BABY GABRIEL: Adoptive Moms Speak Out

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All three of the women who call themselves Gabriel McFarland's mom are speaking out.

The four-month-old boy died Tuesday after his mother found him alone in her apartment.

Watch the birth mothers interview

Heidi and Rachel McFarland envisioned joy, not anguish when they decided to adopt.

The opportunity fell into their laps last fall and they were thrilled.

Adopting isn`t easy. Your life is put under a microscope. Adopting also isn`t cheap. Couples spend tens of thousands of dollars in the process.

The McFarlands didn`t care especially when they watched their son, Gabriel King, enter the world on December 28th.

gabriel moms“I just couldn`t believe how much emotion came over us just watching him come out. We both lost it,” Rachel says. “It was love at first sight, I mean before we even saw him we loved him,” Heidi added.

Heidi and Rachel say they extended that love to Gabriel’s birth mother.

“We worried. Is she ok? We wanted her to have counseling. That`s a huge sacrifice to go through that and give up a child,” Heidi said.

The adoption was open, Markeya visited Gabriel at the McFarland’s home but things were often strained and she stopped contacting them in mid-February.

In early March, the McFarlands’ attorney called stating Markeya wanted the baby back.

“I just started sweating, just panic and crying,” Rachel says.

“Watching him leave was (tears)… Knowing the environment this baby would be living in,” Heidi adds.

But there was little they could do. The birth parents` rights were never terminated. The first step in any adoption.

“Being the first time and naive, you trust your lawyers and the adoption agency. I`m paying them a lot of money. I trust they`re taking steps to protect this baby.”

Heidi and Rachel say they worried about Gabriel constantly, wondering where he was, if he was healthy and happy. The wondering stopped this week.

“I hit the floor, I was hysterical because we knew, we knew this is what we wanted to protect him from,” Heidi says.

There was no one to protect Gabriel Tuesday night. Police say he died alone.

A baby two families wanted and both will now live without.

“We had big plans for him. That`s why we gave him such a strong name. We had high hopes for him, we just had a feeling he was going to be a strong presence in everybody`s life and he was, in his short life he was a pretty amazing baby.”

The McFarlands place blame primarily on the system and attorneys involved in this case who they say failed to fill out the proper paper work and make sure it was signed.

They also say Markeya Atkins has singlehandedly destroyed their lives.


  • Teens - STOP having babies!

    I don’t understand why there is so much discrepancy in what is being reported as the law. One report says that the birth mother has ‘3 months + 31 days’ to change her mind, the other said 96 hours I believe it was, or maybe 72.

    here it sounds like they are saying the lawyer never had the papers signed so Gabriel was never adopted.

    I hope WHO puts out the cause of death soon. Nothing has ever really been said. was he beaten, did he have a seizure? Yes, makes a difference, is ‘dad’ a murderer or just careless?

    Birth mom certainly didn’t put much thought into who she left her child with. Even if he didn’t hurt the baby, he left him to die alone!

    Women that shack up with guys that beat and abuse their kids need to be held as accountable as the POS that boyfriend..they put their kids in that situation because they didn’t want to be alone.

    • OchoCinco

      The termination hearing was set, they just didn’t have it before the 16 year old mom changed her mind, and she never signed the release after the 72hr waiting period. Doesn’t look like the lawyer being blamed did anything wrong. Can you say smear campaign!

  • Shannon

    I feel for these women and the loss they suffered, they show more empathy and sadness for what has happened to this baby than the person who gave birth to him. I refuse to even call her his “birth mother” because mother she was not. I was 16 when I had my first child and instead of giving up his life, I choose to give up MINE !! Just as these adoptive mothers wanted to. They were prepared to give this child the world and he was robbed of that. My heart goes out to you women, I am so sorry for the loss you have suffered.

  • CarleeBbbb

    The potential adoptive parents were not “cheated” out of a baby by a “selfish” teen.

    The teen mom is entitled to raise her beloved child – it is a basic human right! This situation is tragic but do NOT forget that it was teen DAD (who had no previous criminal record or indication that he’d do something like this) that harmed the baby. It is tragic and I hope birth dad is punished to the fullest extent of the law!

    • Sam

      Eh, I don’t think so. They WERE cheated. The mom was not entitled to raise that baby as soon as she gave it up for adoption. As the article explains, the lawyers did not do their job by failing to terminate the birth parents’ rights. If the adoption was done right, then the mother would have had a limited time to reclaim the child. This adoptive couple sank a lot of time, money, and love into a child, only to have the fickle mother decide she wanted to raise the child. She should have had her rights relinquished after a few days, not months.

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