When I started a blog called “Of Capes and Combat Boots” six months ago, several of my friends wondered what one — “capes” — had to do with the other — “combat boots.”
We are a superhero-loving family — when our boys are wearing nothing else as they dash across our property chasing each other with Nerf guns, they’re wearing capes.
But the man who got us INTO superheroes (and Smallville — oh how I miss agonizing over Clark and Lana’s romance during those post-deployment marathon nights) is OUR biggest superhero of all time: OUR SOLDIER.
So as the boys and I play superheroes, read entire stacks of books about superheroes and decorate our bedrooms in the themes of superheroes, we also love standing by and watching OUR greatest superhero as he protects and defends our COUNTRY.
We just get to play the part; our soldier, he LIVES it.
And as we watch him serve as a warrior for our country, he’s inspired US to become warriors on the HOMEFRONT.
For military spouses. For military children. And for what we call superheroes-in-waiting — the 132 million orphans around the world who have no parent to gift them a cape and teach them how to fly. The 132 million deserving children who are just waiting for someone to BELIEVE IN THEM … and nurture their SUPER.
As our five-some has begun advocating for these precious superheroes-in-waiting this year, we’ve discovered that not every military family is as excited about adoption and orphan care as we are. The whole “my-soldier-is-gone-six-months-a-year” thing sometimes cramps the style of those military families who might otherwise adopt.
(And believe me, we get it! Supersoldier being gone more months a year than he’s been home the last three years has changed some of our plans, too!)
But while we often hear from military families all the reasons why they would make horrible orphan advocates and adoptive parents, we’ve seen how they can actually be some of the BIGGEST champions of these sweet superheroes.
Because in the end, military life has prepared all of us FAR MORE for this crazy journey called “adoption” and “orphan hosting” than almost any other life event or status has.
10 Reasons Military Families Make Great Adoptive and Host Families
1. We already KNOW what it’s like to pick up everything we own, leave everything we know and move to a new land where we have to learn a brand new language. (It’s called Acronym.)
2. We already SPEAK Acronym. LOA, LOI, LID, DTC, TA and CCAA are easy to learn when you know your service member’s MOS and SSN, you possess a POA, your soldier’s other vehicle is a HMMWV, you shop at AAFES and DeCA and, occasionally, to survive it all, the Class VI, because you are waiting on your next PCS orders, which will probably come ASAP.
3. Government forms and endless paperwork don’t scare us. And we are already well-practiced at carrying large files of documents we have to promise not to lose for the rest of our military lives. Plus, we’ve already made best friends with every soldier in the S shop, who can issue a free notarization any day of the week.
4. We are already masters of flexibility. Date of redeployment change or travel date change? No problem! Just add more M&Ms to the countdown jar or links to the countdown chain.
5. Hurry up and wait is just part of our blood. So rushing through a homestudy and USCIS fingerprints and dossier send-off, only to wait for weeks or months to move forward with a child, seems only natural.
6. Short deployments to children’s hospitals across the country are nothing compared to the longer ones that normally span across the world.
7. We already know how to keep boundaries. No, mother-in-law, you can’t visit the night of honey’s homecoming. And no, bro, when we return on a plane from another country, you also can’t pick up our new child. For at least six months. Until we’re all bonded. Or until I’m so exhausted that boundaries become a lesser priority over my personal sanity.
8. We are masters at readiness meetings. We already know how to constantly be looking ahead and preparing for the next challenge.
9. We know how to meet quickly, love fiercely and pour out our entire life story to another person … within one hour of meeting. When you make friends like you are speed dating, you can easily adopt children like you’ve been forever mom. Because fast, fierce, furious love is just a lifestyle.
10. We already know that family is not defined by BLOOD but by LOVE. That’s why battle buddies give their lives for their comrades, why military friends become military sisters on the homefront. We, more than most people, know that sometimes, family is a CHOICE.
Besides these, we as military families receive the blessing of financial and healthcare support for any children we bring into the home. The military offers a $2,000 adoption reimbursement to all active duty adoptive families, and military families have the privilege of FUNDED (not free — our tax-paying friends and family fund this) healthcare. Which means that a child who needs weekly doctor appointments or thousands of dollars in surgery can GET that in a military family’s care. At no cost to us.
Through 12 years of married military life, nine deployments, one international adoption and one-going-on-two orphan hosting sessions, we’ve learned that military life is NOT our burden as we advocate for the deserving superheroes-in-waiting we love so much. It’s our BLESSING.
We just have to be willing to VIEW it that way.
A massive thanks to Leia, Mary, Erin and Stefi, some of my BEAUTIFUL military adoptive mama friends, who contributed to this fabulous list.