Laura Tarantino and her husband, Frederick, at home in Alexandria with son Tyler, 5. (Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post)

VIRGINIA OFFICIALS talk a good game when it comes to rehabilitating criminal convicts. In practice, they fall short. The state remains one of the nation’s most mean-spirited when it comes to restoring voting rights to convicted felons, a process that is automatic or nearly so in most states, and Republicans would like to make the rules still more stringent. Virginia is no more forgiving — we would say, no more humane — in determining who may, or rather may not, adopt children.

A case in point is Laura Tarantino, a 28-year-old Alexandria woman who, with her husband, Frederick, an Air Force reservist, is the parent of a 5-year-old boy. The Tarantinos would dearly love to adopt a child — Laura was herself adopted as a baby — but cannot, owing to her convictions, as a teenager and as a 21-year-old on a pair of drug charges, the second of which sent her to prison for a year.

As described by The Post’s Victoria St. Martin, the heart-rending saga of the Tarantinos’ struggle to adopt is a case study of a capricious…

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Mayra Rodriguez

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Mayra Rodriguez
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