CO Lesbian Files Paternity Suit To Get Custody Of Adopted Daughter

After her partner left the country with their daughter, Colorado lesbian Wendy Alfredsen became the first woman to file a paternity suit in the Mile High State.

In 2006 Wendy and her ex, Lena, adopted two sisters they had been foster parenting, with each woman the legal parent of one girl. (Colorado law currently only allows one gay parent to file adoption paperwork.)

But when the couple split in 2009, Lena took her daughter and moved to Norway. “She didn’t get to say goodbye to her parent or sister,” a tearful Wendy told ABC News 7. “How can that not damage a kid?”

But her attorney, Ann Gushurst,  discovered a unique way to fight for her client’s parental rights: A  recent decision in the state allowed a non-biological father to file for paternity. “Last summer a case came down that said you can hold yourself out as a parent under Title 19 and not be the biological parent. I thought, well if a man can do it, surely a woman can do it.”

Lena’s lawyer tried to get the motion dismissed, says Gushurst, “but it was constitutional.”

A ruling is expected in June. Until then, Wendy says she’s bolstered by visits to her daughter in Norway: “She always screams and jumps in my arms and says, ‘Mommy I missed you and Mommy I love you. It doesn’t matter the amount of time that’s passed.”


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