Couple ‘Turned Down For Adoption For Being Obese’


Couple 'Turned Down For Adoption For Being Obese'Alamy

After finding out they could never have children naturally, a couple applied to adopt but claimed to have initially been turned away due to their weight. 

An anonymous source spoke out about how he and his wife had been trying to conceive for around three years when they made the decision to try adoption.


However, upon approaching their local authority, their weight was reportedly brought into question, which the pair ‘had never even considered […] to be an obstacle in [their] journey to become parents’ before.

Couple Try To Adopt But Told Too Obese (Alamy)Alamy

The couple were left ‘shocked’ and ‘troubled’ when pointed in the direction of Barnado’s, the UK’s largest voluntary adoption agency, after it was suggested they were ‘more lenient towards larger people’, Metro reports.

While the anonymous source admitted that both he and his partner ‘fall into the obese category’, he spoke of the immense ‘pressure’ which was placed on the pair as a result of the comment.


Despite this, the couple got in touch with Barnardo’s and were initially told they’d ‘be perfect for adoption’, as they were ‘young and had good jobs’.

However, just weeks later, their area manager reportedly told them they would be required to lose weight and that the agency viewed it as non-negotiable.

Her explanation was that adoptive children needed to have a healthy example set and so the application would be rejected by the medical advisor if the pair didn’t commit to losing weight.


The husband noted how ‘incredibly hurt and upset’ he and his wife were to hear such news. ‘We knew our body shape could and would never impact our ability to parent,’ he said.

In line with their application, the couple were set medical examinations to track their weight loss, in which they were both required to lose a stone.

He said: 

The pressure it placed on us was unmeasurable. We felt guilty whenever we ate and then there would be tension if one of us lost weight but the other didn’t.


Upon losing the required amount of weight, the couple were put on the national register after finally being approved by a panel.

The husband recalled how ‘incredibly popular’ they were on the platform within days, and found a child who they thought was ‘incredible’.

The pair ended up adopting the child, and the anonymous partner noted how ‘all the stresses [they’d] face disappeared’ when the child was brought home.


‘From the off, we enjoyed as much physical activity as our “thin” friends with their children and our size never impacted us as parents in any way,’ he said.

Four years after adopting their first child, the pair decided to try and adopt another. Despite having formed a close relationship with a social worker from the previous experience, discussions around the pair’s weight still occurred.

‘It felt so hurtful given we were approved adopters and yet it was still an issue,’ the husband said.

According to the father, the first child is ‘fit and healthy’ and ‘above age related percentiles in every category’, which shows that the pair’s ‘size has never impacted on them’.

He stated:

Of course, my wife and I both believe we need to offer the best for our children and that should be a priority to every parent, but surely the potential worth of a mum or a dad shouldn’t be based on their body shape?

It also feels cruel that in a society which likes to challenge prejudice, promote acceptance to all and encourage people to be themselves, this doesn’t apply when it comes to adoption.

The anonymous husband called the treatment he and his wife had received in relation to their weight ‘disgusting and unfair’ and ‘unnecessary discrimination’.

A Barnardo’s spokesperson said:

We cannot comment on individual applications from prospective adopters. When considering whether someone is suitable to adopt, Barnardo’s looks at many aspects of their lives including their health. This will include an assessment by a qualified medical consultant, who may make recommendations for lifestyle changes to improve their health and wellbeing.

We have a duty to ensure that prospective adopters are healthy before they adopt as our priority is ensuring long-term stability for vulnerable children who are waiting for a family.

If you’ve been affected by any of the issues in this article and would like to speak with someone in confidence, call the BEAT Eating Disorders helpline on 0808 801 0677. Helplines are open 365 days a year from 9am–8pm during the week, and 4pm–8pm on weekends and bank holidays. Alternatively, you can try the one-to-one webchat

Topics: News, Adoption, children, Now, obesity


  1. Metro

    We were turned down for adoption for being obese

Poppy Bilderbeck
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