Inform your command that you are going through the adoption process—this will be helpful, especially when requesting your special adoption leave. There have been several new regulations implemented concerning adoption and you may be educating your personnel section on the availability of leave and the reimbursement process if they have never submitted the paperwork before.

Service members are not eligible for adoption leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. However, Public Law 109-163 passed in 2006 allows up to 21 days of non-chargeable leave in addition to regular leave, to be used in connection with the adoption. As with any leave, this is granted at the discretion of the commander. Only service members who are eligible for reimbursement of adoption expenses are eligible for this leave. In the event that two members of the armed forces who are married to each other adopt a child in a qualifying child adoption, only one such member shall be allowed this special leave. This provision is effective January 6, 2006 and shall apply only with respect to adoptions completed on or after that date. Consistent with military requirements, commanders are encouraged to approve requests for ordinary leave once a child is placed in the home of the member for adoption to allow a period of bonding or time to establish arrangements for child care.

Each of the Services has issued a regulation or policy concerning this leave. It is important to read the regulation/policy for your service to review specific provisions. Providing your commander or personnel section with a copy of the regulation is recommended as some may be unfamiliar the change.

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