Rachel and Heidi McFarland, of Ankeny, Ohio, were horrified when they found out that the four-month-old baby boy, Gabriel, that they’d hoped to adopt — but were legally forced to return to his birth mother — was found dead. The reasoning? It was apparently due to the neglectful behavior of his parents.
According to the Daily Mail, baby Gabriel was found unresponsive by his birth mother, Markeya Atkins. The 16-year-old was running errands when she left the infant in the care of her boyfriend — who is also the baby’s birth father — Drew James Weehler-Smith. Allegedly, he left the baby alone in the apartment they shared.
The McFarlands supported Markeya financially throughout her pregnancy, and even accompanied her to every doctor’s appointment and check-up. The couple then took care of baby Gabriel for the first three months of his life, only to have Makeya change her mind in the fourth month and demand him back. In Ohio, a birth mother has three months, plus a probationary 31 days to decide whether to keep her child.
To their shock and horror, the couple — who have been married for five years, and together for 18 — learned about Gabriel’s death on the evening news. “It's like he's been taken away from you again,” Rachel told The Des Moines Register.
Not only are they furious about the scrutiny they were put under in order to adopt Gabriel, but over the fact that nobody determined whether it was safe for him to be with his birth mother.
As for the birth father, he is in custody and had been charged with neglect of a dependent person. Weehler-Smith could face additional charges after the results of the baby’s autopsy are reported.
Do you think someone should have determined whether it was safe for the baby to be with his birth parents?
Sources: Daily Mail, The Des Moines Register