June 22, 2012
Dad deemed too fat to raise kidsStages sit-in on Parliament Hill
By Doug Hempstead, QMI Agency
OTTAWA - The problem with being a credible hulk is no matter how credible the story, he’s still a hulk.
Such is the hard truth for an obese Ottawa dad deemed too fat to keep his kids.
We’ll call him Dad because he can’t be named or identified.
Dad, 38, claims there’s no adequate oversight of Children’s Aid judgements in this province.
His two sons - age 5 and 6 - have been put up for adoption. He’s not been granted custody because - among other things - he’s 360 lbs and has been as much as 525 lbs.
On Friday, wearing a “Did someone say buffet?” T-shirt, Dad headed to Parliament Hill Friday for a six-hour hunger strike in the same La-Z-Boy chair he spent “night shifts” rocking his kids to sleep in, while watching sci-fi TV shows and playing video games.
It appears the judge used Dad’s obesity as a major reason as to why he can’t have custody of his kids. That’s created a lot of chatter and created a debate about whether obese people make good parents.
But Dad’s also admitted to being a former criminal. He says it all stopped when his now ex-wife got pregnant.
He says she was the aggressor in their abusive relationship, in which he stayed for the sake of the children. He admits he was violent towards her. Dad’s not proud of it and took steps to make sure he never did it again. He says he finished “top of the class” in an anger management.
“It changed my life,” he says of the lessons learned.
Dad’s brother, who he’s currently staying with, says he’s not what he appears.
“He likes girl music,” he says. “Enya. And his favourite movie is You’ve Got Mail.”
Regardless, he was ordered out of the family home in Dec. 2009 and custody of the kids was given to his wife.
Dad says the kids were never more in danger.
“She had a mental breakdown,” he said.
In July 2010, CAS were called after one of the kids - age 2 - was spotted running along a city street at 7:30 a.m. wearing only a diaper. This came after their home burned just the month before. Dad says he happened to be there for a visit and saw his ex run out, leaving him to get the kids.
He reported her to CAS, but was met with discrimination and wasn’t given custody.
The Royal Ottawa Hospital’s family court assessment argued his obesity was the key factor - that it “impacts significantly on most aspects of his life” and found that he lacked the mobility and stamina required to keep up with young, active kids.
He is legally obese, living on a lifetime court-ordered disability pension, he says. But, he argues the weight doesn’t keep him from being a good dad.
“Just give me a chance,” he says.