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Gay Couple Wins Right to Adopt Boy After Long Custody Battle

December 26, 1994

SEATTLE (AP) _ A gay couple has been allowed to adopt a 4-year-old boy, ending a custody struggle with the boy’s mother, who gave him away and then tried to get him back.

Ross and Luis Lopton, who had been the boy’s foster parents, and a King County Superior Court commissioner signed the adoption papers Friday.

″I’m living here forever,″ the boy, Gailen, told the Seattle Post- Intelligencer. He calls Ross ″Daddy″ and Luis ″Papa.″

Gailen was placed with the Loptons in September 1993, a year after his mother, Megan Lucas, surrendered her parental rights.

When she learned that Gailen had been placed with a gay couple, Lucas tried to rescind her decision and retain her parental rights. But a Superior Court judge rejected the request because it was filed a day too late under state law.

Lucas, who bore Gailen as an unwed teen-ager, then tried to adopt him, but the courts rejected that attempt, too. State officials also opposed the effort, citing her history of drug and alcohol abuse and a criminal record dating from age 11.

In September, a five-judge panel of the state Supreme Court refused to hear her appeal.

Washington is one of six states that permits adoptions by gay couples. Six states have outlawed adoptions by same-sex couples.

The Loptons, who are bankers, spent four years in training and counseling to become foster and then adoptive parents.

They have had to help Gailen cope with attention deficit disorder, a common behavior problem among foster children, who often become unfocused and disruptive.

″The first thing they told us in our support group was, ’Don’t touch him with a 10-foot pole. He’s got too many problems,‴ Ross Lopton said.

Now, Luis Lopton said, ″his frustration level is less, he’s better able to communicate.″

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