Myka Stauffer monetized the process of adopting a toddler from China through the use of her YouTube channel The Stauffer Life, and built a following of hundreds of thousands of followers. The adoption was prominently featured on the channel, which led to her receiving high-profile sponsorships.
They uploaded 27 videos about the adoption process, with Myka touting herself as an advocate for international adoptions. Using her YouTube channel, she held fundraisers for which she said the money would be used toward her adopted son Huxley’s needs. (Though she did not specify what those needs were.)
Huxley, as she revealed in an article written for Parade, was special needs. They were told her the adoption agency that he had a “tumor” and “brain damage”.
Since Chinese adoption laws only allow U.S. couples to adopt children who have special needs (besides other stipulations), at first, we couldn’t wrap our heads around special needs adoption. We would just say, ‘No we can’t handle all of that, we just want a simple adoption.’ But as we let the idea soak in, God softened our hearts. Before we knew it, we were open to almost every special needs in the book.
Next, we picked what we thought would be the perfect agency that I had researched for weeks. We were set and ready for the next step, until… I saw a little face that I couldn’t walk away from. The agency that was assigned his file refused to release it to our current agency, so we urgently switched agencies just to have permission to review his file (paying a $500 nonrefundable fee just to do it). His special need was listed as brain damage and once we finally reviewed his file, it stated that he had a brain tumor but the even more ironic part was his birthday was a day before mine. As an oncology nurse, tumors didn’t scare me.
—Myka Stauffer, Parade article
The entire adoption process took ten months and Huxley was 2 and a half by the time it was finalized. After the adoption, Myka discovered that there was an inaccuracy in his file at the agency and that Huxley was actually diagnosed with a sensory processing disorder and level 3 autism.
The Stauffers continued to feature Huxley in their videos up until early Spring 2020. Around the same time, he also stopped appearing in photos on her social media and her followers began questioning where exactly he was.
On May 26, the Stauffers uploaded a video updating viewers on their situation, stating that they had re-homed the child for his emotional well-being. While many fans flooded their channel with comments expressing their support for the difficult decision, others were appalled by the family’s decision to “re-home” a child as though he were an unwanted toy.
My heart aches for poor Huxley. They dragged this poor little boy all the way from China, making him start all over again, then giving up on him🥺80% of her followers she gained from the adoption story, got sponsorships and her subs even funded the trip to China #mykastauffer
— valeria (@madsleighton) May 27, 2020
Netizens have launched petitions for YouTube to take down any monetized content featuring Huxley.