YouTube stars under fire for giving up adopted autistic toddler
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A popular YouTuber who adopted a special needs child from China with her husband and detailed the process in a series of videos announced Tuesday that the boy was placed in another home over behavioral issues, leading to a swift backlash on social media.
Myka Stauffer and her husband, James, had posted videos of the effort to adopt the boy, named Huxley, on their monetized YouTube channel, The Stauffer Life, which has more than 300,000 subscribers. Myka Stauffer's individual channel has around 700,00 subscribers.
On Tuesday, they posted a YouTube video titled "An update on our family" where they broke the news that the boy was no longer living with them and their four children -- a daughter she has from a previous relationship and the couple's daughter and two sons.
“There’s not an ounce of our body that doesn’t love Huxley with all of our being," Myka Stauffer said. "There wasn’t a minute that we didn’t try our hardest."
James Stauffer said the boy had special needs the couple wasn't aware of and that they sought opinions from multiple doctors and specialists.
"After multiple assessments, after multiple evaluations, numerous medical professionals have felt that he needed a different fit in his medical needs, he needed more,” Myka Stauffer said. "Multiple scary things happened inside the home towards our other children.”
"Do I feel like a failure as a mom? Like, 500 percent," she added.
The couple announced in July 2016 they were planning to adopt a boy from China and made a series of videos detailing the adoption process. Huxley came to live with the couple in Columbus, Ohio, in 2017 and Stauffer continued to make videos featuring him and the family.
He stopped appearing on Stauffer's social media posts and YouTube videos in late 2019 and early 2020, BuzzFeed News reported.
In an article last year for Parade, Myka Stauffer said Huxley's special needs file said he had a "brain tumor" and "brain damage." The file was inaccurate, she said, and that he ended up having "a stroke in the utero, level 3 autism and sensory processing disorder."
On the video posted Tuesday, the couple said Huxley was placed with a family that is a "perfect match" for him.
“He is thriving, he is very happy, he is doing really well, and his new mommy has medical professional training, and it is a very good fit," Myka Stauffer said.
The couple were criticized on social media shortly after the announcement, which many accusing them of abandoning the child and favoring their brand over his well-being. A petition Change.org demanding they remove monetized content featuring Huxley from their YouTube channel had nearly 18,000 signatures as of Thursday evening.
"The recent re-homing of Huxley Stauffer has been heartbreaking. These people need to stop exploiting and profiting off of Huxley immediately!" the petition reads. "He's done enough for the Stauffers. He bought them a McMansion, multiple vacations a year, etc. What did he get in exchange? He got re-homed as if he were a freaking puppy!"