parent opinion

'Influencer Myka suffered "adoption trauma" with her son Huxley. I know how she felt.'

In 2020, successful family vlogger Myka Stauffer made a shocking announcement that would end her influencer career.

The family were "rehoming" their son Huxley, almost three years after adopting him from China.

Like Myka, I'm an adoptive mum and like Myka I adopted from overseas after already having biological children.

A few short years ago, we were just two women on a new journey to motherhood, excited, yet anxious, hearts full of love and arms open ready to welcome a new child into our lives.

And once home with our new babies, from the outside looking in at the tiny snapshot of our lives shared on social media, people would be forgiven for thinking it was picture perfect.

Because when we started to struggle emotionally, when we hit rock bottom and we didn't know where to turn, we both carefully edited it out.

In reality, adoptive mums like me are thrown in the deep end and are often up night after night researching and reading.

Watch: MM Confessions: The time I was a bad mum. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

We sit in endless appointments with doctors and specialists desperately trying to find a diagnosis for things we never knew existed. From genetics we don’t share and family history we were not privy to.

While I can't speak for Myka's decision to hide her struggles from her millions of loyal subscribers, I can guess that; like me, she felt a lot of shame and guilt. 

You see, when you’re an adoptive mum, you’re put on a pedestal by others, "I don’t know how you do it?" People tell you. "Do you know how amazing you are?"

It's hard to admit that’s not true. That for some of us, we struggle every single day to forge a bond with a child not born to us. That's not how it’s supposed to be. That’s not what society has led us to believe.

Parenting is hard. Parenting a child with high needs is even harder. And parenting a child, who you just met and haven't had a chance to get to know or bond with while simultaneously trying to understand their complex additional needs, feels almost impossible.

But when Myka decided to "rehome" Huxley that's where our similarities end and my heart hurts for all of us.

The breakdown of adoptions are actually far more common than people would know. American statistics have it as high as 26 per cent in some age ranges. That's one in every four.

In fact, there is a private agency in America that's only purpose is to place children from disrupted adoptions.


For the record, I don't think Myka did the wrong thing by placing Huxley elsewhere. Love is not enough. A child should also be wanted and accepted as they are. If you have got to the point where you are considering such a huge and life-changing decision then that ship has probably sailed and children are better off with a family who have the love, longing and capacity for them.

The trauma from a breakdown may never be repaired, and that's something that every parent who has ever been in that position carries with them for life.


All adoptions come with trauma. Even the happiest ones. Our children are no longer with the mothers who birthed them and that’s never going to be a normal life.

But while my heart hurts for little Huxley (who has now been renamed by his new parents) Myka, and her other children, there are many aspects to this sad story that I find very difficult to comprehend.

From the profits made from brand deals, to months of deleting comments asking where he was while still taking cash from sponsors, to announcing she could no longer afford the $500 a month speech therapist while waving her arm dripping with designer watches and jewellery.

Even the language "rehome" made the poor little boy sound like an unwanted puppy and she was caught out in many lies.

She made false promises after his autism diagnoses, reassuring her fans: "He’s our son and that's that. We're not gonna trade him in, we're not gonna return him. He's our boy."

But all of that aside, no matter how she handled this and how you or me feel about her actions, Myka was set up to fail even before she met her new son in China.

You see, with most adoptions there is also desperation.

Many prospective parents are hoping to adopt to start a family or to fill a void in their lives.

Whether it's a calling from God or years of infertility heartbreak, most women are very vulnerable on this journey.


And it's up to them to prove they have what it takes to make it through any hard times that might arise.

During your training, you are asked about the disabilities and health conditions you are willing to take on.

And every prospective parent I have ever spoken to is too terrified to be honest through fear of looking biased or too picky and not making it to the next round.

Actress Sandra Bullock touched on this when she faced criticism as a white woman who adopted a black child.

Sandra admits she ticked the box for a black child, not because she had a preference for one, but because she didn''t want to look like she was being racist by not ticking it.

In hindsight, she now admits she was not educated or experienced to deal with cultural issues that minority children face.

The systems are setting people up to fail. Playing on naivety, vulnerability and desperation of women who mostly just want to be a mum.

I don't think Myka is a bad person, but I do think she made a terribly sad and difficult situation worse.

Jonica is a freelance Journalist and proud adoptive mother. You can follow her on Instagram @the.wandertwins

Feature Image: @the.wandertwins + @mykkastauffer Instagram.

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