Myka Stauffer, 32, and her husband James appeared in a tearful video posted on her YouTube page on Tuesday, in which they announced that their “journey” with Huxley, 4, had come to an end.
That journey started in 2016 and helped them build — and monetize — a channel with over 700,000 followers, many of whom were outraged by the announcement.
“I didn’t adopt a little boy to share these things publicly,” Myka Stauffer said in the new video, which has been watched more than 687,000 times to date.
It’s also one of more than two dozens videos about Huxley on her channel, which is dedicated to her life as a mother living in Ohio.
The couple said Huxley has been moved to a new “forever family,” and alluded to “issues” and “special needs” that led to their decision. They refused to go into detail on those issues, citing the boy’s privacy.
Stauffer says she stopped featuring Huxley in her videos while the re-homing process took place, and she only shared an update on his status after it had been resolved.
“Do I feel like a failure as a mom? Like, 500 per cent,” she said.
Stauffer has spent the last three-plus years building a profile as a mommy blogger and media personality, but her experiences with Huxley helped catapult her to her current fame.
The top video on her YouTube page is still a “gotcha” montage celebrating Huxley’s adoption, with over 5.5 million views since it was first posted in October 2017.
In the Stauffers’ latest video, James said the boy had more issues than they expected after going through the adoption process.
“With international adoption, sometimes there’s unknowns and things that are not transparent on files and things,” he said.
Myka Stauffer laid out those issues in more detail last tear in a blog for The Bump, a popular parenting site.
She says the family had been led to believe that Huxley was developmentally on track and capable of speaking Chinese, though they were also told that he had a small brain tumour.
She says his “issues” became more apparent after they brought him home from China.
“We saw behaviours first-hand that we couldn’t explain,” she wrote. “In fact, Huxley didn’t understand Chinese and was profoundly developmentally delayed.”
She added that he would violently bang his head on the wall and bite and punch others, including his now-former siblings.
In the blog post, Stauffer describes the “heartbreak” of learning that Huxley had autism spectrum disorder, and the parenting lessons she learned because of it.
“I quickly learned that Huxley wasn’t the one who needed to change — it was me,” Stauffer wrote in the post, which was published one month before Huxley’s change of family.
“He taught me to quit giving a damn about what other people think.”
On Tuesday, Stauffer thanked her 715,000 followers for their support and urged her critics to leave her alone.
“When you get like, insidious hurtful comments, it just like, makes our hurt worse,” she said.
Some of her followers were sympathetic, while others accused her of giving up on what should have been a life-long commitment.
“I’m sorry but you did fail as a mum,” YouTube user Grace Wheller wrote on Wednesday. “You wouldn’t have given up your own child.”
“Poor kiddo,” another woman wrote. “My heart breaks for him.”
Others suggested that the case shows the potential shortfalls of international adoption.
“I guess this right here is why the adoption process is so tough and obviously should be tougher in international adoptions,” user Lauren Michelle wrote on Stauffer’s YouTube page.
The backlash was much more intense on Twitter.
“Children of colour are not put on Earth to fuel your white saviour complex,” one user tweeted at Stauffer. “They’re not pets you should just ‘rehome’ when it gets too hard to raise them.”
Please stop adopting children from other countries if you know you're going to put in zero effort to learn your child's native language, if you're not going to teach them about their culture, or show them anything about their bio families. You're doing so much harm. #mykastauffer
— 🕸👄🕸 (@Indieanaa1) May 27, 2020
Others dredged up seemingly heartfelt comments from Stauffer’s old social media posts.
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 (@madamajab) May 27, 2020
“I couldn’t imagine a day without you,” she wrote in one Instagram post from October 2018. Her post celebrated the first anniversary of Huxley’s adoption.
In another video that still appears among Stauffer’s Instagram stories, Huxley can be seen dancing around the Stauffer home while Myka films him.
The video, which is 33 weeks old, features the song You Can Count on Me by Bruno Mars.
The Stauffers have also been accused of treating Huxley poorly, after one user shared an image that shows Huxley with duct tape on his thumb. The video no longer appears on Myka Stauffer’s page, but it’s still visible on Bilibili, a Chinese video platform.
The video shows Huxley at one point with duct tape covering his left thumb and hand. He can be seen at other points in the video with his thumb in his mouth.
The other Stauffer children can also be seen sucking their thumbs.
The Stauffers have switched a recent video in their Huxley adoption playlist to private. It’s unclear if this is the same video involving the thumb.
hey heres a pic of 2 year old huxley with his hands duct taped by his “parents” myka and jim stauffer @mykastauffer as punishment for sucking his thumb as a coping mechanism…when their older children also sucked their thumbs and were never punished pic.twitter.com/lwEYsBoQJZ
— hailey (@shmailey_) May 27, 2020
The Stauffers have not addressed the video, and have declined multiple outlets’ requests for comment.
The Stauffers say Huxley is with a new mother who has the medical background necessary to meet his needs. They also alluded to troubles with Huxley during his time with the family, saying that they held back “99 per cent” of their struggles with him.
“Anything that happened in the home that was hard for Hux, that’s not fair for me to put out there publicly,” Myka Stauffer said in her video. “That’s his privacy.”
The couple has four remaining children, Myka’s updated Twitter account shows. Their names are Kova, Jaka, Radley and Onyx.
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