To be honest, I don't even know quite where to start with this one. Myka Stauffer and her husband are famous YouTube influencers who recently made the news for rehoming their adopted, autistic child.
I understand that meeting the needs of these children can be challenging. They may have verbal or physical challenges that make certain activities or communication more challenging than what it is designed to be. I fully get that Stauffer and her husband may not have fully understood what they were getting into when adopting a child who has an autism diagnosis. But what if this is doing more harm than good for this child?
Back in 2018, Stauffer posted on Instagram about how she would never trade her adopted son, Huxley, for anything in the world.
That's exactly what she did, though. She passed him on because she couldn't handle it.
I would bet that no one would say that raising a child with special needs is an easy task. In fact, many sources warn parents who are looking at adopting a child with special needs that they will feel overwhelmed, and even alone, at times. There's no promise of a smooth-as-can-be, picturesque, Hallmark movie lifestyle.
That just isn't realistic.
Some of Stauffer's followers even believe she only used Huxley for money. The New York Post reported that in addition to the Instagram post above promoting Dreft products that several other posts had been made by Stauffer using Huxley and promoting Dreft products as well, including the video below.
The sad reality, though, is that Stauffer isn't the only one passing on her child with special needs. Children with an autism diagnosis are two and a half times more likely to end up in the foster care system than their counterparts without a diagnosis. One of the biggest things I have learned working around students with various needs is the importance of consistency. By passing Huxley on to another home, they just interrupted his consistency, his routine, his normalcy.
They interrupted the very thing he probably thrives on.
His world is probably shaken up now, more than ever, even if this new home does end up being a better fit for him overall.
But, perhaps the thing about students and children with special needs that Stauffer missed the most is this: They're worth it.
At the end of the day, a person is a person, and giving up on them because they're different, because times got tough, breaks my heart. No one ever said it would be easy raising a child with an Autism diagnosis. And they certainly didn't say to give up on him.
I light up when a non-verbal child finally says a word, when a child begins to understand their own social/emotional capacity, when they find their niche interests and understand who they are.
I've spent my entire professional career working around children with special needs in some capacity, and I can assure you they're worth it.
I understand it's not an easy task, but one day Huxley is going to look back and feel unwanted.
How does that sit?
A child who will already be labeled as different will look back and feel unwanted not by just his biological family but an adopted family as well.
Again, I understand it's not easy, but no one said it would be. Giving up on a child is never an option. Plain and simple.