Family Formation

Building families through adoption is some of the most important work we do. Adoptive parents provide the love and support for children in need, and our firm has had the privilege of assisting these children and families for over 30 years. Members of our team have experienced the gift of adoption in their own families and understand the challenges families face in the adoption process. We have long-standing relationships with local adoption agencies and assisted in the finalization of hundreds of adoptions in the Richmond area and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

At ThompsonMcMullan, we assist clients with various types of adoption and related services, including:

  • Parental placement adoptions (also known as private adoption) which involve a birth parent choosing the adoptive parent(s) directly;
  • Agency adoptions which may or may not involve direct contact between the birth parents and adoptive parents. Ultimately, the birth parent enters into an agreement with an adoption agency and the agency places the child with adoptive parents;
  • Step-parent adoptions which occur when a parent desires for his or her child to be adopted by his or her spouse;
  • Close Relative adoptions which involve adoption by the child’s grandparents, great-grandparents, adult aunts or uncles, adult great-aunts or great-uncles or adult nieces, nephews, or siblings of the adoptee;
  • International adoptions (including re-adoption) which are agency adoptions where the adoptive child is being adopted from a foreign country;
  • Adult adoptions which establish an adoption relationship between adults with prior relationships; and
  • Representation of birth parents in adoption proceedings

Adoption can have many complex issues. Our attorneys provide step-by-step support and advice, acknowledging that building your family is an emotional journey that requires sensitive attention, in addition to knowledge of the legalities involved. We have significant experience with contested adoptions, and can navigate the procedural steps of contested adoption proceedings. We are also able to represent birth parents as they consider the choice for adoption. In the unlikely event an adoption fails, we are available to aid adoptive parents in adoption dissolution and making plans for the best interests of the child at issue.


Christopher M. Malone

Chris has an extensive practice in the area of adoption and family law. As an adoptive parent, Chris has personal experience of the adoption process. He regularly assists families in initiating and finalizing adoptions in order to establish forever homes for children. Chris works closely with adoptive parents and child placement agencies to navigate the adoption process. When issues of contest arise, Chris represents adoptive parents and child placement agencies in resolving these disputes.

Sherry A. Fox

Recognizing that adoption is a deeply personal and emotional process for families, Sherry is especially dedicated to providing her adoption clients with not only the highest standard of legal assistance, but specifically legal representation that is compassionate and attuned to the emotional needs of her clients as they navigate the process of creating their family.  Sherry assists families in various types of adoptions, including parental placement, agency, close relative, stepparent, and international adoptions.  She routinely provides representation throughout the adoption process, from the termination proceedings before the juvenile and domestic relations court to the finalization proceedings before the circuit court.  Sherry has also represented clients in contested adoptions and understands both the procedural intricacies and emotional investment that such matters entail.

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