A popular parenting YouTuber has come under fire after permanently placing her autistic son — whom she adopted from China in October 2017 — with another family.
Myka Stauffer, whose YouTube channel has hundreds of thousands of followers, and her husband, James, made the announcement Tuesday in a video titled “an update on our family.”
In the video, the couple say that they have decided to “rehome” their now 4-year-old son Huxley due to unspecified behavioral issues.
“Once Huxley came home, there was a lot more special needs that we weren’t aware of, and that we were not told,” James Stauffer said in the video shared on Tuesday.
“For us, it’s been really hard hearing from the medical professionals, a lot of their feedback, and things that have been upsetting,” he continued. “We’ve never wanted to be in this position. And we’ve been trying to get his needs met and help him out as much as possible ... we truly love him.”
“Do I feel like a failure as a mom? Like, 500%,” Myka Stauffer said in the video.
The YouTuber, who has four biological children, has been vocal about how challenging she finds raising an autistic child to be. In an Instagram post from January, she speaks of Huxley’s “melt downs.”
In what appears to be an Instagram story from Stauffer that was captured and shared on Twitter, she seems to shame her son for having a “bad day.”
“And that’s why you don’t see Huxley on the vlog,” she tells the camera. “He’s probably having a meltdown.”
— black lives matter!! (@itsrainingshrek) May 27, 2020
Over the past two years, Stauffer has also made over 20 videos involving Huxley, including multiple videos about her “adoption journey,” updates on how he’s doing, Q&As about adoption, and one video in which she crowdfunds and asks her YouTube followers to help her raise money for the boy.
Huxley was also featured in a July 2018 video titled “5 Things I Didn’t EXPECT About Our China ADOPTION! International ADOPTION,” which was sponsored by Dreft — a hypoallergenic laundry detergent for newborns.
“One thing I did to help our bond was decide to use Dreft baby detergent,” she says in the video. “It was really nice because Dreft baby detergent has this scent just like a newborn, so when I’m cuddling a 3-year-old baby boy I can still feel like I’m snuggling that brand-new baby.”
After explaining that she had difficulty bonding with Huxley and that he “rejected” her, she adds: “I get that baby scent that I never got with my son.”
The same day she posted that video, Stauffer published an Instagram post — also sponsored by Dreft — in which she states that Huxley’s adoption process “had so many bumps along the way” but was also “by far one of my favorite journeys I have ever embarked on!”
“I love everything about this little boy and I wouldn’t trade him for anything!” she says.
Unsurprisingly, Stauffer’s announcement on Tuesday that Huxley was living with a “new mommy” in a “forever home” didn’t sit well with many online.
Autistic children aren’t puppies. They don’t have “forever families.” They don’t get “rehomed.” They get abandoned.
Myka Stauffer abandoned this autistic child. https://t.co/H7ZrsYvXI8
— Sara Luterman (@slooterman) May 28, 2020
Guess it needs to be said that a child is not a commodity to be purchased and used by greedy ableist white saviors and returned if “damaged.” https://t.co/N9lbuVhSeC
— Emily Ladau (@emily_ladau) May 28, 2020
I'm autistic. I'm also adopted.
You're a child abuser who adopted an #autistic kid from across the world and then gave him away like a Walmart return or Goodwill donation. Yet you call yourself a "motherhood" vlogger. #mykastauffer there's a special place in hell for you. https://t.co/9n5D5mfRQD
— ChiariChey (@ChiariChey) May 28, 2020
Julia Bascom, the executive director of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, told HuffPost in a statement Thursday that this “horrific” story is sadly more common than one would think.
“Children with disabilities are more likely than their nondisabled peers to be subject to abuse, neglect, and abandonment and to end up in child welfare systems, including the adoption system,” Bascom said. “Other international adoptees with disabilities have also been rejected by their adoptive families in this cruel way.”
Bascom noted that no parent gets “to ‘order’ a child to their specifications” and that any expectant parent may end up with a disabled child. “Children with disabilities deserve stable, loving homes with parents who support and accept them, as all children do.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.