In 1979, Jeff Claypool, a 20-year-old Air Force enlisted man from Severna Park, Md., who was stationed in Valdosta, Ga., received a letter from his 16-year-old girlfriend saying she had given birth to a boy. The next letter he received from her said she had given up their child, named Michael, to the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington for adoption.
Claypool, himself an adopted child, protested. He filed a paternity suit in Maryland seeking to establish legally that he was the child's father, and another lawsuit in D.C. court to block the Archdiocese from placing the boy for adoption. At the time, Claypool said the reason for the court battle was that the baby "was the only flesh and blood I know."
Now, nearly two years later, the lawsuits have been settled and "everybody walked away happy," according to Claypool's attorney, Keith Rosenberg. The child's mother has decided to keep Michael and is raising him in her Severna Park home. Claypool, who is now stationed at Patrick Air Force Base in Cocoa Beach, Fla., has married another woman and is allowed to visit his son. He said he is making child support payments and hopes to get Michael to visit him in Florida soon.