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Adoption? How About a Proposal First

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I am enlisted in the Army and have a girlfriend who I really love. She has a son. However, he is not mine.

I want to adopt him. I love him as if he is my own child. So should I adopt him before I deploy in August or wait until I come home in five months?

Question #2: Is there military housing on a base close to where I will be so I can see my family more often while I am gone?

And Question  #3: Should I propose before I leave?


Dear MJ,

Whoooaaahhh!! Let's slow this train down, OK?  I couldn't help but notice that the first question you asked was about adopting your girlfriend's child. The second was about post housing. The third question was about the proposal.

While you said you really love your girlfriend, you didn't say you were "in love" with her and that this is the girl you cannot live without.

MJ, I see this scenario all too often. A guy meets a girl with a child and the child's father is not in his/her life.

In your situation, this little boy -- as sweet as he is -- is pulling on your heartstrings. You may even see yourself in this kid and you want to take care of him. 

There is nothing wrong with dating a woman who has children. But for a young soldier, you could be inheriting a lot of problems that you can't handle. Guess what happens? These problems become your unit's problems, too.

I think you are moving too fast. You have too many unknowns and you should focus on yourself right now.

Honestly, I think you should just wait until after you deploy to do everything. What's the rush? You need to get to know her and her son better.

Right now, you are quite infatuated with her son and in love with the idea of being a father. You feel needed and wanted. This is normal, but I think if you wait until after deployment it will give you something to look forward to.

If you wait to propose after the deployment, you also get to see how your girlfriend responds to stress, how she responds to your deployment and if she is trustworthy. Right now, she just needs to be a good military girlfriend.

You also want to know what her relationship is like with her son's biological father. Where is he in this picture?

Bottom line, you have a lot to consider. Please try to stay very objective about my concerns. Write me back.

Ms. Vicki

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Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, has been the Dear Abby for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology.

Ms. Vicki appears regularly on and in the Fort Campbell Courier. Her column has also appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Looking for advice about your military life? Email Ms. Vicki here. Find Ms. Vicki on Facebook here.  Find Ms. Vicki on Twitter here.