Adoption can be more complicated when living overseas, but there are agencies and support groups to guide you. Many military families in the same situation successfully adopt every year. If the timing’s right for you to grow your family, living overseas won’t be an obstacle to adoption. Learn more by visiting the U.S. Department of State Intercountry Adoption web page.Financial benefits of adoption
There are a number of available financial benefits for military families considering adoption, including reimbursement for eligible adoption expenses and a tax credit. You can claim up to $2,000 per child and $5,000 per calendar year in reimbursement for certain adoption expenses and may be eligible of a tax credit of no more than $14,400 per child. Learn more in the following resources, and ask your adoption consultant for additional information:Adoption home study
Adoption involves a lot of steps, one of which is a home study. It’s a standard part of the adoption process. Working closely with a social worker or counselor, a home study can take several months. Try to be patient. Understand that a thorough home study is in the best interest of you and the child you plan to welcome into your family. Learn more in this downloadable form The Adoption Home Study Process from the Child Welfare Gateway.
Foster care provides temporary homes to children who are removed from their homes due to health, safety or other circumstances. Foster care is designed with the goal of reuniting families once the crisis or situation leading to foster care has been resolved. When reuniting children with their families is not possible foster children may be placed for adoption. An estimated quarter of a million children are placed in foster care in our country each year and there are not enough foster homes to meet the need.
Military families can play a critical role in helping foster children overcome challenging life experiences by providing a stable and supportive home environment through the foster care program in their state. There are a variety of different resources to assist military families who are exploring foster care opportunities.Military OneSource adoption consultations
Adoption consultations are available to answer your questions during every stage of the adoption or fostering process. Specially trained consultants can help you understand your fostering options, locate sources of military-related financial assistance, learn about state-specific requirements, and identify agencies and resources to help you with your family’s specific needs. Learn more about adoption specialty consultation.AdoptUSKids foster care information
Foster care is a great way to start or grow your family. Child welfare community members are increasingly viewing fostering as an important step toward adoption as many of the children who are not reunified with their birth families are adopted by their foster parents. For information about foster care programs and how to become a foster care parent, visit the AdoptUSKids website.
Benefits enrollment information for new family members
- Child Welfare Information Gateway — Adoption
- Child Welfare Information Gateway — Foster Care
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Children’s Bureau Adoption information
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Children’s Bureau Foster Care information
- Legal Assistance and Paperwork for Service Members and Military Families
The Military Family Readiness System offers an array of parenting and family support for the military community from in-person resources, like the New Parent Support Program and installation Military and Family Support Centers, to the wide variety of online resources, such as the Thrive parenting program and more. Check out the following links for more information: