Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Weighing in on adoption

So Calista Flockhart, weighing about 57 pounds, can adopt with ease, but things are different when you're on the other end of the weight spectrum. That's what a Scottish woman is claiming, anyway, in a complaint to the Glasgow City Council. The 46-year-old, 308-pound nurse asserts that a social worker twice told her she was "too fat" to adopt. She and her partner, who are "desperate to have children," had answered a city-wide call for adoptive parents, attended a training course, and undergone medical exams, only to be told that her weight disqualified them. And you know, in solidarity with other adoptive parents, and in the understanding that there are children in Glasgow in as desperate need of homes as these prospective parents are of children, I guess I should be outraged right along with her. But fence-sitter that I am, I have to wonder: Don't you have to draw the line somewhere? Should a 500-pound person adopt? Does everybody have an inalienable right to parent? Does desperation to parent entitle you in some way to a child? Are social workers always wrong? Alright, I know we're all tempted to say yes to that last one, but maybe the social worker's biggest mistake here was not in turning this couple down, but in saying why quite so blatantly.

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