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Mom Changes Mind in Relinquishment, But Gay Couple Wants to Adopt Son

September 19, 1993

SEATTLE (AP) _ A woman who gave her 3-year-old son up for adoption a year ago is fighting the state to regain custody of him. The state says she waited too long to change her mind and it now wants to let a gay couple adopt him.

Megan Lucas, 22, says she has cleaned up her life and wants to raise her son. She says she is not trying to regain custody simply to prevent two homosexual men from adopting him.

″I mean, we don’t agree with that lifestyle, but that isn’t the reason we want him back. We’ve wanted him back all along,″ Lucas said. She acknowledged, ″I don’t want my child raised like that.″

Lucas, who was unmarried when the baby was born, left her son with her 17- year-old sister in 1990. She relinquished custody a year ago, after, she says, being pressured by state officials. The boy is now with foster parents. His father hasn’t come forward in the dispute.

Lucas says she overcame a drinking problem, has married, and lives a ″normal, loving″ life on Orcas Island with her husband and 17-month old daughter.

″We haven’t always been the best place for him, but we are now,″ Lucas said in a telephone interview. ″Nobody seems to recognize that.″

Lucas relinquished her parental rights to the state on Sept. 8, 1992, after a series of hearings. She legally had a year to change her mind, but missed the deadline by a day, Assistant Attorney General Dennis Kole said.

On Sept. 9, 1993, Superior Court Judge Steve Mura in Bellingham issued a temporary restraining order that blocked the boy’s adoption. Lucas planned to ask the judge to extend the order at a hearing Monday in Bellingham, 90 miles north of Seattle near the Canadian border. Orcas Island is in the same vicinity.

Richard Kimberly, Lucas’ attorney, said he would ask the judge to bar the state from placing the boy even temporarily with the gay couple, Louis and Ross Lopton of Seattle, who are licensed foster parents.

″There’s a very real chance that this adoption is not going to happen, and placing him there will only serve to confuse the child,″ Kimberly said.

But Kole said placing the boy with foster parents with adoption prospects, like the Loptons, is in the child’s best interest.

″The mother has no legal standing to participate in any discussion about where this child should be placed,″ he said. ″Legally, it would be the same if someone came off the street and started voicing their opinion about the welfare of this child.″

″This wasn’t an involuntary termination,″ he added. ″It was her idea to relinquish her right to this child.″

The Loptons won’t talk with reporters, said Rebecca Perbix, who leads a counseling group for gay and lesbian adoptive parents at the Children’s Home Society.

″As far as they’re concerned, that child is theirs emotionally,″ Perbix said. ″They have done everything they are supposed to do. It’s now up to the state and the courts.″

She said Washington is one of six states that permit adoptions by same-sex couples.

Since 1985, about 100 homosexuals have gained parental rights through the courts, according to the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco.

Earlier this month, however, a state judge in Virginia denied a mother custody of her 2-year-old son because the woman is a lesbian living with her lover.

Kole said the Loptons’ sexual orientation isn’t at issue in the Washington case.

″It has nothing to do with whether it’s appropriate for a homosexual couple to adopt a child,″ Kole said. ″It’s about whether her consent was valid or not.″