Last year the world was shocked when it was revealed that a couple, who had hired a surrogate from Thailand to carry their twin babies, had purposely left one of them behind after it was revealed the baby had a congenital heart defect and Down Syndrome. Once the baby was well enough to leave the hospital the young, single surrogate mother, Pattaramon Chanbua, struggled to care for the baby, and her own children who were aged 3 and 6.
The story played out in the media for several weeks, and ultimately the once unnamed couple was found to be convicted Sex Offender, David Farnell and his wife Wendi Li. The pair came forward alleging that they had no knowledge of the second child, a claim the surrogate strongly denied.
Outraged, people from around the world donated more than $230,000 to ensure a healthy future for baby Gammy. At that time, charity Hands Across the Water was put in charge of the money. With a portion of it they purchased a home for the family, and continues to cover the child’s medical and welfare costs.
Today is being reported that David Farnell and Wendy Li have filed a claim with Hands Across the Water for a portion of the funds raised for the child they abandoned. In an interview with ABC News Peter Baines the founder of the charity said he finds the whole situation “perplexing. I don’t understand it on any level. The funds were donated by everyone because of the alleged actions of Mr Farnell, and to think he believes he has some right of claim over it … I find it perplexing.”
Perplexing would be the nicest way to put it as the account wouldn’t have been needed if the couple would have taken care of the baby they created.
“The money was donated through the goodwill of people from not just Australia, but across the world, for the immediate care and for the long-term care of Gammy,” Mr Baines added. “We’ve taken all steps we can as a charity to ensure that 100 per cent of those funds that we donated go directly to Gammy now and for the future.”
The baby’s mom, Pattaramon was also shocked to hear about the claim asking if Mr Farnell had “gone insane to think like this”.
“He does not deserve or have any rights to the fund as he abandoned Gammy in the first place,” she said. “People donated money for Gammy and not for anyone else. Even though I am Gammy’s mother, I don’t have any right to take it. I want to ask him: ‘Who do you think you are? What made you think you have the right to take it?'”
At this point Mr. Baines believes that there is enough money in the fund to take care of Baby Gammy’s expenses for another five or six years.
“I certainly don’t think [the funds] were donated by anyone thinking that Mr Farnell would at some point have access to them, and we’ll do all we can to prevent that,” he said.
Hopefully the fund is not depleted by legal costs associated with fighting the greedy couple who think they have a right to this baby’s money.