A lesbian couple has been awarded $3.25 million for emotional distress against their lawyer after the baby they adopted was reclaimed by his birth mother and was then killed by his father just a month later.
Rachel and Heidi McFarland, who live in Des Moines, Iowa, were awarded the large sum after a jury agreed that their adoption attorney, Jason Rieper, acted in a negligent manner by not requiring the baby boy’s biological parents to forfeit their parental rights.
The McFarlands attended the birth of their son Gabriel in December 2013. The joyous occasion was then destroyed a few months later when 16-year-old Markeya Atkins, the birth mom, changed her mind about the adoption and took him back from the couple who had brought him up as their own.
Within weeks, Gabriel’s father, then 17-year-old Drew Weehler-Smith was arrested for murdering the four-month-old. He was later convicted and sentenced to 50 years in prison.
Back in 2014 the couple told the Des Moines Register how devastated they were in losing their adoptive baby.
“It's like he's been taken away from you again,” Rachel McFarland told the newspaper. “We brought him home from the hospital. I cut his umbilical cord.”
The couple says they supported the mother financially and emotionally through her pregnancy and had been with her at every doctor’s appointment. They also say that the judgement helps ease the pain of the ordeal, but revealed that they don’t plan on seeing any of the money since Rieper plans to challenge the case’s outcome.
(Photo: via Getty Images)
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