This UK couple was told they cannot adopt because the husband is classed as ‘morbidly obese’. This is tricky territory, so we will tread carefully.
The husband acknowledges he is ‘too fat’. The local authority states ‘The council's adoption service has a legal responsibility to ensure that children are placed with adopters who are able to provide the best possible lifelong care’.
We get to play both sides of the debate on this blog. So here they are.
There are many parents who are obese, who smoke, who drink, who do recreational drugs. In most of those instances they are not denied the right to parent their birth children.
So on the face of it, are we applying a double standard to prospective adoptive or foster parents who may not be ‘perfect’?
On the other hand, there are a number of parents out there whose alcohol or drug habits have spiralled out of control, or who have mental health and other issues. They have had their children removed from their care for the children’s safety. Those children have already suffered loss in their lives.
In adoption with a new family, the children deserve to know that the family they are placed with has the capacity to look after them for the long term.
We have seen the effect of multiple moves on children. Some never recover.
So if we put the child first, then this couple needs to minimise any risk to their health.
Adoptive or long term foster parents need to be as healthy and strong as they can be, not because the authority says so, but because some small child – who is going to give them his or her heart and trust - deserves it.
We would suggest that it is the same standard that should apply to ANY parent by the way.
So our advice to this couple? Improve your health. There is a child out there who needs you, but they do need you for the long term.