A couple in Iowa have been awarded $3.25 million (£2.53 million) after the child they had temporarily adopted was killed by his biological father.
When a teenage girl fell pregnant, her co-worker Rachel McFarland and her partner Heidi agreed to adopt the baby. The couple were both present when the boy was born in Des Moines, the capital of the Midwestern state, back in December 2013.
However, they ran into a problem a few months later when the biological mother changed her mind about giving up the child. As neither biological parent had signed the necessary forms to give up their rights to the baby, he was returned to them. The boy sadly died just five weeks later having been shaken to death by his 17 year-old father. He admitted to the crime and was later convicted of second degree murder and sent to prison for 50 years.
Speaking to People magazine, Rachel said the circumstances surrounding the initial adoption “seemed tailor-made for us and we thought this could be our chance to become parents”.
The birth mother was reportedly not put off by the fact that they were a same sex couple, Rachel explained, adding:
“It just seemed too good to be true – and it was too good to be true.”
Finding out that they had to give up the child they had cared for was “horrible” and there were “no words” to describe how the couple felt, she explained.
The couple then took legal action against their lawyer, who reportedly led them to believe that all the necessary paperwork had been completed. “Obviously our child and us weren’t a priority” to him, Rachel claimed.
A Judge in a local Iowa court ruled in the couple’s favour and declared that their lawyer had been negligent in his handling of their attempted adoption. The award they were given was much more than they had expected. After the ruling, the couple said they were “just happy he was found negligent”.