kids

Myka Stauffer Says She Was ‘Naive, Foolish, And Arrogant’ For Adopting Son That She ‘Rehomed’

by Stephanie Kaloi

Myka Stauffer is a YouTube personality who has built her career by filming herself, her husband, and their children and sharing the videos on YouTube.

Each video is monetized, and Myka’s annual income could be as high as $156,000. That’s a lot of money for anyone to make, and it’s especially a lot when it’s being generated by minors who likely provide the content for free.

Until recently, Myka’s videos included her 4-year-old son, whom she adopted from China two years ago. However, Myka and her husband, James Stauffer, recently “rehomed” their son. When they shared the news, Myka and James said that despite being told their son might have more developmental challenges that couldn’t yet be diagnosed at the time of his adoption, “Once [our son] came home, there was a lot more special needs that we weren’t aware of, and that we were not told.”

Now Myka is opening up about what led to the decision, and how it’s impacted her family. In addition to the son they rehomed, Myka and James are parents to four children.

Please note: This piece uses words and phrases in brackets instead of the child’s name out of respect for his privacy.

Myka took to social media to defend the decision she and James made. She begins by reaching out to the followers she may have hurt:

“I want to first off apologize for the uproar and take full responsibility for all the hurt that I have caused. This decision has caused so many people heart break and I’m sorry for letting down so many women that looked up to me as a mother.”

Myka also expresses her regret for not being able to share more about her experience.

“I’m sorry for the confusion, and pain I have caused, and I am sorry for not being able to tell more of my story from the beginning. I could never have anticipated the incidents which occurred on a private level to ever have happened, and I was trying my best to navigate the hardest thing I have ever been through.”

She also apologizes for more of her feelings.

“I apologize for being so naive when I started the adoption process, I was not selective for fully equipped or prepared. I received one day of watching at home online video training and gained my Hague adoption certification which was required by my accredited adoption agency. For me, I needed more training.”

This is a pretty great point — many, many adoptive parents do not receive a proper amount of training prior to adopting their children. This also extends to foster parents. As a former foster parent, I can attest to the fact that the weeks of two- or three-hour-long courses we attended were not nearly enough once we began welcoming children into our home.

Myka continues by expressing her gratitude for the fact that her son is in a home that appears to have more space to meet his needs.

“I can’t say I wish this never happened because I’m still so glad [her son] is here and getting all of the help he needs. I also know that even though he is happier in his new home and doing better that he still experienced trauma and I’m sorry, no adoptee deserves any more trauma.”

Myka is giving voice to something that is real: Children who are adopted often have several traumatic experiences in their lives. The first is usually the trauma of being removed from a home, or being separated from their biological family. However, it’s worth pointing out that trauma rewires the brain, and that it is often lifelong ⁠— it’s not usually something that happens one day but then is gone a few weeks later.

Myka then leans towards indicting herself. She says:

“I wanted to help so bad that I was willing to bring home any child that needed me. For this, I was naive, foolish, and arrogant. I wish so bad I would have been prepared more and done more. I wish the decision to disrupt never had to be made. Adoption and all special needs are amazing, and I have a ton of respect for every adoptee, adoption parent, and special needs parent.”

The term “white savior complex” is used often these days, and it’s particularly relevant to the adoption community. Myka is hardly the first white woman to decide to adopt a child internationally because they “needed” her. Unfortunately, many of the people who do this don’t seem to realize that they are part of the problem until it’s too late.

Myka also rather clunkily conflates adoption and special needs/disabilities with her statement “Adoption and all special needs are amazing.” Her son has developmental delays, so in the context, it might make sense, but drawing this direct line is problematic because it implies that children who are adopted are a monolith.

She continues:

“I look up to you in a million ways. And I’m sorry for hurting the community in any way.”

Myka then turns the conversation right back to herself:

“Lastly to debunk a couple complete rumors, we did not adopt a child to gain wealth. While we did receive a small portion of money from videos featuring [the child], and his journey, every penny and much more went back into his care. Getting [him] the care and services he needed was very expensive and we made sure he got every service, and resource we could possibly find.”

While it’s not easy to find out how much the Stauffers made from each video that featured the little boy, one site has noted that her monthly income from YouTube videos was believed to be $459 in August 2017, but it jumped to $1,520 in October 2017 — the same month that the couple brought their newly adopted son home.

There have also been reports that the Stauffers were being investigated, but Myka denies the claim.

“Secondly, we are not under any kind of investigation. I’m hoping to share more from my side of the story soon. And lastly I’m sorry for letting you down. I also want to mention that moms need a safe place to ask for help when they are struggling. No questions asked.”

Myka’s last statement about needing a safe place is very important, but it can also be argued that putting your family’s life out there for public consumption is a calculated risk. All angles should be considered.

She finishes by writing:

“We love [the child] and know that this was the right decision for him and his future. Praying that [the child] only has the best future in the entire world.”

Since announcing their decision to “rehome” the child they adopted, Myka and James have lost numerous business deals. Her YouTube videos were often sponsored by large brands including Fabletics, Playtex Baby, Mattel/Barbie, Suave, and Chili’s. Each of these corporations and businesses has announced they will no longer partner with Myka and her family.

Myka has also reportedly lost at least 6,000 YouTube subscribers since announcing the decision. She’s predicted to lose around 70,000 views on each video that she posts in the future.

Myka’s family was really thrust into the YouTube spotlight when they adopted their son from China in October 2017. Her YouTube followers doubled between October 2017 and October 2018. While Myka and James may say — and believe — that they didn’t adopt the child to gain a larger following online, it’s difficult to deny that they reaped exactly that benefit from doing so.