When YouTuber parenting Myka Stuaffer finally answered a fan question about why her adopted son Huxley Stauffer no longer appeared in his videos, many were shocked to learn that he was living with a new family.
In an emotional video released last week, Stauffer and her husband James Stauffer explained that Huxley, who suffers from autism and a sensory processing disorder, now lives with a “new mom” in a “house forever “
The news of the Stauffer family has been reported by many media outlets as “rehoming”, the same term used for when a rescue animal is placed in a new home.
“As adopted, the term” transfer “is offensive, since it is traditionally used with rescue and accommodation animals as if they were not the correct initial solution. In child adoptions, the term can be associated with the placement of children in new homes and, if it has not been researched, this can (and has) endangered children “, a said Lisa Cleary, author of “How to survive a breakup: when all your friends give birth to their second child”.
John DeGarmo, director of the Foster Care Institute and foster care expert, said his first reaction was, “Oh my God. Not yet. “
“I experienced this in my own house. I had a child at home who was adopted by three different families, “he told TODAY Parents.
When DeGarmo’s daughter joined his family, he said “she has huge problems with trust and attachment.”
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“There will be huge consequences for everyone involved. For the parents, Huxley, their four other children. There are feelings of grief, trauma and anxiety, “he said.
Cleary, who was adopted from Korea by an American couple at the age of two months, said the story made her uncomfortable.
“This is one more setback for the innocent child and one more failure in a long series of failures to protect the child and realize their best interests. “
“Personally, I don’t know the Stauffers, but what makes me uncomfortable is asking myself: would parents be just as likely to adopt their biological children with special needs for adoption? I would go for no, ”she told TODAY Parents. “This then adds a stigma to adopted children, as to myself, that we are” different from “and perhaps” less permanent than “biological children.” “
Chuck Johnson, President and CEO of the National Adoption Council, said that cases of “dissolution of adoption”, the official term for when an adoptive family abandons their child, are rare.
“This is one more setback for the innocent child and one more failure in a long series of failures to protect the child and fulfill his best interests. And, yes, it is difficult for those of us who advocate adoption as a viable option for children for the inaccurate message it sends to children, to adoptive families and to adoption. ” he told TODAY Parents.
Adoptive parents go through the same process of giving up their rights as a biological parent would when they abandon their child for adoption, experts say. Families can put the child back into the foster care system or, in some cases, they may have found a new family to assume legal responsibility for the child.
It is not known how the Stauffers found a new home for Huxley, but in their video ad, she said that Huxley was in a new home with a mother who was better equipped to meet her medical needs.
“The past two months have been like the hardest thing I could have imagined choosing to do … after pouring our guts and our hearts into this little boy,” Stauffer said in the video. “He’s booming, he’s happy, he’s doing very well, and his new mom has professional medical training, and it’s a very good fit. “
Experts add that prospective adoptive parents, especially those considering adopting a child with special needs, need to think about it and make sure they have the support system they will need.
“They have to ask: is this suitable for the family? And is the family well suited to the child? It works both ways, “said DeGarmo. »Does the family have the resources and support they need to care for a child with special needs? Do they know there will be a time when there will be challenges? When a child is adopted, they often also have questions of loyalty and feelings of loss and grief. Is the adoptive family ready for this? ”
While stories like this are hard to hear, the Stauffer’s experience is rare, but not the first. Johnson said it is important for people to remember that “Stauffer’s story is not the face of adoption.”
“The vast majority of them are loved unconditionally and thrive in their families and very few of them or their families are publicly recognized. “
“Speaking as an adoptive father, I know that most parents who have adopted children love them completely and would never consider abandoning them. Still, it will be the starting point for some if that’s all they know about adoption, “he said.
“There are currently more than 2 million children in the United States who have come into their families through family, international and family adoption. The vast majority of them are loved unconditionally and thrive in their family and very few of them or their families are recognized in public Most Americans probably know someone who has been adopted but only know that they are healthy well and lead productive lives. ”
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