Over the past few days several people reached out to me, wanting to know how I felt, or what I thought about the ‘Myka Stauffer’ situation. First, let me be honest, I did’t even know who or what they were talking about. They responded, well I’d love to know your opinion, its about adoption,
This family “refamilied” their adopted son. ???? Refamilied ???? I thought, is that the same as Re-gifting, Re-upholstering? Recycling? Reusing? So I Googled and my heart quickly sank, as began to understand why everyone wanted to see what I thought.
For those who don’t know the details: Myka Stauffer is a self described public figure, vlogger and influencer amassing a significant following on Insta, YouTube and other Social Media platforms. She is a stunning blonde, mother of 4 beautiful children who shares posts about mothering, cleaning, favourite product endorsements. Essentially projecting a perfect, affluent life that many would, and (by the numbers of followers she’s amassed) do envy.
Apparently three yers ago the family announced they wanted to adopt a child from China, and brought her followers through the journey. Huxley came into the family with tremendous celebration and fanfare, they even set up Huxley’s own page linked to her own. Apparently her followers went through the roof. Followers for influencers translates into money, its a big deal and clear motivation.
So here’s the place I have been asked about….after struggling with Huxley’s needs, which were ‘more incredibly difficult “ than they were initially privy to, and multiple medical consultations, they decided to find another home for their son and dissolve the adoption of three year old Huxley. Huxley has been diagnosed with Autism another challenges as she puts it after experiencing a stroke in utero.
Dissolve… Refamily….The backlash against her and her family has been swift and loud, some saying that the adoption was part of a tactic to increase followers and ultimately her influence and that in the end Huxley and his needs did not fit with the cleansed, white privileged image carefully curated for her legions of followers.
There is so much to unearth in this one. Clearly as an adoptive family, I have a bias…as a racial mixed family, I have bias …as someone who cares deeply about social justice, human rights and vulnerability I have bias, as a mom I have a bias.
I could write a litany of reasons why this adoption should have been a red flag for the officials who were part of the vetting and approvals process. I could write a diatribe about the privilege and exceptions that this purely white affluent family enjoyed and how this is further confirmation of the chasm and inequality that is so pervasive most won’t even recognize how it is totally interwoven into the story.
I am going to focus on the humanity of this. I am going to focus on Huxley. I think about him and his birth family who would have taken a leap of faith, who for their own reasons, let this little spirit go in hopes that he would find a better life, that the love and sacrifice they made in giving him up would lead to more love to nuture him in his life’s journey. It’s a stark and nuanced difference to what the Stauffer’s did. The birth families’ sacrifices to let him go in hopes he would’ve everything deserves to flourish, the Stauffers, decided that what he needs is too much of a sacrifice iand would ultimately take away from the life they want.
I have to wonder, if this was one of the children they’ve birth to, would they have given up in this manner? Or if they were pure in their intentions to make him part of their family, particularly within their capacity and resources, would this even be an option?.
You don’t give up on family, you fight for them no matter what, you find a path to give them what they need.
In that spirit, the Stauffer’s deserve the push back and criticism they are living through. If they can give up on him in the way that they did, he ws never part of their family and is clearly better off where he will truly be loved for everything that he is.
We don’t re-family (their highly paid publicist made this one up I’m sure), family. We don’t give up. Adoption is a leap of faith, an act of love, unconditional love, worth fighting for.