Kansas City, Mo. A man who underwent gastric bypass surgery after saying he was not allowed to adopt a child because of his weight has been awarded temporary custody of the baby boy.
But before he issued the order granting temporary adoptive custody, Jackson County Circuit Judge John R. O'Malley also sharply criticized Gary Stocklaufer for his handling of the matter and denied Stocklaufer's claim that the court would not allow him to adopt the baby because he is obese.
In an unusual departure from adoption proceedings, which are not public in Missouri, the judge released his order to the media Tuesday "because of the enormous publicity" about the case, likening it to a "parade that would embarrass P.T. Barnum."
Stocklaufer, 35, weighed 550 pounds in July when his petition to adopt Max, an infant he and his wife, Cindy, had taken in, was denied. Missouri officials had not confirmed the reason Max was removed from the Stocklaufers' home, citing the confidentiality of court proceedings in adoption cases.
The Stocklaufers were featured in national media after the original hearing. They claimed they were denied custody of the baby because of Gary Stocklaufer's weight. Stocklaufer underwent gastric bypass surgery free from a Dallas clinic in August after the publicity and has lost about 200 pounds.
In his order, O'Malley said Stocklaufer's weight was not the issue. He said a major problem in their initial petition to adopt was that they did not follow adoption law procedure and obtain some required paperwork when the baby was moved into Missouri from another state.