Myka Stauffer is the YouTube star from Dublin, Ohio, facing widespread criticism after she and her husband, James, decided to “rehome” their adopted son more than two years after they brought him home from China.
Huxley, who is now 4, is on the autism spectrum. The Stauffers explained in a tearful video, shared on May 26, that they “weren’t aware” of the severity of Huxley’s special needs during the adoption process and indicated that they were not equipped to provide the care the little boy needed.
However, Stauffer’s own YouTube channel casts a shadow on that claim. Stauffer shared in January 2017, nine months before bringing Huxley home, that a U.S. physician had “almost discouraged” the Stauffers from adopting Huxley after a brain scan indicated his special needs would be severe. But Stauffer said at the time, “My child is not returnable.”
The couple also has four biological children. Myka Stauffer admitted that the decision to give up Huxley had made her feel like a “failure” as a mother. Her YouTube channel, which has racked up more than 74 million views over the past several years, is focused on her life as a stay-at-home mother and includes parenting advice. Stauffer has not responded to a request for an interview.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Stauffer Says Huxley Is Living With a ‘New Mommy’ In a ‘Forever Home’
In their video about the decision to give up their adopted son, Myka and James Stauffer stressed that they had tried as hard as they could to give Huxley the specific care he needed. James Stauffer claimed the couple had not been informed ahead of time about how severe the child’s needs were before they brought him home:
I can’t say enough how hard Myka has tried throughout this entire journey and the amount of effort she’s put into this in helping Huxley as much as she can.
With international adoption, sometimes there’s unknowns and things that are not transparent on files and things like that. Once Huxley came home, there was a lot more special needs that we weren’t aware of and that we were not told. Over the past few years, Huxley has been in numerous therapies to try and help him with all of his needs. And over the last year, has been, a more intense therapy that he’s been in to try and help him as much as possible with his severe needs.
For us, it’s been really hard hearing from the medical professionals, a lot of their feedback, and things that have been upsetting. Really upsetting for us because this is not what we ever wanted to hear. We’ve never wanted to be in this position. And we’ve been trying to get his needs met and help him out as much as possible. We truly love him.
Myka Stauffer added that she felt she had failed Huxley because he needed care that she didn’t feel equipped to provide:
There’s not an ounce of our body that doesn’t love Huxley with all of our being. There wasn’t a minute that I didn’t try our hardest and I think what Jim is trying to say is that after multiple assessments, after multiple evaluations, numerous medical professionals have felt that he needed a different fit and that his medical needs, he needed more.
Do I feel like a failure as a mom? Like, 500 percent. So when I get insidious, hurtful comments, it just really makes it hurt worse. it’s not about me at all. The last couple months have been, like, the hardest thing I could have ever imagined going to choosing to do because ultimately, after pouring our guts and our heart into this little boy.
The Stauffers explained that the adoption agency and medical experts had Huxley spend time with different people in order to find his “perfect match and fit for his now new forever family.” Myka Stauffer said they have continued to receive updates about Huxley’s adjustment and say he is doing well:
He is thriving. He is very happy. He is doing really well. His new mommy has medical professional training, and it is a very good fit.
The Stauffers explained they would not share the specific details about what happened inside of their home in the final weeks leading up Huxley leaving their family in order to protect his privacy. Myka Stauffer added that she had refrained from posting about the process on social media in order not to jeopardize the legal process involved in finding Huxley his new family.
2. Myka Stauffer Posted On Instagram In January About How ‘Lucky’ She Felt to Have Huxley As Her Son
Myka Stauffer has not publicly disclosed when she and her husband made the ultimate decision to give up Huxley. In early 2020, she posted photos of the little boy and boasted about being a family of seven. On January 22, Stauffer shared a picture of her and Huxley hugging and wrote this loving caption: “Thank you so much for trusting me to be your mama! You are the bravest, and sweetest boy I have ever met! And, I’m so lucky to call you my son!” She included the hashtags “adoption rocks” and “adoption is love.”
But a few weeks later, Stauffer disclosed that not everything was perfect at their home. She wrote on February 16, “The last couple days have been hard I don’t want to sugar coat anything. We have had a lot of melt downs, and lots of behaviors that have had us on our knees begging god for guidance! On social medial and Youtube we rarely show the behaviors or the hard stuff, because we try our best to respect our sons privacy and dignity. We have hard days, lots of them. I wish autism and adoption trauma had a manual to direct you through it all.”
The last picture she posted of Huxley on Instagram was on March 28. The tone of the caption indicated that Huxley may have been removed from their home by that point: “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.”
The final hashtag she used, about reactive attachment disorder, suggests a lack of bonding. According to the Mayo Clinic, the disorder is a “rare but serious condition in which an infant or young child doesn’t establish healthy attachments with parents or caregivers. Reactive attachment disorder may develop if the child’s basic needs for comfort, affection and nurturing aren’t met and loving, caring, stable attachments with others are not established. With treatment, children with reactive attachment disorder may develop more stable and healthy relationships with caregivers and others.”
3. Myka Stauffer Explained In 2016 That She & Her Husband Set Out to Adopt a Child With Special Needs & Brought Huxley Home One Year Later
Myka Stauffer explained on her YouTube channel that the adoption process began in November 2016 and they brought Huxley home in October 2017. She said they had “stumbled across Wen Quan’s adoption posting online” and that Huxley was the little boy who had “stolen their hearts.” In the video celebrating the “gotcha day,” Stauffer noted in the description that she and her husband knew Huxley had special needs before adopting him.
Myka and James Stauffer had two daughters and one son at the time. The couple brought their children with them to China to meet their new brother. Stauffer included footage of the kids showing Huxley his new toys after the adoption officials brought him out.
This moment was a long time coming for Stauffer. She explained in October 2016 that she had always wanted to adopt and that having her own biological children had made her “yearn” for adoption even more. Stauffer said she and Jim wanted to grow their family and she wanted to provide a home for a child that needed one.
In another video, Stauffer explained they made the decision early on to adopt a child with special needs. She said she and her husband met with different physicians to learn about different conditions and diseases in order to figure out what they felt they could handle.
4. Stauffer Said She Was ‘Scared’ When She Learned of Huxley’s Neurological Diagnosis But Went Ahead With the Adoption Because She Felt ‘Drawn’ to Him
In December 2016, Stauffer shared with her YouTube followers that after making the decision to adopt, she looked at profiles on more than 400 children online before finding baby Huxley. She said his picture “spoke” to her in a way that none of the other pictures had. She called the social worker and sent in paperwork expressing interest in the child.
Stauffer explained that during a follow-up phone call with the agency, her heart “stopped” when she learned about Huxley’s diagnosis and that she felt “crushed.” In this video, Stauffer didn’t disclose the diagnosis. But Stauffer said that even though she felt “fear” about Huxley’s diagnosis, she decided to proceed with the adoption because she felt “drawn” to him. Stauffer said there was a “sign” in his file that reassured her even more that Huxley was meant to be her son.
In January 2017, Stauffer explained that baby Huxley had a neurological issue without providing medical details. She said Huxley underwent a CT scan in China and Stauffer then shared the images with their physician in the United States. Stauffer said her doctor actually discouraged her from adopting Huxley, indicating that his diagnosis was severe.
But Stauffer said she already felt like Huxley was hers and that backing out was not an option. She said in the video, “My child is not returnable” and that she would love him no matter what medical state he was in.
Stauffer detailed Huxley’s medical issues in an op-ed for Parade magazine in September 2019:
When we came home, we experienced a big surprise with inaccurate file information. Our son ended up having a stroke in utero, has level 3 autism, and sensory processing disorder. It took a lot of time to process and to readjust to his new diagnosis. We spent 10 months preparing for brain tumors and never once did I read about autism or stroke damage—it was a curve ball.
5. Myka Stauffer Was Previously a Registered Nurse & Now Has Four Biological Children
Stauffer’s nursing license expired in 2013 and she does not appear to have renewed it. A search of her married name does not yield any results on the site. According to her Facebook page, Stauffer attended college at the University of Toledo.
Myka and James Stauffer got married in September 2013. About a year and a half after adopting Huxley, they welcomed a fourth biological child, a son named Onyx, to the family. Their older children are Nakova, Jaka and Radley. The family also has a dedicated website called “The Stauffer Life.” The website does not appear to have been updated in more than a year; Huxley is still on it and their youngest child, Onyx, is not featured.
Since choosing to give up Huxley, the Stauffers have faced a barrage of criticism on social media. A petition was launched demanding that YouTube remove Stauffer’s account in order to “stop exploiting and profiting off of Huxley.” The page creator wrote, “if any of The Stauffers’ bio kids develop any mental disorders later on in life are they just going to re-home them too? Hell no! Huxley was expendable to these vile human beings. He no longer fits into their aesthetic so bye bye he goes.” As of this writing, the petition had more than 8,000 signatures.
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