A couple who adopted six blind children is speaking out amid the controversial case of YouTuber Myka Stauffer, who recently placed her son Huxley in a new home over two years after his adoption from China.
In the video posted Thursday by Karen and Joe Bartling, who run a blog and YouTube channel called SixBlindKids, the spouses reveal that they adopted some of their own children after those kids initially went through adoption dissolution — an event Joe says happens 25 percent of the time in cases of "international adoptions of kids older than 2 or 3," from statistics they've seen.
"It happens more often than people think," he says, adding that "social workers are not trained to assist through that process" and that parents are often left to their own devices in wondering how to "get support" after the "honeymoon phase" of bringing home a new child — especially one with special needs like Huxley, who turned 5 on Monday.
"The reality of what happens with your family, you friends, your church supports … whatever you think is in place to help you through this, they're gone," adds Karen, with Joe chiming in, "they disappear, as soon as little Johnny starts yelling and screaming or having a meltdown, or disrupting a church service and things like that."
"So the agency's not helping, your normal support systems are not helping, and yet the desperation to a family comes in … that doubt comes in that that child may or may not be a good fit [for the family]," he says. "And that's a heart-wrenching kind of situation."
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For Karen and Joe, they believe no one, especially those who have not been through a similar situation as the Stauffers, should judge their decision, especially considering they don't know all the details.
"We're seeing a lot of things about this family out there, a lot of shaming and [judgment], things that are not [sitting] very well with me. I've seen videos that are made by third parties, other YouTubers, who are shaming this family because they 'gave their kid back' and 'This is not a dog,' " says Karen.
While she "understand(s) where those feelings are coming from," Karen thinks making a video about it is "beyond inappropriate because unless and until you have gone through the process yourself and adopted a child and lived through these situations, you have no earthly idea what you're talking about."
"You can't judge someone's parenting based on a decision that they made, because disruption in adoption does happen, and it happens a lot," adds the mother of six.
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