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    National Adoption Awareness Month: The Weber Family

    National Adoption Awareness Month: The Weber Family

    Courtesy Photo | This old family photo taken on July 1, 2016, shows U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr....... read more read more

    SEATTLE, WA, UNITED STATES

    11.27.2018

    Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ali Flockerzi 

    U.S. Coast Guard District 13

    U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Weber is intimately familiar with the phrase families come in all shapes and sizes.

    Weber, the logistics department head stationed at Maritime Force Protection Unit in Bangor, Wash., and his wife, who already had three biological children, decided to pursue the adoption of six more children from Ukraine.

    “We felt so blessed to be living in the United States and began praying about how we could serve God,” said Weber. “During that time, we learned about orphan hosting programs that bring children from Eastern European orphanages to the United States to spend several weeks with a family.”

    The design of this program is to introduce orphans to families and eventually have those children adopted.

    How did this military family begin and work through the adoption process? Enter May Chao, a Family Resource Specialist who works at the Coast Guard 13th District, Office of Work-Life, on Base Seattle.

    Chao and her colleagues work daily to spread knowledge and provide resources for a variety of important life events, including adoption.

    “Adopting a child can be a very exciting but overwhelming process,” said Chao. “I would encourage military families to connect with others who have been through the process, as this is helpful with overcoming challenges related to adoption. I’d also recommend families reach out to local adoption groups in the area to receive additional support.”

    The Webers went through two long adoption processes in order to bring six children back from Ukraine. The entire process, from the decision to pursue adoption until the time they brought the kids home, took about nine months.

    Weber recalled the process requiring lots of paperwork, waiting, money and more waiting. Specifically, in order to adopt, the couple had to notarize documents, complete a home study, register with the U.S. immigration department and visit Ukraine multiple times.

    During each visit to Ukraine, the Webers had to formally select and spend time with the children, fill out paperwork, attend court dates, visit the children’s birth villages, fill out more paperwork, get medical tests and take a trip to the U.S. Embassy prior to flying back to the United States.

    The Weber family paid a large fee to an agency that assisted them during these prolonged visits and helped facilitate the process.

    “I have no regrets about the adoption process and it truly was a test in faith,” said Weber. “It was comforting to see God provide during our times of need and I remember numerous occasions where we had to rely on him for the money or the action needed for the next step. The help came through people we knew and people we’d never met.”

    While some families pay out of pocket for adoption fees and other expenses, it is important to know that the Coast Guard has several programs available to help support those interested in adoption.

    One of these is the adoption reimbursement program, which allows active duty members and reservists on active duty for at least 180 days to be eligible for reimbursement of up to $2,000 per child per year and a maximum of $5,000 in any calendar year, within budget constraints.

    Coast Guard Mutual Assistance offers two types of assistance directly related to the legal adoption of a child: an interest-free loan up to $6,000 for qualified expenses relating to the adoption and a grant for the cost of a home study fee, not to exceed $1,000.

    In addition, Coast Guard members may be eligible for a tax credit for qualifying expenses related to the adoption.

    When the Webers began adopting their children, all six of their adopted kids were between the ages of 8 and 14. Today, now a grand total of nine, the Weber children are Levi, 4, Dawson, 7, Bryce, 13, Grayson, 13, Wesley, 14, Joel, 15, Stephen, 16, Valerie, 17, and Reuben, 19.

    The family is thankful they were able to fulfill their desire to serve God and make the world a better place.

    “There are millions of orphans on this planet,” said Weber. “The undisputable design is for children to grow up in loving families and the more families that are able to adopt, the less orphans there will be in the world.”

    To learn more about adoption services in your local area, visit:
http://www.nationaladoptionday.org/adoption-resources/

    For information about the adoption process reimbursements, visit:
https://www.dcms.uscg.mil/Our-Organization/Assistant-Commandant-for-Human-Resources-CG-1/Health-Safety-and-Work-Life-CG-11/Office-of-Work-Life-CG-111/Adoption-Reimbursement/

    For information specific to the 13th Coast Guard District Base Seattle Work-Life Office, contact Ms. May Chao at 206-217-6786.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 11.27.2018
    Date Posted: 11.27.2018 15:36
    Story ID: 301364
    Location: SEATTLE, WA, US 

    Web Views: 135
    Downloads: 0
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