Couple Faces Public Backlash After Giving Up Their Son For Questionable Reasons

A horrid predicament burdened Myka and James Stauffer after they adopted a child from China: They were in over their heads, and they questioned whether they were the right fit for their fresh-faced little boy. Nevertheless, they documented their whole adoption journey for everyone on YouTube to see. That’s why people started asking questions when, without announcement, the little boy stopped appearing in family videos.

YouTuber Myka Stauffer and her husband, James Stauffer, produce videos that share lifestyle and parenting tips, as well as their own family dynamic. These kinds of content creators, called “family vloggers,” are criticized for exploiting their children for views and cash.

@mykastauffer / Instagram

But Myka and James, who are now parents to four biological children, received a wave of scrutiny after a certain incident had people questioning their motives. The story began in July 2016, when Myka uploaded a video to her channel titled “BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!!! || BABY #4.”

@mykastauffer / Instagram

On Myka’s channel, the couple disclosed they were looking to adopt their fourth child. Myka explained that “the United States and Africa were parts where our hearts were originally interested in,” regarding where to adopt from.

Myka Stauffer / YouTube

The Stauffers had every intention of letting their devoted subscribers in on the entirety of the adoption process. No, really; Myka uploaded a total of 27 videos to her channel regarding the ins and outs of their “adoption journey.”

@mykastauffer / Instagram

They documented everything from fundraising efforts to learning the confusing international adoption laws. And while the Stauffers initially had their hearts set on the US or Africa, they wound up adopting a little boy from China. Named Huxley, this sweet little boy had special needs.

@mykastauffer / Instagram

See, the adoption agency informed the Stauffers that Huxley sadly had a brain tumor and “brain damage.” But when little Huxley finally arrived in the United States, Myka and James were met with some disquieting surprises.

Myka Stauffer / YouTube

It turned out that the adoption agency seemingly forgot to notify the Stauffers that Huxley had endured a stroke in utero, had autism, and a sensory processing disorder. Huxley’s list of special needs nearly tripled, and Myka and James panicked.

@mykastauffer / Instagram

But despite the inner turmoil the couple faced, Myka spoke to the press as if everything was perfect. In a September 2019 Parade article, Myka described the international adoption process as “beautiful and special.”

@mykastauffer / Instagram

“Is there hardships and hiccups that you may not have faced being in the U.S.? Totally. However, you’re giving that child a future that would have never been possible,” Myka continued. For years after the couple officially got their special boy, Myka uploaded YouTube videos dedicated to him.

Myka Stauffer / YouTube

The video titled “5 Things I Didn’t EXPECT About Our China ADOPTION! International ADOPTION,” was sponsored by baby laundry detergent brand Dreft. Brands like Good American, Fabletics and Ibotta, sponsored some of Myka’s other videos. They were making a lot of money off videos featuring Huxley.

@mykastauffer / Instagram

With loads of sponsors, comes loads of cash, and though not every video featuring Huxley was monetized, they all garnered crazy amounts of views. The video titled “Huxley’s EMOTIONAL Adoption VIDEO!! GOTCHA DAY China Adoption” amassed 5.5 million views. With the help of Huxley, they built their brand.

Myka Stauffer / YouTube

It wasn’t long before the super dedicated fans, who couldn’t wait to see the newest adventures of Huxley and his new American family, were quick to notice the sudden halt of Instagram posts and YouTube videos featuring the little one. In May 2020, they found out why.

@mykastauffer / Instagram

Myka uploaded a video to her channel featuring the couple looking pretty gosh darn sad. “For us, it’s been really hard hearing from the medical professionals, a lot of their feedback, and things that have been upsetting. We’ve never wanted to be in this position,” James began.

Myka Stauffer / YouTube

“I think what Jim is trying to say is that after multiple assessments, after multiple evaluations, numerous medical professionals have felt that he needed a different fit and that (with) his medical needs, he needed more,” Myka explained, clearly heartbroken.

@mykastauffer / Instagram

“There’s not an ounce of our body that doesn’t love Huxley with all of our being,” Myka clarified. “Do I feel like a failure as a mom? Like, 500%,” she later said. When she explained that Huxley was living with a “new mommy” in a “forever home,” people lost their minds.

Myka Stauffer / YouTube

The Stauffers admitting to “rehoming” Huxley, as if he were a puppy they had an unfortunate allergy to, created a social media firestorm. The years-long bonds Huxley formed with his three siblings and somewhat-shoddy parents were sadly broken.

@mykastauffer / Instagram

“What kind of person adopts a toddler into a family with other kids for YEARS, uses his likeness & story for profit and then quietly gets rid of him like a puppy because his special needs are ‘too hard’??” Chondra Echert Sanchez wrote on Twitter.

@mykastauffer / Instagram

While others were more sympathetic, most comments were similar to Chondra’s. Writer and editor Sophie Ross always kept track of Huxley’s journey, even staying in contact with people close to him. At the end of May, she notified her worried Twitter followers that he was “in a GREAT foster home.”

@soph_ross / Instagram

“So apparently this foster family *is* in the process of officially adopting him, which is amazing news. It sounds like Huxley found a safe and loving permanent home and won’t be bouncing around or displaced again after this,” Sophie continued on Twitter.

@soph_ross / Instagram

The Delaware County Sheriff’s Office opened a case investigating the Stauffers after receiving a plethora of requests for a welfare check on Huxley. The Delaware County police closed the case once they met with Huxley’s “prospective adoptive parents.”

Delaware County, OHIO, Sheriff’s Office / Facebook

Deputy Susanna Leonard relayed that Huxley “seemed very active and showed no signs of any abuse from what I could visually see.” “When we walked into the office, [Huxley’s] adoptive mother was singing a song to him as he was sitting on her lap smiling,” she continued.

Delaware County, OHIO, Sheriff’s Office / Facebook

Once having well over 700,000 subscribers, Myka Stauffer’s channel has 692,000 subscribers as of August 2020. While we can only hope the Stauffers live a happy life with their biological children, Kova, Jaka, Radley and Onyx, we also hope they’ve learned lessons regarding child exploitation and the cost of making life-altering decisions.

@mykastauffer / Instagram

Though adoption is a huge decision that responsible parents-to-be put a ton of effort and research into, Myka and James aren’t the only educated adoptive parents who were met with surprises. Especially when adopting a child from overseas, there’s often a great deal that’s kept hush hush.

@mykastauffer / Instagram

In 1997, Ron and Natalie Trecroce made the decision to adopt a child. The Canadian couple found themselves in Arad, Romania where they hoped to find the perfect addition for their family. When they saw this one-year-old girl, they knew she was the one!

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Her name was Rodica Lavinia Farcas, and she was living in an orphanage where she had been left by her mother who couldn’t care for her. She was also in shockingly poor health—that much was evident to Ron and Natalie as soon as they met her.

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The sweet little girl was malnourished, which had caused a host of other issues. She was suffering from rickets, and her bones were weak thanks to a severe lack of vitamin D and other nutrients. Still, there was more the couple had yet to discover…

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In the 1990s, the records of children in Romania were notoriously difficult to obtain. So, Ron and Natalie were in a bit of a bind when it came to getting ahold of everything they would need in the future for Rodica.

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Due to the difficulty of obtaining her records, Ron and Natalie were at a bit of a loss when it came to understanding their new daughter’s life up to that point. This was especially true when it came to her family history…

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As Ron and Natalie continued to search for more information about their new baby girl, they eventually came upon a shocking discovery: Rodica wasn’t an only child. In fact, she had an older sister! Only, they weren’t sure where this sister was…

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For unknown reasons, the sisters had been placed in separate orphanages. This made locating Rodica’s older sister far more difficult. Still, Ron and Natalie knew they had to try. Following an exhaustive search, they discovered where Rodica’s sister was being cared for. Not only that, but they learned her name was Gianina Farcas!

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Gianina was born in 1995, making her a year older than Rodica. Once Ron and Natalie discovered where she was living, they made a serious decision: they were going to adopt her as well, and reunite her with her younger sister. Finally, they made it so. But that wasn’t all…

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After Ron and Natalie arrived back in Canada, the surprises just kept coming. As it turned out, Rodica and Gianina weren’t the only two children in their family. They were simply two of eight!

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Unfortunately, Ron and Natalie were unable to track down any of the other siblings. Not long after they were brought home, Gianina and Rodica were renamed Sophie and Danielle, respectively.

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Ron and Natalie decided to keep the girls’ birth names as their middle names so they could retain a piece of where they came from. It was a small gesture, but it was important for their baby girls to not lose their identities.

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The tumultuous start to Sophie and Danielle’s lives was not unusual in 1990s Romania. The country was then under the control of a dictator named Nicolae Ceauşescu, who forbade any form of contraception whatsoever. This resulted in countless cases similar to that of Sophie and Danielle.

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Many of the parents in Romania at the time were forced to give up children who they could no longer care for. The luckiest ones would end up being adopted by other families who could support them—just like Sophie and Danielle.

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A good bit of footage exists of these two girls; six years after they were adopted, a documentary filmmaker showed interest in telling their story. With Ron and Natalie’s approval, the girls’ journey from Arad to Canada was made into a film.

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Years later, Sophie actually edited the full documentary into a short film, which she uploaded to YouTube. That allowed the film to reach more people, including a number of people with similar backgrounds to Sophie and Danielle.

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For her part, Danielle says that she hopes to return to her home country, hopefully sometime in 2018. “I would love to go back to explore the country!” she said.

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Both sisters would, understandably, love to learn more about their biological parents and siblings. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done, as poor documentation will make it very difficult to locate them.

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Sophie, now 22, is studying to be a photographer, and Danielle, 21, is also in college. They live close by, and often think about how far they’ve come. Not everyone was as lucky as they were!

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Had Ron and Natalie Trecroce never gone to Romania, they might have never located Sophie, and the sisters wouldn’t have reunited. Luckily, they did, and the rest is history!

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