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Too Fat to Adopt

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Radical Mommy: Here's why I think there should be weight restrictions on people adopting a kid.

A fat man sitting on a bench

I recently read a story about a British couple, Damien and Charlotte Hall, who applied to adopt a child but were denied because the husband is 6-foot-1 and weighs a whopping 343 pounds with a body mass index (BMI) of more than 42. Basically, the adoption authority told him he is too fat to adopt.

At first I couldn't believe my eyes, and then it finally sunk in. Finally! Someone with some sense had stopped the needless spread of obesity by denying their request and not letting this man (and his chubby wife) get his hands on a child and doing the same thing to him or her that he's done to himself.

In case you're thinking to yourself, "He's not THAT big," let me fill you in on a few body fat facts. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, Hall's BMI was not "just" above 42 ... it was a whopping 45.2.

So you know, a normal BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9 (144-188 lbs), an overweight BMI is 25-29.9 (189-227 lbs), and an obese BMI is anything above 30 (227 lbs). So, to me, the fact that Hill, 37, is a gargantuan 15.2 points, and 100+ pounds ABOVE an obese BMI is shocking.

Now I know all you (fat) bleeding hearts out there are cursing the ground I walk on (again) but before you go any further, I want to ask a question. Would you let someone with terminal cancer adopt a child? NO. Why? Because, should the person (who I'm sure is a loving and deserving parent) die, then that child will be left alone AGAIN! And it is not in the best interest of any child to be knowingly placed into a home where a parent might die at an early age.

In case that didn't convince you, then let me ask you another question. Would you let someone with a drug or alcohol addiction adopt a child? NO. Why? Because living with someone who has an addiction, any addiction, is not healthy.

Once again, I know you're saying to yourself, "This woman is crazy -- how can she liken obesity to drug addiction?" Well, let me tell you how, people. People who are obese are so because they eat too damn much -- no other reason. I don't want to hear, "Oh it's genetic, oh I have a slow thyroid" or any other such bullsh**t. The fact is that only about 2% of all obesity is a result of genetics or illness -- the rest is a result of purely and simply stuffing too much food in your face. END OF STORY!!!

No one on this earth can tell me that they are actually happy being overweight. Yeah, you might accept it and tell yourself, "Oh, I love myself, I'm fine the way I am." Well, I think that is nonsense. How can you love yourself when all you see in the mirror is double chins, rolls of fat, and quite literally the picture of unhealthiness? If you do, you're in denial.

Also, there's the fact that parents with serious weight issues (and I'm not just talking about being 20-30 pounds overweight here) more often than not pass unhealthy eating habits AND obesity on to their kids. That to me is abusive -- and you would never let a family knowingly adopt a child if they were going to be abused. Would you?

Don't worry, though. In a letter, the adoption authority told the couple that Damien's BMI must be below 40 before the couple could even be considered as potential parents because of the risk that he could get sick -- or even die due to his weight. Basically that means that all he has to do is drop 30 pounds and then they will be eligible to adopt. This is something I don't particularly agree with since he will still be VERY obese.

Now, I'm not saying that this man and woman are bad people, and I'm not saying that I don't think that they wouldn't make amazing parents, because they probably will. All I'm saying is that there should be rules about how fat you can be when it comes to adopting (and maybe even having) kids.

Who agrees with me? Comment in the momlogic community.

next: Before You Go "Down There," Read This!
47 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anon January 13, 2009, 3:23 PM

I agree. As an adoptee I was taught healthy eating habits and exercise to keep oneself in proper order. I pass this on to my biological children. I am in need of loosing 30 lbs, but am working diligently to do so, without dieting. Just healthy eathing, snacking and exercise. If he wants children that bad, he’ll loose the weight. Who knows, once he drops the weight he might be able to produce his own offspring.

Anon January 13, 2009, 4:12 PM

I can not believe you attitude. I have a child and yes, I am overweight. We sit down at night as a family and have a healthy meal and my daughter is very active. I was not overweight as a child, it came after the loss of my father as an adult. So, just because someone is overweight, does not mean that they can not teach healthy habits and exercising to their child.

meliss January 13, 2009, 4:39 PM

I do see this a reasonable condition of adopting a child. I am over weight (morbidly over weight) and have a young son. He is eating healthy and helping to get me healthier. My point is, do the agencies also have restrictions on smokers and drinkers too? If you are going to restrict one type of “abuse” then they should address all of them.

Amber January 13, 2009, 5:31 PM

I agree with Anon - 4:12. I am actually in the obese catagory because I am very short but none of my kids are. I joke about my twins being super skinny and cheer when they go to the Dr and have gained some weight. My husband isn’t overweight either. It happened to me when I got pregnant the first time, I just got in the habit of eating more and haven’t been able to break it.
My kids do not eat junk and their snacks are fruits and veggies, we eat healthy meals, whole grains and never red meats.

Linda January 13, 2009, 5:55 PM

How can you be so judgemental. Next you won’t be able to adopt a child because your hair or eyes are the wrong color.

Sara January 13, 2009, 7:59 PM

Let me ask you this- would it be healthier for the child to be in a permanent, loving home where he or she may become overweight or live in an orphanage or temporary housing situation where he or she may also become overweight?

Children need love and affection, regardless of the size or health of the person giving it.

Malky B. January 13, 2009, 8:04 PM

I strongly disagree with this whole article. First of all not all overweight people “stuff their face”. I’ve been on weight watchers for 5 years and can only maintain my current weight which is obese according to medical terms eating 1400 calories a day.

Secondly, just because someone is overweight that does not mean their children will be so as well.

My daughter is a very healthy BMI and knows how to balance healthy eating with occasional treats. Get off your high horse lady. You do not know what you are talking about.

I bet you’ve never struggled with weight your entire life.

kagil January 14, 2009, 1:59 AM

People that agree with this are, IMO, CRAZY. You might be skinny with your healthy habits, but you are so bigoted and mean that you are insane.

a. January 14, 2009, 2:54 AM

so, according to this article, only skinny people can raise skinny kids? what about skinny people with fat kids? my parents were both in the healthy weight range when they had me. but I turned out fat. then again, I have two health conditions that make me that way, but my point still stands.
occasionally I do see a fat mom, or dad, or couple, and see that they have rather overweight kids as well. which makes me horribly sad. but most of the time, no matter the weight of the parents, I see kids of a healthy weight. I work at a job where I see kids and at least one of their parents a LOT. it’s not really that often that I see fat kids as well.

N January 14, 2009, 3:17 AM

The obese people need to get over it, there is a difference between over weight and obese. And stop trying to say obesity just happened, you don’t turn into a blimp over night sorry to shatter your illusion but you know your getting obese and your doing nothing to stop it

Barb January 14, 2009, 9:42 AM

Wow, some people here are downright mean… “stuffing your face” and “turn into a blimp” are just hateful ways to address people. I agree with Meliss: where do the agencies draw the line?

Also, to your point comparing obese people with terminal cancer—you’re implying that the person with cancer will die soon, but MOST obese people don’t suffer health affects until they’re older, when the children are grown.

Anonymous January 14, 2009, 11:52 AM

She would rather have a kid live with a skinny crack addicted mother?

N January 14, 2009, 12:18 PM

Are you kidding barb, my step brother was considered obese, he is now eating healthy and excercisiing and losing a lot of weight. You know why because he is in his mid thirties and the doctors told him he would die in the next ten years if he didn’t do something about his weight! He was in the hospital twice before he listened to the doctor. And he has a baby, so the adoption agency was right to do what they did.

Anonymous January 14, 2009, 2:15 PM

I think the guidelines are well placed. Morbid obesity comes with a host of health problems. I think it is important to give these disadvantaged children the best life possible not parents who WILL die too young or health habits that can ruin their lives.

PS I am healthy and thin. I have nothing against the obese. I just worry for their health. I think that is a very well-founded concern.

Karen Pease January 14, 2009, 2:40 PM

All arguments, bias, logic and health issues aside…haven’t you ever been touched by the grace, generosity or love of another human being, and had that touch last you a lifetime? Fat or skinny, black or white, ill or healthy, gay or staight, rich or poor… there are wonderful, caring people out there that have something to give, some love and kindness to pass on. Would we be better off never receiving ANY of that, simply to protect ourselves from losing it too soon? Karen Bessey Pease, author of juvenile fiction (Grumble Bluff)

Karen January 15, 2009, 1:13 AM

Well said Sara. And for the record I too am overweight by more than fifty pounds. I was underweight all my life until I gained 100 pounds with my first pregnancy. Suddenly by whole body inside and out changed. My body reacted to things differently than it did before the pregnancy. Anyway, I eat healthy, I exercise and I am raising my children to eat healthy and exercise, to be active in general and the importance of staying healthy for the sake of your health - not your appearance. I think if you ask just about any kid in the system they are going to say they would rather be with a fat family eating dingdongs all the day long than alone and unhappy waiting until they turn 18 and are turned out into the streets still alone. Again with the slippery slope people …

Just another fat mom January 15, 2009, 10:34 AM

You are a hate-filled witch! I am about 100 lbs overweight, why? Because I have PCOS and insulin resistance that wasn’t diagnosed until 10 years after it developed due to a$$hole doctors who think like you do! I have 2 beautiful children who are very thin, my fat husband and I were very happy when they hit the 50th percentile for their weight. We eat healthy foods and, imagine this, we play with our kids and take them for walks…you know, exercise! My parents are very thin, yet I’m fat…hummm. I also have a very thin sister who only eats junk food, is she a better parent than me because she’s thin? Nope, we’re both great moms. Next time you feel like opening your big mouth to spill your hate, don’t.

mike January 15, 2009, 10:41 AM

I guess ignorance begets ignorance. I mean if we look at your logic train then the theory stupid people shouldn’t breed would also take effect. Ignorance is more rampant in this country than obesity will ever be. How do you expect a society of ignorant, mindless, electronically brainwashed children to raise a generation of healthy adults. If you have seen the movie “Wal-E” then you agree that we are not too far from that reality. You can’t expect lazy people who rely on technology for their every need to care about getting too fat when all it takes is a few weeks of recovery after an out patient surgery to absolve them of their over eating sins. Bariatric surgery is to fat people what confession is to Catholics. ?Forgive me doctor for I am fat. Stop making it too easy and the rest will come. This from a guy who lost 56 lbs in 4 months because I got tired of the double chins. I have a way to until I’m where I was in high school but it’s BECAUSE of my kids that I’m getting there. Maybe if this couple had children it would change their lives too.

Lauren January 15, 2009, 10:42 AM

We adopted from Korea and we had to fit within a certain BMI. It wasn’t too strict of a range but from what I understand about Korea’s goals for children that are going to be adopted, they want to place kids with parents that are more likely to be around for the long-term.

While this couple might be perfectly nice and capable of raising a child, statistically his life will be shortened because of his health conditions. And statistically his children will be heavier if he and his wife are heavy. I believe China has adopted these regulations too. While I disagree with the tone of the article, and everyone gets very riled up when we start to argue “skinny” vs. “fat”, obesity is a real problem in the U.S. We’re making our kids heavier and heavier while we pack on the pounds too. It’s not about “bad” vs. “good”, it’s about health and this man is not healthy. You can argue that you’re 50 lbs overweight and healthy but that’s simply not true. We don’t like to hear that fat is unhealthy but it is and our denial as a nation has brought us to this point.

I’m not sure about domestic adoption but we also were required to report our smoking habits. If we smoked (we don’t), I do believe that would have disqualified us. They looked at our overall health, it wasn’t just a “stand on the scale” assessment.

Amused January 15, 2009, 11:11 AM

You know, I think Hitler would be very proud of you. Next, you’ll probably say that Jewish and black people shouldn’t be able to adopt either, because they would expose their children to too much prejudice, ridicule, and hatred from the bigots out there. And why stop there? How about short people?!? You know, short people can’t reach things on high shelves like medication and such. Oh! And let’s not forget the weak people. If you can’t lift 100 pounds, how are you possibly going to carry your child out of a burning building if ever there’s a fire? Most importantly, I think IGNORANT people should be forbidden to adopt…or even post blogs for that matter. But then, what in the world would YOU do with your days?

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