Mom Who 'Rehomed' Adopted Boy With Autism Defends Decision & Says He 'Wanted it 100%'

Myka Stauffer and family
Myka Stauffer/Instagram

Last week, YouTuber Myka Stauffer lit a firestorm online when she announced that she and her husband James had "rehomed" their son Huxley, whom they adopted in 2017 from China. The now 5-year-old, who has autism, had special needs beyond what the Stauffers had initially been told, and after taking him to "numerous" doctors and behavioral specialists, the decision was made to place Huxley with another family. The public backlash, however, was swift -- leading several brands to drop the Stauffers from sponsored deals and prompting a petition to demonetize their YouTube channel.

  • The Stauffers shared their news in a YouTube video posted on May 26.

    "With international adoption, sometimes there's unknowns, and things that are not transparent on files, and once Huxley came home, there were a lot more special needs that we weren't aware of," James explained.

    "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," he continued. "We've been trying to get his needs met and help him out as much as possible. It's really hard, we truly love him."

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  • But despite loving Huxley "with all of our being," Myka said that ultimately, it was decided he might do best in another home.

    "After multiple assessments, after multiple evaluations, numerous medical professionals have felt that he needed a different fit in his medical needs," she said through tears. "He needed more."

    "Do I feel like a failure as a mom? Like 500 percent," Myka continued. Still, she believed that she and James poured their "heart and guts" into helping Huxley succeed, and said this was never a road they expected to go down.

  • Once the news hit social media, public opinion remained split.

    Some empathized with the couple's situation, saying it must have been a heartbreaking decision to make.

    "My heart aches with you," wrote one person. "So many mixed emotions. On one hand it's great that he's in a home that's a great fit for him. On the other hand, I wonder about your other kids handled him leaving and I wonder how Hux reacted when first leaving your home and meeting a new family."

    Others believed the couple was being selfish, and accused them of "giving up" on the little boy after using him for paid content.

    Many others were torn about what to think.

    "Part of me is angry that you gave up on him and did not commit to him like he was your biological child," one woman wrote. "If this was one of your blood children I don't think you would have felt the same way. Another part of me feels heartbroken for you and how I know what it feels like to fail as a mother when your child is special needs."

    "So many mixed emotions," someone else commented. "I don't mean to be mean at all. But it kills me to know that Huxley is gonna have to start all over. My heart is shattered."

  • In the days that have followed, the groundswell of criticism has grown.

    As a result, many major brands that have partnered with Stauffer in the past have issued updates about severing ties.

    "We have previously worked with Myka Stauffer and are no longer working with her," Danimals wrote in an update to its May 15 Instagram post. "We are aware of the news she shared about her family, and are very sad to hear about this difficult situation."

    "Our last post with her was back in February," Playtex Baby clarified to one Instagram commenter. "We are not partnering with her moving forward."

    "We haven't partnered with Myka since the fall of 2019 and do not have plans for any future partnerships," Chili's informed followers in a comment.

    "We are no longer working with this individual," Suave wrote to multiple commenters on one of its posts.

    According to PageSix, Kate Hudson's athleisure brand Fabletics also has "terminated" its relationship with the Stauffers.

  • Past comments Myka has made have also resurfaced -- including one from a 2017 YouTube video, in which she says her son is "not returnable."

    According to E! News, Myka explained the ins and outs of their adoption process, and how they handled the news of his diagnosis.

    "If anything, my child is not returnable," Myka reportedly said at the time. "So when I heard all of the things that that doctor was telling us, it kind of went in one ear and out the other. He's our son and that's that. We're not gonna trade him in, we're not gonna return him. He's our boy."

    That diagnosis, she told Parade in 2017, wound up being different from the one the couple got before adopting Huxley -- which was definitely a surprise.

    "It took a lot of time to process and to readjust to his new diagnosis," said Myka, who shared that the couple was originally told Huxley had a brain tumor. "We spent 10 months preparing for brain tumors and never once did I read about autism or stroke damage -- it was a curve ball."

    "Our son ended up having a stroke in utero, has level 3 autism, and sensory processing disorder," she continued. “I accepted and took on everything that [the doctor] said, and I sat down with Jim and I said, ‘You know, worst case situation, if our little boy at one point in his life, he needs to be in a wheelchair and he needed full on care, would you still love him?’ And we without a doubt in our minds, we knew, no matter what state he came to us that we would love him.”

  • Now, two separate petitions have been drafted, calling for the de-monetization of the Stauffers' YouTube page.

    One of them, launched by William Smith, has more than 117,000 signatures to date. The other, launched anonymously by a group called Cancel The Stauffers, has more than 42,000. Both specifically call for the removal of Myka's monetized videos that feature Huxley. 

    "They got in over their heads and pulled an already traumatized boy from another country, made money off of him, and then gave him to someone else," the petition by Smith read. "It is clear that this boy was unfortunately treated like an accessory to their life. The adoption process is very thorough and these adults knew exactly what they were getting themselves into. They even admit they had many medical professionals advising them.

    "This is unethical and extremely emotionally abusive. We request that her videos featuring Huxley and/or any content concerning Huxley be immediately demonetized and removed from the platform," the petition continued. "This boy has suffered enough; it should not be public and should not supplement her income any longer."

    According to Today, the Stauffers made just fewer than 30 videos relating to Huxley's adoption -- all of which have paid ads on them.

  • The Stauffers issued a brief statement Thursday through their lawyer in response to the public backlash.

    "We are privy to this case and given the facts at hand, we feel this was the best decision for Huxley," the couples' lawyers, Thomas Taneff and Taylor Sayers, told People last week. "In coming to know our clients we know they are a loving family and are very caring parents that would do anything for their children."

    "Since his adoption, they consulted with multiple professionals in the healthcare and educational arenas in order to provide Huxley with the best possible treatment and care," the statement continued. "Over time, the team of medical professionals advised our clients it might be best for Huxley to be placed with another family."

    The legal team also emphasized that the couple did not put Huxley back into the foster care system, as many social media commenters accused them of. Instead, they worked to "hand-select a family who is equipped to handle Huxley's needs," the statement noted.

  • For the time being, the Stauffers lawyers have advised them not to make any further comments publicly.