Adoption and the Military

Photo credit: Benjamin Manley. A woman sits on a bench, back to the camera, with her arms around two small children

Overview
The Department of Defense (DoD) has stated that family support is critical for service members. It supports service members who decide to adopt children and tries hard to support families during the adoption process.
 

There are several types of adoptions, including:

• Adoption of a stepchild

• Adoption of a foster child

• Private agency adoption

• Public agency adoption

• International adoptions (may include a re-adoption in the states)

 

Adoption Laws

No. Laws about adoption are different from state to state.

There are some laws that are common among most states and some federal regulations that may benefit service members during the adoption process. This fact sheet only covers what is most common.

It is necessary to understand the adoption process and laws in your state. You will likely need to speak to an attorney about your particular circumstances. The Child Welfare Information Gateway is a good place to begin learning about the adoption process and the various state laws about adoption.

 

Is there help available for the adoption process?

Yes. It may be helpful to review the Factsheet for Families to learn more about the adoption process and help available to get through it.

Generally, the DoD provides two main benefits to service members adopting an infant or child:

  1. Reimbursement of adoption expenses up to a certain amount and
     
  2. The authorization for leaders to permit their service members up to 21 days on non-chargeable leave following an adoption.

     

Do these benefits apply to me?

To receive any money you must qualify for reimbursement and complete an adoption through a qualified adoption agency.* Installation service providers can help identify local qualified adoption agencies.
 

* a qualified adoption agency is either a state or local government agency that has the responsibility by law for child placement or a nonprofit, voluntary agency authorized by state or local law to facilitate adoption and placement of children.

 

What do I need to do?

For adoption of children in the United States:

  • Submit a claim for reimbursement by completing DD Form 2675 titled Reimbursement Request for Adoption Expenses.
     
  • Provide documents that support the claim to the installation personnel office. Supporting documents may include:
     
    • A copy of the final court order of adoption,
       
    • Receipts or cancelled checks that show authorized expenses, or
       
    • Proof that the adoption agency is a qualified agency.
       

For adoption of children outside the United States:

  • Submit a claim for reimbursement by completing DD Form 2675 titled Reimbursement Request for Adoption Expenses.
     
  • Provide documents that support the claim to the installation personnel office. Supporting documents may include:
     
    • Copies of receipts or cancelled checks,
       
    • Proof that the adoption agency is a qualified agency,
       
    • The adoption decree (translated if not in English), or
       
    • Proof of U.S. citizenship status for the child.
      • To prove citizenship status of the child, service members can provide any of the following:
        • A copy of the front and back of the Permanent Resident Alien Card (green card) showing the IR-3 code,
           
        • A letter from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services which states the status of the child’s adoption,
           
        • A copy of the child’s U.S. passport (page with personal information only), or
           
        • A copy of the child’s Certificate of Citizenship
           

Other Resources:

 

Resource Date: July 2018, Updated May 2020