Friday, September 7, 2007

Bigger Man, Bigger Love . . .

I have been following a very happy and encouraging and yet sad story out of Missouri for the past few weeks HOPING that common sense might actually prevail in the story and I could post to this blog about how good people, regardless of size, can overcome in this country but - instead - now I have to complain about how the obese are the last group in our country that can be openly discriminated against and how much it gets my goat!

Here is the backstory - there is this great guy in Missouri, Gary Stocklaufer, who is married and has a very cute son that he and his wife adopted in 2000 that they love and provide for. The American dream for a guy, right? Find a loving wife, set up a cute little family and have love to spare. SO much love to spare, in fact, that when the man's cousin had a son in April that she could not take care of - the Stocklaufers showed their love and took in that little boy. They grew their family and they took on the parental duties so that the child might have what he needs in life but still know family, etc. A beautiful story about love and parenting and family and selflessness, right? RIGHT!

But, Missouri, with apparently no real problems to deal with or enough work to keep the state employees busy, used the fact that the Stocklaufers did not follow normal procedure to adopt the baby in the first place to interupt and rip apart that family. I'll give you that - you have to play by the rules. You can't just grab a baby and say "mine" and that is that BUT as parents who have already adopted in Missouri - why can't they just speedpass the adoption process and keep the child while they sort out the paperwork (which they were taking care of when this story caught media attention). Because, my dear readers, Gary weighs 500 pounds.

That's right . . . apparently Gary is too fat to be a good father according to the great state of Missouri. The state said (and I quote) "It is highly probable that there are available petitioners who are better situated to provide a permanent home for this child." WHAT? Better suited on what grounds? They WEIGH LESS?

Okay, so, again, as a father losing weight it is WAY easier to deal with Ava now than it was at almost 500 pounds. I get that (oh, to digress, I weighed myself today - I'm down to 144 total pounds to date (yeah Me!)! BUT Gary, being the good man that he is and the loving father said - alright, no problem, I'll have gastric bypass surgery to help with my weight. And he had the procdure donated to him by another kind and loving soul in Dallas, Texas.

So Gary is down 30 pounds AND a son today. The state refused Gary's appeal and still feels that their stupid procedures are more important than the love of a family and letting a good man be a good man for his wife and children.
To watch an interview the morning of his gastric bypass with Gary and to hear his own thoughts on life as a big man, the adoption controversy and the surgery itself, click here.
The story makes me stick to my little, biddy, ping-pong ball sized pouch! I imagine myself, as a 485 pound man, trying to adopt Ava with Joy (our best chance at being a family) and having a judge tell me that I was too heavy to love or provide her Ava. I imagine myself not being able to get a job because of my size. Or to be taken seriously because of my size. Or to be able to feel like even if I do enough and love my wife enough and have a big enough heart that I still won't be able to provide for a child JUST because of my size.
I cried a little when I read this story update today. I cried because it made me feel so much for this man to have gone through this surgery and to have lost the comfort of food only to have the world rip the rug out from under him (I can't imagine his mindset right now) and I cried because I can't imagine if I had to go through the same ordeal and then to still be told that I wasn't good enough.

I'm thankful that life has never done that to me. My wife will tell you about the looks and the treatment and the abuse I've suffered because of my size but I'm pretty obvlivious to it - I guess I started ignoring it at a young age. I'm thankful that I have my daughter and my loving wife and that we will raise Ava to be smart enough to not judge people for the color of their skin or the religion they follow or the size of their body. Apparently not everyone's parents bothered to teach them that, at least not the parents of the fine people running the state of Missouri.

Shame on you, Missouri. Keep your chin up, Gary and THANK GOD that I can only imagine what you are going through right now - I would not want to know for sure.

1 comment:

psatterly said...

Your mom and dad sent this to me, Sean. It was fun reading your progress since your decision to have surgery. We are happy for the three of you. Your humor was always wonderful and I'm happy to see that it remains intact, proof that it wasn't a cover-up for the weight. Great comments on your entry, Joy. Now perhaps the whole world will see him for the great person he is.