For me, there’s already a discussion to be had when it comes to so-called “influencers.” What are we paying them for, and what service to they actually provide to society?
There’s also an ongoing discussion among most parents about what and how much we should share of our children online before they’re old enough to consent.
Put those two things together, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster – and most people feel, at the very least, a bit squicky about a woman monetizing videos containing images about foreign-born adopted son.
Myka and James Stauffer had two daughters – one that was hers, one they’d had together – when she started her Instagram and YouTube accounts in 2014. Her channel now has over 700k subscribers and their family’s channel, The Stauffer Life, has around 350k. The Ohio couple had two more children (both boys) before making a video announcing their intention to adopt a toddler from China.
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Mr. Right what does that even mean? When I was in my college years I feared I would never find so-called Mr. Right, I was far too picky and I was close to ending my senior year. These are the things I would have told my younger self: you have plenty of time don’t rush a good thing like your college years, don’t date someone you already know in your heart is not the right fit for you, and lastly be open-minded you never know where you will find your one and only. 💕🤍 And when you meet the right one it takes tons of communication, give and take, and learning before you might even be on the same page. Love is one of the most beautiful things 💕🌼 but just like a tropical flower, it takes lots of care to keep it from wilting. 🌱🌺 #mrright #relationships #giveandtake #couple #couples #love #therightone #couplelove #truelove #loveyou #loveislove #lovelife Photocred: @initialfocus
Leading up to the adoption, Myka produced 27 videos, some that chronicled their “journey” and others asking for money to go toward the adoption fees and the baby’s – who would later be named Huxley, bless his heart – unspecified special needs.
She said in one video that although they had at first not been open to adopting a baby with special needs, their “hearts had been opened” and they agreed that any baby was fine.
In October 2017, the couple traveled to China to bring Huxley home, and the videos of him in the orphanage, their meeting, and the like were viewed over 5.5 million times. He was around two and a half years old.
Myka’s profile in the parenting blogging community began to rise, with her subscribers doubling in the first year Huxley was home. Somewhere in there, the couple also found time to have a fifth baby. She continued to post about her post-adoption journey in videos that were largely sponsored, which meant she was profiting off them in some way.
Hints began to surface that all was not wine and roses, as she confessed that Huxley had been diagnosed as “having a stroke in utero, has level 3 autism, and sensory processing disorder.”
Myka’s followers – and the internet in general – are sort of torn on how to feel about the situation. Her choosing to use the word “re-home” has stuck in many a craw, given that we associate it most often with getting rid of a pet for some reason, and others (like me, perhaps) see this as proof that she never loved her adopted child the way she cares for her biological children, because most mothers would never give up on a baby, no matter how difficult.
Imagine adopting a special needs child from China, naming him Huxley (a crime in itself), exploiting him for sponsorship money and monetized videos, and then "rehoming" him when things got to hard. LIKE HE IS A PET AND NOT AN ACTUAL HUMAN CHILD pic.twitter.com/ZltwKK2YSV
— tats and naps (@tatsandnaps) May 27, 2020
Others have chosen to praise her for doing the right thing for Huxley, even though it hurts. If they aren’t able to give him everything he needs to survive and to thrive, then giving him to someone who can provide those things is the right – even selfless – thing to do.
Wrote one person,
“My heartfelt sympathies go out to you and your family.
Sometimes even when you do everything right, it can still go wrong.
Maybe this was your purpose – to help Huxley on his journey and enable him to be where he needs to be.
And there is, always, the concern over whether or not she should be profiting off her adoption journey now that it has ended like this. As of today, it appears that all images and videos that contain Huxley have been taken down, archived, or made private.
We can’t really render a judgment in cases like these, because no one knows what it was really like to live in their home, and in their shoes, the three years Huxley was there.
As a mom, I just have to hope that poor little boy won’t be scarred by being given away for a second time, and that the family who took him in will love him so well that he never doubts he deserves it.