YouTuber Adopts Autistic Boy, Makes Money & Then ‘Rehomes’ Him After 3 Years
You may not know Youtube personality Myka Stauffer but this issue is a big one and if you aren’t already sitting down, you might want to.
After almost a month of social media silence following the uproar over how the Stauffers have handled their young son’s adoption and subsequent ‘rehoming’, Myka Stauffer has come forward with an apology.
In her apology, she addresses the many shocked and pained reactions of people who had reacted to the news of the Stauffers giving up their son.
“I apologize for being so naive when I started the adoption process, I was not selective or fully equipped or prepared. For me, I needed more training. I can’t say I wish this never happened because I’m still so glad Huxley is here and getting all of the help he needs. I also know that even though he is happier in his new home and doing better that he still experienced trauma and I’m sorry, no adoptee deserves any more trauma. I wanted to help so bad I was willing to bring home any child that needed me. For this I was naive, foolish, and arrogant.”
The Stauffers, Myka and James, have been running their parenting and lifestyle Youtube channel for almost 6 years now. Their change follows their lives with 5 kids and includes everything from “a day in our lives” content to “parenting tips”. Their channel has over 713,000 followers and her Instagram account boasts 192,000 followers. Those who follow the family know that of the 5 kids, one of them is Huxley – a little boy who was adopted by the Stauffers from China and has special needs. However, he has been missing from the Stauffers content and feed for weeks now, with the last post he appears in being from two months ago, alongside the caption,
Last month was the hardest month I have ever had as a mama. And I’m still working through all of it. But instead of leading with my heart, I’m following yours! 🤍
#adoptiontrauma #adoptee #adopteevoice #reactiveattachmentdisorder “
Worried fans have been asking about the boy and finally, the couple released a video on Tuesday titled “an update on our family” – and people are pissed. A visibly distraught Myka and her husband James are seen sitting in a bedroom as they explain what happened with their adopted son.
The Stauffers revealed in the video that their son, Huxley, is now with a new “forever family” who are better equipped to handle his special needs. The emotional video has the Stauffers breaking down multiple times over the course of the almost 8-minute video. Myra starts by saying how the video is “by far the hardest video James and [I] have ever publically had to make” before thanking their viewers for their kind words that have “meant a lot” to her.
View this post on Instagram
My people 👊🏻🤍✨Every day has new struggles, and new hardships but, there isn’t anyone else I would rather experience this with! We make memories like we eat carbs 🇮🇹, we laugh often, and being goofy and playful are a norm around our house! 💕✨#blessed #dontsweatthesmallstuff #familyof7 #mytribe #familyfirst #familyfirst #bigfamily #bigfamilylife #family #familyphotography #familypic #familypictures #familycomesfirst 📸 Photo Cred: @initialfocus
Her husband, James, chimes in with how international adoptions can sometimes come with “unknowns” that may “not be transparent on files”. He shares,
Once Huxley came home, there were a lot more special needs that we weren’t aware of, and that we were not told.”
When the pair first announced that they were planning to adopt back in 2016, they made it clear that their plans included an international adoption. The video titled “BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!!! || BABY #4″ was the first of 27 different videos on their channel detailing their “adoption journey”. Since adopting Huxley, the couple have made his adoption and parenting him with his autism a key theme on the lucrative channel. I say “lucrative” because the channel gained popularity after Huxley joined their family and has landed them multiple high profile sponsorships. Not to mention the fact that their emotional video of them bringing him home from China has amassed almost 6 million views.
Over the years, the Stauffers’ updates on their experience adopting a child with special needs from China have featured advertising or have been sponsored big brands (like their “5 Things I Didn’t EXPECT About Our China ADOPTION! International ADOPTION,”.
Speaking to Parade in September last year, Myka shared how the couple were not keen on adopting a child with special needs but started warming up to the idea of “almost every special needs in the book” after “God softened [their] hearts”.
However, the couple claims to have been unaware of just how severe Huxley’s condition was. In a blog post for The Bump last year, Myka said that they were only told by the adoption agency that Huxley was “diagnosed with a brain cyst” that lead to brain damage, only to learn later that he “was profoundly developmentally delayed”. This included damage from a stroke in utero (before birth), “autism spectrum disorder level 3” (most severe level of autism with a more severe lack of communication skills, repetitive or restrictive behaviours) and sensory processing disorder.
The couple revealed that despite placing Huxley in multiple different intense therapies, his condition didn’t improve. And after “multiple assessments, after multiple evaluations, numerous medical professionals” advised the couple that it was in his best interest to find “a different fit (for) his medical needs”.
“There’s not an ounce of our body that doesn’t love Huxley with all of our being,” Myka said while fighting tears. “There wasn’t a minute that I didn’t try our hardest,” she said while gesturing to herself and her husband. This has not helped in calming the fury of the public, especially after the mum of 4 of her own biological children posted this caption on a different, earlier image.
He is a great kid and his condition doesn’t involve that much overall care—all you need is a big heart and practice patience everyday. It’s a different kind of patience.”
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Happy gotcha day sweet baby boy! Today marks the one year that I picked up my beautiful son and our lives we’re forever changed! Huxley you have changed our lives for the better and now that I know how incredible my life is with you in it, I couldn’t imagine a day without you! Love you so much baby bear 🐻 and will love you for eternity 🌎 love you mama! #gotchaday #chinaadoption #adoptionrocks #icouldhavemissedthis
She went on to say that giving up Huxley made “the last couple months… the hardest thing I could have ever imagined…choosing to do.” She added, “Do I feel like a failure as a mom? Like, 500 per cent.” Myka did go on to say that Huxley is with a “healthier match” to meet his “severe needs”, but has been advised to not comment further. No detail about Huxley’s behavioural issues has been given as the couple has cited his privacy as well as ongoing legal issues for the decision to remain mum. They have stated though that, Huxley is doing well.
“He is thriving, he is very happy, he is doing really well and his new mommy has medical professional training, and it is a very good fit.”
“Please have grace with us,” she concluded their video announcement. “We are still struggling. We are going to be heartbroken for a very long time.” The Stauffers’ recently welcomed their 5th child, Onyx who join their three other children – daughters Kova, 8, Jaka, 6, and Radley, 4. Huxley, on the other hand, is celebrating his 5th birthday next week.
With almost 2 million views at the time of publication, comments on the couple’s posts and videos are split. Many have voiced their support, while backlash has also been flowing in. Many followers are accusing the couple of exploiting Huxley to boost their YouTube careers, especially with the little boy being a big reason for why and how the couple makes money off their channel.
@MykaStauffer imagine writing out these captions and not meaning a single word. You adopted him solely for the attention it would give you and now you’re giving him away. Unbelievable pic.twitter.com/68pfN1I2jP
— Not Nora (@ParticleSoop) May 27, 2020
so i watched that myka stauffer video and her and the husband literally blame huxley throughout for his difficult behaviour in their home?? when he is literally?? a child with special needs?? none of it is his fault. it’s their fault for being shitty parents who gave up on him.
— G 🤪 (@kerseytea) May 27, 2020
Remember Myka Stauffer said that. “I know I’m his momma” and three years later she would abandon him because “it was harder then they imagined.” Still they cling to their four other bio children. Hux was nothing but a prop to them. You used him. You failed him. pic.twitter.com/ruDsp10xrS
— SAY THEIR NAMES! ✊🏿✊🏾✊🏽 (@goop_labs) May 28, 2020
Myka Stauffer proved herself the ultimate Karen when she crowdfunded an adoption of 2yo with Autism from China, exploited him and his meltdowns for praise on YT, and then rehomed him like an unwanted pet once she had another bio kid. pic.twitter.com/qW1mVY6H9m
— Jezebel but with less dogs (@thatbonnielass7) May 27, 2020
Oh yes. Non verbal huxley told you i dont want to live with you guys no more send me to these strangers so that i can be traumatized even more in my little life. #mykastauffer pic.twitter.com/qK2Hn2Btl0
— Hayley 🎀 (@Babydolldancer) May 27, 2020
One person even started a change.org petition demanding that YouTube remove the monetized videos featuring Huxley. “These people need to stop exploiting and profiting off of Huxley immediately!” they wrote. “The internet has your back Huxley.”
For those who have never heard of the family, it is easy to dismiss the couple as having passed off their one non-biological and autistic child. Being the parents of five young children juggling their careers as “social media influencers” of sorts means that there isn’t much leeway for the patience, time and effort that is needed to care for a child with special needs. Couple this with the fact that for months of Huxley’s time with them, Myka would have been battling with morning sickness and other pregnancy symptoms while she was carrying Radley and Onyx.
A statement from the attorneys that represent the Stauffer family said the decision was made for Huxley.
“We are privy to this case and given the facts at hand, we feel this was the best decision for Huxley. In coming to know our clients we know they are a loving family and are very caring parents that would do anything for their children. Since his adoption, they consulted with multiple professionals in the healthcare and educational arenas in order to provide Huxley with the best possible treatment and care. Over time, the team of medical professionals advised our clients it might be best for Huxley to be placed with another family. This is devastating news for any parent. Our clients came to the difficult determination to follow the advice of the medical professionals. To be clear this did NOT include any considerations for placement in the foster system, but rather to hand-select a family who is equipped to handle Huxley’s needs,” the statement said. “They were forced to make a difficult decision, but it is in fact, the right and loving thing to do for this child. We have advised our clients not to say anything further at this time, but it is likely they will share more when the time is appropriate for them and all involved. We should be clear that Huxley is a 4-year-old child whose privacy should be fully respected. We know our clients would ask for your prayers and support and to respect their privacy with what has been the most difficult decision of their lives.”
With that being said, as we are not personally involved with the family, we have no idea what actually went on. We can only hope for the best for Huxley and the Stauffers’.
*[UPDATE 25/06/2020: The video, as well as photos of Huxley (even family photos), have been removed from Myka’s Instagram profile.]