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Stalwart
06-13-2014, 10:09 PM
We adopted a child from China in January and I have found the following information very beneficial:

Adoption Expenses Reimbursement -- you can get reimbursed up to $2,000 per year per child (max of $5k) of approved adoption expenses.

Refs: DoD Instruction 1341.9 and DoD Financial Management Regulation Volume 7A, Appendix A

DFAS: http://www.dfas.mil/militarymembers/payentitlements/adoptionreimbursement.html
DTIC: http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/134109p.pdf

Non-chargeable leave / Adoption Leave Reimbursement -- you can get up to 21 days of non-chargable leave (in the Navy you take the leave and if you qualify for the Expense Reimbursement you then qualify for a leave reimbursement.

In accordance with federal law, service members may be authorized up to 21 days of non-chargeable leave following an adoption. This leave authorization is not automatic and must be approved by the service member's supervisor, and may be denied depending on mission requirements and certain circumstances.

To be eligible for authorized leave, the service member must meet the eligibility requirements for the Adoption Reimbursement Program and the adoption must have been completed after January 6, 2006. For dual-military couples who adopt a child, this leave may be authorized for only one service member.

Ref: DoD Instruction 1327.06
DTIC: http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/132706p.pdf

General Information on Military Adoption:

ChildWelfare.Gov: https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/f_milita.cfm
National Military Family Association: http://www.militaryfamily.org/your-benefits/adoption/

AFKILO7
06-14-2014, 12:39 PM
We adopted a child from China in January and I have found the following information very beneficial:

Adoption Expenses Reimbursement -- you can get reimbursed up to $2,000 per year per child (max of $5k) of approved adoption expenses.

Refs: DoD Instruction 1341.9 and DoD Financial Management Regulation Volume 7A, Appendix A

DFAS: http://www.dfas.mil/militarymembers/payentitlements/adoptionreimbursement.html
DTIC: http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/134109p.pdf

Non-chargeable leave / Adoption Leave Reimbursement -- you can get up to 21 days of non-chargable leave (in the Navy you take the leave and if you qualify for the Expense Reimbursement you then qualify for a leave reimbursement.

In accordance with federal law, service members may be authorized up to 21 days of non-chargeable leave following an adoption. This leave authorization is not automatic and must be approved by the service member's supervisor, and may be denied depending on mission requirements and certain circumstances.

To be eligible for authorized leave, the service member must meet the eligibility requirements for the Adoption Reimbursement Program and the adoption must have been completed after January 6, 2006. For dual-military couples who adopt a child, this leave may be authorized for only one service member.

Ref: DoD Instruction 1327.06
DTIC: http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/132706p.pdf

General Information on Military Adoption:

ChildWelfare.Gov: https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/f_milita.cfm
National Military Family Association: http://www.militaryfamily.org/your-benefits/adoption/

My wife and I have begun researching what we need to know to get smart on adopting. Thank you for the information and references! How was the process for adopting a child from China?

Stalwart
06-19-2014, 12:48 AM
How was the process for adopting a child from China?

We decided to adopt from China after several (disappointing) years of trying to adopt domestically. At first like most people, we wanted a healthy child who was as young as possible, realizing that:

1. There are not too many of those in the foster system and

2. The wait could be infinite we reevaluated why we wanted to adopt and opened our preferences to a child up to age 15, any race, with any medical issues to include HIV/AIDS short of demonstrated schizophrenia or extreme violence in the home.

After about 2 years of trying that route we decided to pursue an international adoption and chose China for the following reasons:

1. An established international adoption program. China has been doing this a while.

2. A systematic program. Once you get logged in and get your Log in Date (LID) you are in the queue. It is not necessarily that once your LID comes up you get the next child in line, you are allowed to express preferences and the China Center for Adoption Affairs does match based on profiles, but for the most part you wait your turn and no amount of celebrity or money bumps you up in line unless you are willing to be matched to a special needs child.

3. VERY low rate of prenatal exposure to drugs or alcohol (culturally it just isn’t something women in China do … period.)

4. The fee system for Chinese adoption was up front – expensive but they are very blunt about what the fees are. Most South American and Eastern European programs have ‘variable’ fees. IT is not cheap.
We picked an agency with their main office located in the US and with offices in China. They were well reviewed (they had some complaints but overall the reviews were good – once we contacted them they gave us a referral list of people who had used them and some were people who had complained … we appreciated the openness.)

Our agency had 3 different service levels:

1. Basic – You do pretty much everything. This was the cheapest option.

2. Intermediate – You do the initial paperwork, then the agency takes over for things like courier services in China, document translation, document filing with Dept of State etc.

3. The “Angelina Jolie” – They send someone ‘TAD’ to your hometown, you sign a power of attorney and they do it all … crazy expensive.

Once you complete your home-study (think of it as an SSBI but they come inspect your home) and get your LID, you just wait. Once you get your referral, you have 96 hours to accept or return the referral. We were open to a wide variety of medical issues and when we got our referral for our daughter we were told she had a cleft lip, cleft palate and an rib eversion (rib rotated slightly outward.) We had a doctor review the medical records we were provided and most importantly was that developmentally and cognitively she was okay. We accepted the referral and due to the timing we needed to update our home-study and prepare to travel to get her.


Once we arrived in China, we were in Beijing for 2 nights and did some required cultural familiarity (sightseeing) to the Great Wall and Forbidden City. This was actually good since it allowed us to adjust our sleeping rhythm and adjust from jet lag and to be honest … probably won’t get a chance to go see that stuff again. We arrived in her provincial capital on a Sunday night, the province was in south-central China and was a very agricultural area. The next morning we were driven 4 ½ hours to her orphanage and got her for a 24-hour ‘intimacy period’ to decide if we wanted to finalize the adoption. We spoke to the orphanage staff about her habits and likes. She was found (they think) the day after she was born across the street from the orphanage in a park, she was left in a “basket” in the middle of a path – her mother wanted her found. We went over there to see the spot and I spent a while tracking down the newspaper announcement of her being found, it was 3 ½ years in the past so it was hard to locate in the newspaper offices.


She was a very happy child and just played and played as we did the initial paperwork, but once we left to go back to the hotel, she started crying and screaming and did not stop for about 6 hours. The only possessions she had were the clothes on her back which were very worn out, her shoes were worn out and way too big (when a child gets placed they tend to turn them over in worn out clothing so they keep good clothing for the kids in the orphanage.) We brought clothes for her, all of it was 3T, we knew she was small but even at 3 ½ years old the 3T clothing was too big for her. We needed to buy her some new (smaller) clothes and some other shoes too. The next day we went to the local Children’s Affairs office to finalize the adoption and they gave us her birth certificate (made that day), certificate of abandonment and our adoption finalization. We had to stay in the province for a few days to get her passport. The rest of the province time was just bonding and getting familiar with her. We were the only westerners we saw and had many locals approaching us and telling us how lucky she was and how good of people we must be to adopt her.


Next we flew to Guangzhou which is the financial capital of China. Stayed in a western hotel and there are a lot of westerners there. The US consulate there is where you get your child’s visas and immigration paperwork so all the adopting families transit through there; there were about a dozen total families while we were there. We came home at the end of Jan and just 2 weeks ago go her naturalization certificate (it is supposed to take 6-8 weeks.)


She is a very resilient kid, she has had 5 surgeries in 4 months to correct her lip and palate. We found out that she had a very strong (oral medication resistant) urinary tract infection that was caused by a large bladder stone – this explains why initially we were told she was potty trained but when we got her she went to the bathroom (in a diaper all the time) 20-25 times a day … no control. Now that the stone is gone she is about 99% potty trained. Her lip took 2 surgeries and they combined palate correction with those and her palate is now closed. She is learning English very quickly and understands it well, she understood Mandarin but is losing it quickly since we do not speak it. She is learning to speak English, she did not really speak Mandarin (the opening in her lip was very large and the opening in her palate complicated her being able to form sounds.)


I don’t often say things like this, but we have been truly blessed. For all the bumps in her life in the last few months she is always smiling and laughing and is one of the happiest children I have ever seen. I am very surprised that she was not placed for 3 ½ years since lip and palate issues are very correctable. We are lucky that we use the Family Health Care program at Johns Hopkins so she is seeing some of the best surgeons in the country for what she needs and it is all FREE.


Overall the experience was very good, it took a while but in the end I think we were matched with the right child and as often as people tell us that she is lucky, I feel like we are really the lucky ones.

ChiefB
08-09-2015, 06:13 AM
Well done Stalwart. The very best to you and your new daughter.

UncaRastus
08-09-2015, 01:23 PM
Your wife, you, and Emma have truly been blessed! Giving an unadopted child (until y'all came across her) a home and a family and all the love that she deserves!

Being adopted myself, that does give my own heart a boost!

Mjölnir
08-13-2015, 02:25 AM
Well done Stalwart. The very best to you and your new daughter.

Thanks (I am also Stalwart)

She is doing exceedingly well. Her 5th birthday will be this weekend and she is having her first party ever (last year we were in the hospital for her birthday). She starts kindergarten in a couple of weeks.

Overall, she is the best kid in the world ... I could be biased.

ChiefB
08-13-2015, 03:40 AM
Thanks (I am also Stalwart)

She is doing exceedingly well. Her 5th birthday will be this weekend and she is having her first party ever (last year we were in the hospital for her birthday). She starts kindergarten in a couple of weeks.

Overall, she is the best kid in the world ... I could be biased.

Your love for your daughter shows exquisitely through in what you have done to make her whole again and created a place for her in your hearts and family.

My oldest son, David has a 4 yr old daughter, born in India and she too is the love of his life. I am so proud of you both.

Happy 5th to your daughter and all the best to you and your family.