I am coming into this whole story as someone who had not previously heard of Myka Stauffer before the story of her ‘rehoming’ (what a horrible term) her adoptive son after three years because she couldn’t handle his disabilities.
But what do we actually know about this whole story? There are a lot of opinions and various news articles quoting each other floating around but there doesn’t seem to be many facts.
On May 26th Myka and James Stauffer released a video on their YouTube channel after their adoptive son, Huxley, hadn’t been seen in their videos for about 5 months and their fans had been asking where he was. The tearful video is very vague on the details but they hint that Huxleys needs were a lot more than they expected and that he had started to become violent towards their 4 biological children. They claim that they worked with medical professionals to try and help Huxley as much as possible but that a mutual decision had to be made to give Huxley to another family who are in a better position to give him everything he needs.
What has been reported, based on their previous videos and social media posts, is that the Stauffers crowd funded for the money to adopt Huxley and that they purposely wanted a disabled child from another country (Huxley is from China). It was also reported that they were warned about the extent of Huxleys disabilities (including Autism and brain damage) before going ahead with the adoption but seemed to not care and would e able to handle it. This is information that is doing the rounds in news articles and I don’t have anything to prove if this is true or not.
They filmed Huxley over the course of three years and those videos would have earned revenue for the family. I have taken a look at the viewing figures for the Stauffers YouTube channel and the channel alone would be earning a pretty penny. However, with 700k subscribers, they were also earning money from sponsorships and likely from Affiliate Marketing. Considering they have four children and it appears that Myka doesn’t have a regular job I think it is safe to assume the figure would be more in the thousands than the hundreds.
In some news articles it was reported that Huxley was also suffering with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), which can be seen with some adoptive children due to feelings of abandonment. However, this doesn’t seem to have come from any reliable (or named) sources as of yet and a lot of the signs of RAD are overlap considerably with the signs of ASD (which it seems Huxley was diagnosed with). As Huxley is a non-verbal child it might not have been very clear if RAD could easily be diagnosed. Also, children suffering with RAD can turn their behaviour around with relevant help and support from the household and medical professionals.
In the video the Stauffers talked about how they worked with medical professionals and Huxley to find the perfect family for him and that that family had been found. Buzzfeed news quoted the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office in saying that they were investigating the situation but that Huxley wasn’t lost and they also quoted the Stauffers lawyers in saying that he had been placed with a family with the help of relevant medical professionals. So it does seem that he has been adopted by another family but that it has been done privately rather than with the help of an agency. Private adoptions still have to abide by the same laws as adoptions via agencies so the adoption is legitimate.
I don’t think the video that the Stauffers released has done them any favours as this video has been the cause of all the backlash. They come across as selfish and uncaring, everything in it is me, I and we and very little about Huxley. It is edited to appear to cut off Myka crying but we only ever see one tear roll down her face. I don’t know about you but my face doesn’t look that pristine when I am, or have been, crying regardless of how much make-up is caked on it. We can see her hands clearly and there’s no tissue. For some reason that was a big red flag for me. If you cry you get snotty, you need a tissue. There’s no puffy eyes, no blotchy make-up from were tears have been rubbed away. Whether she was genuine with her upset or not these things just make Myka come across as fake and cold. Even her husband, James, talks about how hard Myka tried to get Huxley the help he needs but doesn’t say we as though he wasn’t there for any of it and had no part in the previous three years of Huxleys life. No wonder the poor boy had issues if there was a detached ‘dad’ in the household. They also were so cut up about the decision to give up Huxley they went on a lovely holiday to Bali not long afterwards. This doesn’t come across as the kind of behaviour of someone distraught by the decision they have had to make.
Also, the video was released reactively rather than pre-emptive. If they had gotten ahead of this, regardless of their pleas for privacy (you can’t put your whole life online and then preach about privacy) it would have seemed more genuine. Instead they waited until their fans were pleading to know what had happened to Huxley before they released anything. Even the videos of Huxley weren’t actually taken off their YouTube channel until the backlash from the general public. They were still making money from these videos even though Huxley had not been in the household for at least a month at this point. This did not do them any favours in the court of public opinion.
The video has raised a lot more questions than answers, such as why wasn’t Huxley placed into specialised school or someone brought into the household to help rather than giving him up? Why did it take three years to work out that your family was not the best fit for Huxley? Surely, this would have been something that would have been known about a lot earlier. If Huxleys behaviour was so demanding and you couldn’t handle it why did they go on to have more biological children? If this had been one of your own biological children would you have given up on them so easily?
If what Myka Stauffer claims is true and they made the decision to give up Huxley to another family was due to the advice of medical professionals then you can’t really blame them for going along with what they are being told is the right thing to do. I don’t feel like that is the issue with this whole controversy. The problem seems to be that they refer to Huxley more like he is an animal by saying things like how he has been ‘rehomed’. Another big problem is that it seems like the whole facade the Stauffers seem to have built in their videos, their online life rather than reality, has been exposed. They’re not perfect people and they’re not the perfect family like they like to portray themselves as and they appear to be more upset about that than losing a child. They’ve also been exposed as a family who have adopted a child purely for money and tried to continue to make money off of after they had given up all rights to Huxley.
Have the Stauffers gone about this whole situation the right way? Absolutely not.
Has the video they released help them in any way? No, it’s probably do more damage to them than good.
Is Huxley now in the right place? I hope so. I’m glad that Huxley is no longer in the Stauffer household as that would not have been the right place for him in the long run.
Myka Stauffer has since started to be dropped by her sponsors as they want to distance themselves from this negative press but they still have 700k subscribers on their YouTube. 700k people think that this kind of behaviour is ok, what does that say about those people? and the current ‘influencer’ culture we have at the moment?