contact us

Adoption is one of the ways you can choose to bring a child into your life. If you’re considering adoption, it’s essential to research and understand what options are available to you. In the United States, potential adoptive parents can choose to seek domestic or international adoption.

Types of Adoption

Child in Foster Care

Children wind up in foster care when their birth parents cannot take care of them or have had their parental rights terminated. Foster children remain in group homes or foster care while waiting for adoption. A private or public agency can facilitate adoptions from foster care.


With a foster-to-adopt arrangement, the child is first placed in a potential parent’s home as a foster child. Part of the arrangement is an agreement that the child will eventually become available for that parent’s legal adoption.

Stepparent Adoptions

Stepparent adoption is a formal adoption process where the stepparent legally adopts their spouse’s child while the spouse still retains their legal parental rights. Each stepparent adoption situation is unique. Some stepparents legally adopt their stepchild as soon as they marry the child’s parent, while other stepparents have raised them for years before beginning the adoption process.

    Infant Adoptions

    Infant adoptions typically take place as soon as the baby is born. In most cases, the birth parents have already terminated their parental rights. Rather than through a traditional agency, many infant adoptions occur through a third-party professional, such as a lawyer, physician, or another professional facilitator.

    Agency versus Independent Adoptions

    An “agency adoption” refers to the agency that works as the intermediary between the birth parents and the potential adoptive parents.

    Closed vs. Open Adoptions 

    In a closed adoption, the birth parents and the adoptive family do not share any identifying information, and there is no contact between the parties. Open adoptions allow the birth parents and the adoptive family to communicate openly with each other, from simply sharing medical information to allowing birth parents to remain a presence in the child’s life.


    Click here to download a copy of the different types of adoption.

    Can an Adoption Be Reversed?

    It may surprise you to learn that there are some situations where a finalized adoption can be reserved. After it’s finalized, if one party wants to initiate the reversal, he or she would need to submit a petition to the family court. This is most commonly done by either the child’s birth parents or the child’s adoptive parents. If the court does opt to reverse the adoption, the child’s birth certificate will be changed to reflect what it said prior to the adoption. 

    Who Can Initiate an Adoption Reversal Request? 

    Only certain parties can initiate the reversal process. These include: 

    • The child’s birth parents: If a child’s birth parents are interested in regaining their parental rights and reversing an adoption, the adoptive parents would need to consent to the reversal. There are some states where even if the adoptive parents give their consent, the birth parents will not get their parental rights back. 
    • The child: There are several scenarios where a child may be the one who wants the adoption reversed. One of the more common reasons is the relationship with the adoptive parents is breaking down or has failed completely. Another reason a child may initiate reversal proceedings is when he or she wants to be emancipated from the adoptive parents. 
    • Child’s adoptive parentsIt’s rare that the adoptive parents would want to reverse an adoption, but it does happen on occasion. According to an article in The Atlantic, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the United States estimates that anywhere between one and five percent of the 135,000 annual finalized adoptions are reversed or dissolved. 
    5 yellow stars displayed in a row

    "I would highly recommend John Whitbeck to anyone needing legal counsel or representation. He was thorough, intentional, and professional in all of my dealings with him. He is well respected in the legal community of Loudoun County and is well liked by friends and colleagues alike. He has worked diligently to build a fabulous reputation and proven his knowledge of the law through his diligent practice in the area. No man would be as highly respected and sought after if he didn’t have the experience and professionalism to back it up."

    Loudoun County, VA

    "I have over 10 years experience personally with Mrs. Laffey and if you want the best of the best look no further. She is incredibly knowledgeable and experienced in all fields of family law. She genuinely cares about your case and your situation and does whatever she can to improve it and do what is best for everyone involved. She is a fantastic mediator on all fronts especially dealing with other parties attorneys in the courtroom and with you personally. She is definitely an advocate for children and wants to see them happy healthy and growing through these trying times. She responds to any inquiries emails or phone calls with prompt attention and goes out of her way to find a solution for your particular case. She's extremely easy to engage with and you will not be disappointed with her services. I can not sing her praises enough. So if you want your case handled professionally proficiently and with a touch of TLC I highly recommend that you call her you won't regret your decision."

    Wilmington, DE

    "My experience with WhitbeckBennett has been, and continues to be, extremely positive. My attorney, Mr. Beglis, has worked very hard for me. I can only wish that I had the sense to retain him for my Divorce, I would be in a completely different situation at this time! He is handling my custody issue. The level of comfort he has given me is worth everything to me. I truly feel like he is standing in front of me as a shield and his only function is to protect me and fight for me. This feeling, for me, is priceless. Thank you so much Mr. Beglis for giving me peace."

    Leesburg, VA

    "Amber Godfrey is a consummate perfectionist with a heart of gold and a passion for her clients. I highly recommend her and her firm for any family law matter."

    Oklahoma City, OK

    “Richard Tappan is one of the finest attorneys that you could have represent you...He went the extra mile and you can be assured this is just who he is...someone that will not let you down even though you are facing very difficult circumstances."

    Vienna, VA

    “James (Jim) did an excellent job with my case! Whenever I had any questions, he responded to my inquiry the same day and always provided a clear explanation. He made a confusing and stressful situation very, very simple and my case was closed in less than 3 months—even during this pandemic! I absolutely recommend!"

    Leesburg, VA