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Lesbian couple awarded $3 million after adopted baby was returned to teenage biological parents and killed by father

By Mason White 3:27 PM August 23, 2017
Markeya Atkins (L) Drew Weehler-Smith (c) Heidi and Rachel McFarland
Markeya Atkins (L) Drew Weehler-Smith (c) Heidi and Rachel McFarland
By: William Martin

(Scroll down for video) A lesbian couple was awarded a lot of money after they went through a great deal of heartbreak.

Rachel and Heidi McFarland of Des Moines, Iowa, won a lawsuit against their own adoption lawyer, and were awarded $3.25 million.

The couple had adopted baby Gabriel McFarland at birth. The McFarlands were in the hospital at the time of the birth of Gabriel, and they even cut the umbilical cord.

However, he was taken away from them 78 days later after the 16-year-old biological mother Markeya Atkins, changed her mind and wanted him back.

A few weeks later, Gabriel was killed by his biological father, Drew Weehler-Smith, who was 17-years-old at the time. The medical examiner ruled that the baby died from head trauma.

Weehler-Smith pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 50 years in prison for killing Gabriel.

The couple sued their attorney who helped them with the adoption papers, because he failed to have the mother give over her parental rights.

The jury sided with the couple that their adoption attorney acted negligently by failing to get the child’s biological parents to severe their parental rights.

The couple said that although they will likely never see the money, they wanted justice for their little boy who made them parents.

The McFarlands have adopted a baby girl after Gabriel’s death. Later, Heidi McFarland gave birth to their youngest daughter. The couple said they will always remember Gabriel.

Rieper’s attorney said he plans to challenge the jury’s verdict. He defended Rieper’s decision not to have the birth mother sign the paperwork as is standard procedure during an adoption.

Rieper’s attorney added that the birth mom had been emotional and that it would have been unethical for Rieper to have tried to “force” her to sign the paperwork.