YouTube star Myka Stauffer is facing backlash on social media after announcing her family's decision to "rehome" their adopted 4-year-old autistic son, whom they adopted from China, citing issues with his behavior.
Stauffer, a mother of four children, has more than 75 million views and over 700,000 subscribers on YouTube. In her latest video, which she posted on Wednesday, May 27, Myka and her husband, James Stauffer, said that her son Huxley was now with a new family that is better equipped to handle his special needs more than two years after they adopted him.
Adopted From China in 2017
"With international adoption, sometimes there are unknowns and things that are not transparent on files," James said in the video. "Once Huxley came home, there was a lot more special needs that we weren't aware of, and that we were not told."
The Stauffers adopted Huxley from China in October 2017 and even documented their entire adoption journey on their YouTube channel. An emotional video of the Stauffers bringing Huxley home from China went viral and garnered more than 5.6 million views in 2017. Since then Huxley has featured in many of the family's videos.
Huxley's Special Needs
Stauffer revealed in a magazine article last year that the adoption agency had listed Huxley's special needs as brain damage. After some hesitation, the couple decided to go ahead with the adoption but later learned that he had autism. They tried to place Huxley in intense therapies to meet his needs but his condition failed to improve.
On Tuesday, Myka announced that Huxley was with a "healthier match," a new mother with medical training that can meet his "severe needs." The video comes after followers noticed Huxley had stopped appearing in the vlogger's videos in late 2019 and early 2020 and left several comments on her videos asking about him.
Backlash on Social Media
The Stauffers' decision was immediately met with criticizm on social media with many accusing the couple of exploiting Huxley and using his adoption to further their YouTube career.
"Myka Stauffer and her husband James adopted a boy from China and exploited him for Youtube clout," tweeted one user @eugenegu. "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."
There's even an online petition urging YouTube to remove the videos of Huxley the Stauffers monetized and has already amassed nearly 28,000 signatures. While some claimed the couple used the special needs child to make money on social media, others called her selfish for giving up on the child when things got hard.
"Disgusted. She is not a parent," commented another user on Twitter. A parent loves their child unconditionally, would go to the ends of the earth for their child, would deplete every single cent to their name to provide their child every resource to thrive. Parents don't give up when things get hard."
Some users even pulled up images of the Stauffers duct-taping Huxley's hand as punishment for sucking his thumb and accused them of child abuse.
In the wake of the controversy, many of Myka's sponsors, including the diaper company, Huggies, have ended their ties with the YouTuber.
Multiple Scary Incidents, Obsession for Food
The Stauffers did not go into further detail about Huxley's behavioral issues that led them to place him with another family. However, in a comment she wrote on the YouTube video later she revealed that "multiple scary things happened inside the home" towards their other biological children, after which they decided to give him up.
As pointed out by a Twitter user, in one of the queries she posted on a Facebook group that handles questions about adoptions from China, Myka said that Huxley was obsessed with food and even after eating he would just stare at everyone else while they ate, even if he had food in front of him, something that drove James "bonkers."
In February, she shared an Instagram post of herself with Huxley. "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!" she captioned the post. "I wish autism and adoption trauma had a manual to direct you through it all."