Gary Stocklaufer was in the process of adopting his cousin’s four-month-old baby son when a judge told him he was too overweight. Stocklaufer, tipping the scales at well over 500 lbs., admits he needs to lose weight, but was shocked that it played into the court’s decision.
The judge said Stocklaufer was at high risk for developing health problems and may not be around to raise the child. The court wouldn’t talk about the case, but in a statement to NBC News said it is required to consider several factors, including the medical status of would be parents.
Gary and his wife Cynthia are upset, as they’ve been foster parents for years.
Cynthia said, “The number on the scale is not an indicator of what kind of parent you are going to be. A child does not care about what are, they care about how you make them feel.”
Under Missouri law, like many other states, the best interest of the child is the guiding factor. Experts say, in the current legal climate, a person’s weight can very well be one of the factors in this complicated equation, just like their financial or martial status.
Linda Hageman from the Cradle Adoption Agency says, “It’s not a perfect science. We don’t want to create unnecessary barriers for people from adopting, but neither do we want to put a child at risk.”
Gary’s story touched Renaissance Hospital in Dallas. A Texas doctor heard about Stocklaufer’s plight and offered to perform gastric bypass surgery for free to help the adoption proceed.
Stocklaufer’s just concerned by the time he’s down to size, the baby might have been adopted by someone else.