For gay couples who want to start their own family, they can either employ a surrogate mother or adopt a child. And that’s precisely what lesbian couple, Rachel and Heidi McFarland, decided to do. The pair, who live in Iowa, adopted baby boy Gabriel from one of Rachel’s co-workers. However, after no more than 2 months, the 16-year-old mother and colleague of Rachel, Markeya Atkins, decided to ask for the baby back.
The couple was under the expectation that the 16-year-old mother would sign over custody, however, she changed her mind at the last minute.
This ultimate reversal of decisions would lead to grave impacts on both the couple as well as the baby boy.
The couple had coached Markeya through her labor and was looking after little Gabriel for over two and a half months when Markeya asked for him back.
The couple said that their lawyer, Jason Rieper, had informed them that Markeya had signed over the release-of-custody forms when in reality she did not.
Because of this negligence, Markeya was able to lawfully gain custody of her baby and take Gabriel away from Rachel and Heidi.
And even worse, over a month after the baby was returned to their biological parents, Gabriel was shaken to death by the father, Drew James Weehler-Smith.