Well, well well. I wasn’t intending to write about duplicitous, child monetizing adopter vloggers and publicity whores Myka and James Stauffer. After an extended test-drive, the couple recently “re-homed” their Chinese acquisition, Huxley, after he exhibited “disabilities”–reportedly autism. and “violent behavior.” Myka claims that Huxley was all for it and apparently consented to his banishment. He’s 5 years old. Maybe he did. Maybe he wanted to get away from the Stauffers. (Adoptees aren’t stupid!) Scads of angry adoptees and others jumped on the incident immediately, so I thought I’d leave it alone.
Then, I read a short Buzzfeed, article, on the case, and a big red flag went up
According to Buzzfeed, the adoption agency that facilitated Huxley’s move into his faux forever Stauffer family was World Adoption Association of Parents and Children out of Washington State.(WAPAC)
Flashback: WACAP is the same agency that facilitated the adoption of Artim Saveliev/Justin Hansen. You remember. The little boy 10 years ago who was air-shipped back to Moscow alone bearing a note to the Russian Ministry of Education, complaining that he didn’t fit in.
I wrote about the case extensively in my Russian blog Nikto Ne Zabyt/икто не забыт (Memoriam for Russian Adoptees Murdered and Abused by their Forever Families) and cross-posted here. Unfortunately, I can no longer get into Nikto Ne Zabyt due to a lost password that Blogger won’t retrieve for me). To read all of my posts, type “Saveliev” into my search engine.on either site. There are too many to list separately. The Saveliev case is very important and should not be forgotten.
Last year WACAP merged with Holt International. and the two share a webpage. No one specifically from WACAP has spoken publicly about Huxley, but Susan Soonkeum Cox, Holt’s VP of policy and international affairs says “the case is unusual.”
Well, no, Susan, it’s not unusual, and you know it. Re-homing happens all the time. Allegedly, about 25% of new adoptees are spammed back into the adoption or foster care system, but no one really has a good count since many re-homings are off-paper.
The .U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that out of 135,000 domestic adoptions finalized every year in the U.S., between 1 and 5 percent of them end up being legally dissolved, but warns that depending on studies the rate can be as high as 10%-25%. There is no mechanism to track international disrupted/rehome cases due to antiquated computer systems and the failure or inability of states and adoption agencies to report cases–at least the ones they know about. Some experts believe the rate of international disruption could be even higher than domestic placements.
Whatever the number, there are special “adoption agencies” such as Wasatch International Adoptions /2nd Chance Adoptions, complete with Georgia Tann-like photo listings, to move the little misfits around. Second-chance products are routinely advertised on Facebook. (Note the number of kids that appear to be international and “minority” retreads).
In many cases, however, no “legal relinquishment ” and re-adoption takes place, Kids are just shuffled off to Buffalo through underground re-homing networks by dissatisfied adopters to end up as boarders in some stranger’s house. It’s a sort of the No Shame, No Blame, No Name Safe Haven Baby Box for the already adopted.
In 2019 federal legislation was introduced to outlaw unregulated re-homing Sponsored by Rep.Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Rep.Don Bacon (R-NE) HR 1389-–The Safe Home Act — closes a loophole in federal law by clearly establishing non-bureaucratic re-homing as child abuse and neglect. It is currently stuck in the House Education and Labor Committee. In normal times this would be considered no-brain legislation, but we do not live in normal times. If you can anonymously Safe Haven your newborn over pandemic stress, then you can certainly secretly dump your 5 -year old adoptee due to physical or mental disabilities or for not conforming to your expectations.
The only unusual thing about the Stauffer case is the national and international media attention.
Back in 2010, at the height of the Saveliev scandal, WAPAC’s Russian rep stated that the agency had received no report about Artem’s problems prior to his non-bureaucratic deportation. She said the agency would provide all the necessary information on the child’s adoption at the request of the Russian authorities.
After learning about Artim’s case, WAPOC got into a nasty complicated lawsuit with the Russian government in an attempt to take temporary custody of him despite Russian citizenship claims and other issues. While the suit might be somewhat justifiable due to Tennessee’s failure to act quickly to investigate Artim’s adopter Torry Hasen, the Russian government clearly had things in hand, without the interference of the American adoption industry. A bigger question is whether WAPAC intended to re-monetize Artim and double-dip once they got its hands on him. As a result of the Saveliev fiasco, WAPAC quickly lost its Russian accreditation and the case played a major role in the 2013 shutdown of Russia to America adoptions.
BTW, WAPAC lost its suit. Last I heard, which was some time ago, Artim was being adopted by a Russian couple. I hope he is OK.
Keeping all (and other issues) this in mind:
- Did WAPCO have any relationship with the Stauffers after the adoption was finalized?
- Did the Stauffers go to WAPCO with complaints, or for advice, referrals, personal and family counseling?
- Will or has WAPCO/Holt handed over adoption files to authorities investigating Huxley’s disappearance?
- Did WAPCO/Holt handle the re-homing (if it is “legal”)?
- If it is not legal, who did?
- Did the Stauffers use an underground re-homing network? Myka Stauffer isn’t talking, at least publicly, other than to say she “hand-picked the new mommy. ” Franklin County Children’s Services, (Columbus) handles Delaware County adoption and foster cases, and says it does not have custody and has no idea where he is. (Since Huxley was adopted internationally, FCCS had no role in the adoption)
- Will WAPAC/Holt move to take temporary custody? (I don’t see how they could).
- Will accusations of child abuse, submitted by disillusioned vlog fans be investigated?
- Has the Chinese government taken an interest in the case?
- Will the Stauffers have to get real jobs now that they’ve lost the vlogger fanbase they were sucking boo-koo bucks from?
And: When will child trafficking for adoption–including re-homing–be taken seriously by state and federal authorities and the US State Department?
Where is Huxley?
Addenda: While media coverage,in this case, is widespread, and welcome the curiosity regarding the re-homing procedure is deafening. Unregulated re-homing is rampant in the US–a pattern of child abuse- and trafficking-that somehow gets a pass because nobody wants to skewer the sacred adoption cow. It’s not, however, as if re-homing has never been exposed. Adoption’s dirty and open little secret (among many) has been around for years and a major point in a adoptino reform. Selected additional reading.
The Child Exchange, Reuters 2013:
- Americans use the Internet to abandon children adopted from overseas
- In a shadowy online network, a pedophile takes home a “fun boy”
- With blind trust and good intentions, amateurs broker children onilne
- Despite “grave danger” government allows Internet forums to go unchecked
- Orphaned in Russia, brought to America, and then agandoned time and again
When Families Un-Adopt a Child, The Atlantic, November 16, 2018 .