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Hello, and welcome to Lemonade Tales! Pardon the dust while I get things rolling. I hope you enjoy the stories of inspiration, courage, and grace. I am humbled by each and every person and their personal struggles. This is the …

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Adoption & the Military Life

adoption and the militaryMy husband joined the military at age 36 and we got married the next year. I guess we like to start major life changes late in life. Now, we want to start a family. After months of trying to conceive, we sought out infertility assistance. The Army provides a lot of great resources for those that are experiencing fertility issues. Unfortunately, our specific condition wasn’t easily fixable and came with lots of complications and very expensive therapies that “might” work.

So that dream died.

Adoption has always been on the table for us. My mother was adopted and my stepfather adopted me when he married my mom, so I have always felt that adoption is a beautiful option to grow your family. We began the adoption process about a year ago. It has not been easy. If anyone ever tells you it is easy, they are lying to you. But it is especially challenging for military families. We have even found that agencies look down on military couples, which has been heartbreaking for us. For every challenge that military families face, I can think of reasons of how those challenges make the family stronger and the children more prepared for whatever life will throw at them.

The Time:

It takes well over a year to adopt, and if you have to move in the process there is a high likelihood you will have to start from the beginning all over again after the move. Not to mention, you will need to be able to complete the paperwork, attend the classes, and arrange for social worker meetings all on a military schedule. This can be daunting. But thankfully we are able to schedule and work out almost impossible deadlines to make things work.

Moving/PCSing:

Military families move. You may have to relocate. The military provides various support systems to help your move be easier for you and your children. These services are simply not available for civilian moves where you are usually left to figure out your new city, where to live, and get the kids registered for school. And that’s assuming you know where to start and can hit the ground running. On the other hand, military families share Facebook groups and resources on post to help them get settled faster and transition easier. The gift of networking is essential in military life. Children learn the ability to make new friends, which will serve them well for the rest of their lives.

The Job:

The military requires training (away from the family) for days and weeks at a time. In addition, there is the ever-looming possibility of yearlong deployment that hangs over the family. But the job is one that protects our country and it takes a selfless person who is willing to sacrifice time with their families, the comforts of civilian life, and a normal sleep schedule for your protection to fit the bill. This is a person of solid character. Families often volunteer to help others in the unit, and this shows children how giving back can make this world a better place.

Structure:

People who are in the military are known for being a bit more rigid and structured in their thinking. The image of drill sergeant often comes to mind. But I think it is often quite the opposite. We have to be very flexible and resilient to change. We have to be able to go with the flow, change plans at the last minute, and make dinner that many times gets uneaten due to “work.” A military family understands how to make things work, as they need to. Bringing kids into the mix adds a new dynamic and military families are better able to adapt and change.

Separations:

Since family usually live in other communities or out of state, a military spouse has to be able to do things on his/her own without much support from their loved ones. They have to create their own families and build friendships in their temporary homes. They watch people come and go. They have to find out information all on their own when a military spouse is gone for training or deployments. They become extremely capable and independent beings. They learn how to change tires, to kill bugs, and to do things they wouldn’t normally get the chance to. They create their own holidays and traditions for their family. I think this also makes us appreciate each other so much more. Military families are some of the most supportive people out there and this support system is something kids can carry with them as they get older.

Exposure to Diversity:

The military is a melting pot of cultures from all over the country and even other parts of world. There is no other job that I can think of that will provide opportunities in such a small geographic location to meet new people and learn new things. The ability to broaden horizons will benefit children in ways that a book could never teach.

Military Life is a Good Life:

The military tends to get a bad rap and the “military brat” label is very cliché. But the lessons, skills, and examples in military life can enrich children’s lives in ways not possible growing up in the civilian world. Shame on those who don’t see beyond the stereotypes portrayed in movies and the attention-grabbing headlines to learn how wonderful this life can really be.

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