Consider this a how-to guide on adopting a single soldier. When I say single soldier, I am referring to one that is not married. Some of the single soldiers in my husband and my friend group have girlfriends, but essentially these are the guys living in the barracks..
I like a challenge, so instead of adopting one single soldier, I decided to adopt an entire group.
If you’re a rookie, then I don’t advise this plan of action.
Adopting single soldiers is comparable to taking in a litter of puppies. Imagine you’re the first time dog owner in the scenario. They eat all of your food and plop on your couch. They drag grass into the house. They leave stains on the floor. A lot of the time they want to go out then come back in, and then want to go out again.
My personal experience adopting a group of single soldiers
In another sense, adopting single soldiers is like having a group of toddlers in your house. You spend a lot of money on groceries. They want to stay up late, but then they’re grumpy. They expect entertainment. They turn the TV up too loud. They all talk over each other.
Who am I kidding, I really can’t complain. My husband brought over a group of guys not long after we moved to our first duty station. These guys have not only become our good friends, but our family.
We have a group chat.
We spend holidays together.
We go out together.
We plan birthday parties together.
We have family dinners together.
These guys even planned and executed a surprise baby shower for me. Can you say sweet?!
They were among the first people to find out when our precious son came into the world, and they have loved and played with him ever since. As Colten grows, he will find out about all of his crazy adopted uncles.
Communication within military units
The main form of contact and inclusion for single soldiers is through the unit’s chaplain.
The chaplain is incredible for my husbands unit, and I have no doubt he does his best to reach all of the single guys. Not all units are as lucky as the Rangers!
Often times, the chaplain reverts to email because it is the easiest way to make sure everyone is contacted at the same time about a subject.. but how many of these guys do you know that regularly check their email?
Most Army Rangers I know shy away from using social media and technology in general. Email surely isn’t as important as it used to be.
What it means to adopt a single soldier
When you adopt a single soldier you’re becoming a second form of contact for them.
Spouses are more likely to read email updates and follow along with the local events and Facebook pages. The spouses also hear updates if they’re involved with the FRG.
As a spouse and volunteer for the FRG, I hear about upcoming battalion events and fundraisers long before my husband does.. I mean, I’m sure they tell him, but it is all in one ear and out the other!
Adopting single soldiers also means that you open up your home to them. Invite them over for holidays and weekend activities. Make them apart of your family. They’re a long way from home and the least you can do is to make them feel included.
Suggested Post: Stories from Women in the Military
Why you should have an open door policy
Young single soldiers get a bad rap, but adopting them was one of the best things I’ve ever done.
Sometime they make a mess, but they always clean up. They’ve even helped me clean up messes they weren’t around to make! They’ve loaded my furniture and helped my husband and I move from a three story apartment. They’ve walked my German Shepherd. They’ve cut my grass. On family dinner night they have helped cook and always offer to split groceries. They know my home is a safe space. They all know my door code, and are welcome anytime.
Whenever they go on leave or deploy, my life gets extremely boring. When they’re gone I miss making breakfast for everyone after a long Friday night. I miss the nights we spend screaming at each other over boardgames. I miss watching them interact with my son. I miss watching everyone build things in our garage and work on their trucks in the driveway.
If you have the chance to befriend a single soldier, then I absolutely recommend doing so.
You’ll never find a group of guys as charismatic as the ones I’ve got, but it will still be an amazing experience.
Thank you to my group of soldiers for making this military life so entertaining.