People Are Livid At The YouTuber Who Secretly ‘Rehomed’ Her Adopted Son With Autism
After vlogging her four-year journey with Huxley, Myka Stauffer decided to "rehome" her son.
Myka Stauffer is a YouTuber from Ohio, who gained a significant following from vlogging her son Huxley’s adoption journey.
In July of 2016, on her personal channel that now has over 700,000 subscribers, Myka and her husband James announced that they would be starting the process to adopt a “a little boy from China”.
With their hearts set on getting a “youngster [who’s] two or younger”, the Stauffer family settled with China after they realised they couldn’t easily adopt a young baby in the United States. In the same video, Myka also stated that that the couple were interested in potentially adopting a second time from either “Ethiopia or Uganda”.
This announcement was the start of Myka Stauffer’s 27-video ‘Adoption Journey’ series, which covered topics like adoption Q&As, updates on the process, a ‘photo reveal’ of their son and even a vlog from the day they brought Huxley home (which happens to be her most-viewed video).
These monetised videos amassed the Stauffer’s over 8.5 million views in less than four years. In one now-unlisted video titled ‘Huxley’s Emotional First Year Home Post China Adoption’, Myka opens the video with a message to her son.
“Dear Huxley, welcome to your forever family,” Myka narrates. “A family that will never give up on you.”
Sadly, two days ago Myka uploaded another announcement on her channel titled ‘an update on our family’. After her followers noticed that Huxley wasn’t appearing in photos or videos anymore, the Stauffer’s finally shared that the family decided to “rehome” their son.
Tearfully explaining their decision, Myka’s husband shared that “once Huxley came home [from China] there were a lot more special needs that we weren’t aware of and that we were not told.”
“There’s not an ounce of our body that doesn’t love Huxley with all of our being. There’s not a minute where we didn’t try our hardest,” Myka continued. “After multiple assessments and evaluations, numerous medical professionals felt that he needed a different fit with his medical needs, he needed more.”
“The adoption agency… found somebody that they felt would be ultimately the best fit and he is thriving, he is very happy and he is doing really well,” the couple explained. “And his new mummy has medical professional training and it is a very good fit.”
The Stauffer’s then ended the video by sharing that they wanted to “protect Huxley’s privacy” by not going into detail over what made them come to the decision. “I didn’t adopt a little boy to share these [struggles] publicly,” Myka said.
However, once the video made its way online, people were not happy. Myka Stauffer was quickly called out for her decision to “rehome” her child like he was a puppy that outgrew his home.
Autistic children aren’t puppies. They don’t have “forever families.” They don’t get “rehomed.” They get abandoned.
Myka Stauffer abandoned this autistic child. https://t.co/H7ZrsYvXI8
— Sara Luterman (@slooterman) May 28, 2020
The situation with myka stauffer is so upsetting. When you adopt a child you act as though you literally gave birth to that child and they’re fully yours. They aren’t a dog you adopted from the pound that you get to return in 14 days if they aren’t a good fit… gross
— positiviᵗᵉᵃ (@TeaSpillYT) May 28, 2020
Myka Stauffer and her husband James adopted a boy from China and exploited him for Youtube clout. But when he got older they found him a new “forever home” like a puppy that outgrew its welcome and not an actual human being. White people must stop treating us like their own dogs.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) May 28, 2020
As Huxley’s story spread online, people began to pick at Myka Stauffer’s story and social pages. One person even created a Change.org petition to have all the Stauffer’s monetised Huxley content removed from YouTube considering it would be an invasion of privacy for someone who is no longer a part of their family of six.
Beyond the obvious problem of deciding to “rehome” a child they adopted, many people found issue in the Stauffer’s exploiting Huxley for followers and brand deals while he was a part of the family. As an example, in her ‘5 Things I Didn’t EXPECT About Our China ADOPTION! International ADOPTION’ video, Myka partnered with laundry company, Dreft, to offer a discount code on detergent.
“One thing I do to help our bond was decide to use Dreft baby detergent,” Myka said while explaining that she suffered from rejection with her son. “It has this scent just like a newborn, so when I’m cuddling a three-year-old baby boy I can still feel like I’m snuggling a brand-new baby.”
Another issue people found was Myka Stauffer’s decision to ignore and delete any questions about Huxley’s disappearance over the last few months. Despite these followers literally helping to fund Huxley’s adoption through a fundraiser that Myka pushed in videos, the Stauffer’s instead chose to ignore the questions and take the rest of her family on a vacation to Bali.
It was only once these followers started to comment on the pages of Myka’s sponsors that the Stauffer’s decided to release their video explaining where Huxley had gone.
Youtubers Myka & James Stauffer raised money to adopt an autistic boy from China, made him their brand, & picked up major sponsors.
A few years later, they secretly put him in the foster system, vacationed in Bali, and pretended he didn't exist for months.
It gets worse. pic.twitter.com/ThYZMeNtyT
— melissa stout (@mellierenee) May 28, 2020
Extremely depressed reading about the influencer who raised funds to adopt a son, made this her “brand,” discovered he has special needs, secretly rehomed him, blocked ppl asking about him (after her followers helped fund the adoption) & put out a video making herself the victim https://t.co/ekgeTWBpm5
— Sophie Ross (@SophRossss) May 27, 2020
While what Myka Stauffer and her husband did was shocking, it must be said that raising a child with special needs is likely a hard task. But most people who are upset with the Stauffer family see their decision to use their son’s adoption story to profit off as the main problem, as it now feels like a child has been taken and used then tossed away when no longer convenient.
This unfortunate incident also raises questions about the ethics of monetising children online, especially those who are not at an age where they can express consent. These ‘family vlog’ channels have grown in recent years, with parents being able to make stay-at-home careers out of documenting the every day lives of their children from birth (labour vlogs) all the way through to puberty — which poses its own problems beyond ethics, with child predators seeking out these videos becoming a big problem.
However, Myka and James’ lawyers, Thomas Taneff and Taylor Sayers told PEOPLE that “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.”
“This is devastating news for any parent. Our clients came to the difficult determination to follow the advice of the medical professionals,” Taneff and Sayers continued. “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.”
“They were forced to make a difficult decision, but it is in fact, the right and loving thing to do for this child,” the lawyers concluded.
Myka Stauffer did not immediately respond to Junkee’s request for comment.