Rehoming Adopted Children and Normalizing Child Exploitation

Rehoming Adopted Children and Normalizing Child Exploitation May 29, 2020

Screencap from YouTube

By now I am sure many of you have heard the sad story being told by the James and Myka Stauffer of Ohio of having to rehome their adopted son from China.  The son, Huxley, has been said to have been rehomed with a loving family.

While I cannot determine if this family is Quiverfull, there are some small mentions of God in a few of the things I have seen about them. But we’re not going to worry today about labels like Quiverfull or Evangelical because what they have done has disturbing echos in the Quiverfull world. What would that be?  Exploitation of children for money like the Duggars and others. Rehoming an adoptee like Nancy Campbell and oodles of others.

The facts of the story are that they adopted a toddler with special needs from China, kept him several years before rehoming him suddenly. I don’t know what type of agency they used, but it would seem likely they used one of the more lenient Evangelical based ones. Many people do that because the more legitimate agencies tend to screen the parents more thoroughly, make sure they understand the child’s issues and insist the parents have plans in place to cope with issues. There are multiple home visits before and after the adoption. Those Evangelical adoption agencies do very little oversight, screening or help.

Of course it’s not going to be easy or fun, or fulfill anyone’s “white savior” ideas to adopt a special needs child from another country. Think of it from the child’s perspective, ripped from the only life they have ever known, and thrust into an alien culture with strangers speaking an unknown language. That’s enough to stress anyone out, causing them to “misbehave,” which is usually just reactive behavior to this new norm.

And there is a terrible cost to the children coming through the more lax religious based agencies. Higher numbers of disrupted adoptions with rehoming of children with little or no oversight. I keep seeing the figures that one in five adoptions are disrupted, but I feel pretty certain that the actual figure is much higher in these Evangelical adoptions. One of the treatment homes I was employed at had around 40 to 45% of patients coming from these Evangelical adoption agencies families disrupting the adoption , and placing the child at a residential treatment center as the first step to disruption. None of those children returned to their adoptive families, many ended up in foster care or other group homes.

Unsurprisingly, experts say that an adoption dissolution carries a significant risk of trauma to the child. According to Mayra Mendez, a licensed psychotherapist in Santa Monica, California, children can suffer from many potential side effects as a result of disrupting attachment and bonding. “A child that experiences several different placements and family living situations is at high risk for forming insecure attachment,” Mendez says, meaning he or she will have difficulty trusting adult caregivers. When adoptions are disrupted, Mendez says, children are more likely to struggle with depression and mood instability. She recommends that families seek therapy and work closely with children’s services when putting a child up for re-adoption, but cautions, “There is no easy or painless way of dealing with adoption disruption.”

Statistics on long term outcomes for disrupted adoptions aren’t encouraging either. Once many of these children age out of the system they have higher numbers of drug abuse, alcoholism, abject poverty and a host of other ills. Which brings us to another point about the Stauffer’s and their ‘rehoming.’

Myka Stauffer speaks of rehoming Huxley into a loving home with a new mother. Let’s look at that. Again, statistics show that many times when there is a disrupted adoption that the child ends up in foster care for awhile. That is the best outcome, because there are people who should never have access to children, lurking on the internet willing to take any child, no questions asked for rehoming. Not every agency that offers rehoming is legitimate either. People magazine did their usual stupid puff piece on rehoming that has no real basis in reality excusing what the Stauffer’s did.

There is literally no way for us to know if the Stauffer’s gave Huxley away through a legitimate source, or if they simply advertised him on a sketchy webpage to find another adoptive family.  One of the worst cases I have personally seen of rehoming ended up with a six year old little girl being rehomed to a producer of child pornography, who put the child to work. It’s worth noting that rehoming is not legal in all 50 states at this time. Ohio currently has no laws on the books banning rehoming.

But what I find much more disturbing in the Stauffer’s story is the fact that they exploited Huxley for over two years to bring money into their home. For you see Myka Stauffer is a “Lifestyle” YouTube blogger. This is a whole new world to me, pushing 60, and unable to comprehend the idea that some people will not work, but they will spend hours each day online filming a highly sanitized version of their lives for public consumption.

One video blogger I know recently stated that she could not put up with any criticism because, and I quote, “This is my job!” No sweetheart, a job does not involve raging narcissism that seems to be everywhere on YouTube these days. Just look at popular YouTube bloggers like Truthfully Trisha, Girl Defined, Without a Crystal Ball and many others and ask yourself if these people are producing anything more than a boost to their considerable egos. You cannot. No legitimate product, service or anything else.

The Stauffers are no different, and they are also no different than the Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar family, exploiting their children in front of the entire world, while attempting to promote a false narrative of how wonderful they are. Myka has had to admit that some of what she filmed wasn’t the reality of their lives.

I would love to see YouTube put a ban on video bloggers that feature, use and exploit their children, natural or adopted, but I know that’s not likely to happen. What is likely to happen is that more of these false fronts will be exposed as the lies that they are. Truth is a good thing.

There need to be laws in place to stop the exploitation of children, the unregulated rehoming of children and these fly by night Evangelical adoption agencies need to stop hiding behind religion, and be held to the same strict standards that others must follow.

This story is sickening, but we’re going to keep watching to see what happens and update you here. But for now I am running away to the fabric store to sooth myself.

Speaking of sickening. I have to keep updating yesterday evenings post as Lori Alexander keeps saying more and more very racist statements. She’s even starting to turn on her regulars.

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About Suzanne Titkemeyer
Suzanne Titkemeyer went from a childhood in Louisiana to a life lived in the shadow of Washington D.C. For many years she worked in the field of social work, from national licensure to working hands on in a children's residential treatment center. Suzanne has been involved with helping the plights of women and children' in religious bondage. She is a ordained Stephen's Minister with many years of counseling experience. Now she's retired to be a full time beach bum in Tamarindo, Costa Rica with the monkeys and iguanas. She is also a thalassophile. She also left behind years in a Quiverfull church and loves to chronicle the worst abuses of that particular theology. She has been happily married to her best friend for the last 33 years. You can read more about the author here.

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