Military adoption: Fact vs Fiction

  • Just over 3 in 10 would describe a military parent as ‘regimented’ or ‘strict’
  • Just under 2 in 5 Brits think working in the military would make it harder to adopt
  • 1 in 12 Brits think being in a transgender couple would disqualify you from adoption

New research conducted by SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity has highlighted some of the general publics’ misconceptions surrounding military adoption. SSAFA wants to debunk the myths and encourage Armed Forces personnel to consider adoption. There are over 2000 children currently waiting for a home in the UK*.

The research found that just over 3 in 10 Brits would describe military parents as regimented (32%) or strict (31%), and just 24 per cent of Brits would describe a military parent as loving. Even more shockingly, 20 per cent of 16-24-year olds think all military parents suffer from PTSD, when only 6% of those in the military actually suffer from PTSD*. This is just one of the stereotypes that SSAFA dispel every day, knowing the positive outcomes for children placed for adoption with military families.

It is perhaps not surprising that research participants recognise that the adoption process may be harder for someone in the Forces, just under 2 in 5 (38%) Brits say that working in the military would make being considered for adoption more difficult.

SSAFA has been a registered independent adoption agency since 2000 and was developed to counteract the difficulties faced by some serving personnel looking to adopt. While many members of the Armed Forces can adopt via their Local Authority, some adoption agencies do not accept applications from serving personnel due to misconceptions about the military lifestyle. SSAFA are the experts in military adoption and understand the complex demands of military life. SSAFA has worked successfully with individuals and couples from all service backgrounds to create loving families.

Whilst being in the military can make adoption harder, Brits believe other things can make adoption tougher too. The survey showed the factors* that are considered to make qualifying for adoption hard include:

  • earning less than £30K (33%)
  • being a single parent (48%)
  • being over the age of 40 (41%)
  • being in a transgender couple (36%)

SSAFA works with a wide variety of people, providing homes for children with a range of needs. It recognises that there is no typical adoptive parent and welcomes enquires from anyone who feels they would like more information about adoption.

Jill Farrelly, Head of Adoption Service at SSAFA, says:

The misconceptions surrounding military parents and who would be eligible for adoption may be stopping potential adopters coming forward. I would urge anyone considering adoption to contact SSAFA and give one of thousands of children waiting for a forever home a chance of family life.

“People who have served, or are serving, within the Armed Forces tend to be resilient, tenacious and resourceful with a can-do attitude and a sense of humour, which are particularly useful attributes when it comes to parenting vulnerable children who have had a difficult start in life.”

If you or someone you know is currently serving and would like to adopt, encourage them to get in touch with SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity. To find out more, visit

About SSAFA:

SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, has been providing lifelong support to our Forces and their families since 1885. Last year our teams of volunteers and employees helped more than 82,000 people in need, from Second World War veterans to young men and women who have served in more recent conflicts, and their families. SSAFA understands that behind every uniform is a person. And we are here for that person – any time they need us, in any way they need us, for as long as they need us.

About the survey:

The research was conducted by Censuswide, with 2,022 general consumers aged 16+ in the UK between 28.08.2019 – 02.09.2019. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles. 

Our Executive Members

By @Cobseo 54 years ago

Afghanistan support

In light of recent events in Afghanistan, please find information and support resources here