An Ottawa father is fighting for custody of his children after being deemed too obese to properly care for them. The man, whose identity is protected under the Child and Family Services Act, has said that he believes "the weight was a determining factor in my custody case."
The children were removed from their mother's home last year after she overdosed, and their father has been fighting to see his children ever since. Royal Ottawa Hospital has its own family court clinic, which is overseeing the kids' case. The man told the CBC that he had already lost 180 pounds and currently weighs 380 pounds.
"I haven't seen my youngest son since February of last year, and I haven't seen my eldest son since September of last year. I believe the weight was a determining factor in my custody case. They picked the one thing they could use as a quantitative number. I'm a fantastic father; I love my kids wholeheartedly," he explained.
The Hospital can mandate a physical and psychological exam for parents seeking to regain custody of their children. Obesity is one of the factors the Hospital may use when deciding whether to award custody to a person. Even though he was offered gastric bypass surgery, at no expense, the man refused, saying that he wanted to do it on his own so he "would respect the weight loss myself."
A doctor at the wrote in an assessment that the man "has struggled with obesity for years, which impacts significantly on most aspects of his life including his functioning as a parent. He was short of breath or winded in simply walking short distances about the clinic and he lacks both the motility and stamina required to keep up with the young and active children."
For now, the children will remain in the custody of the Children's Aid Society, but their father is hopeful he will soon they will all be reunited.
"I'm a passionate man. I love my kids- I just want a single chance to be a father, that's it," he told CTV Ottawa. "Nothing can be compared to my kids. If I lose my kids for good, it's over for me."