Myka Stauffer is a mommy guru and lifestyle influencer who has captured the heart of her followers and social media audience with her authentic personality and her trial and error motherhood experiences that she so candidly shares. Based in Ohio, Myka is known for her dedication to adoption and anti-bullying awareness. What makes Myka unique in the mom space is her desire to unabashedly show the not so perfect moments of motherhood and family life with the goal of empowering other women and families to embrace their own unique journey—flaws and all.
In addition to being a mom of 4 and one on the way, Stauffer adopted a little boy from China about a year ago. The international adoption was not without its challenges. However, Stauffer makes it clear that the rewards that have come from parenting her adopted son far outweigh the challenges. Moms.com recently had the opportunity to chat with Stauffer about: the challenges of adopting internationally, the lessons that she has learned about herself along the way and how the challenges of adopting a special needs child further fortified her own personal character trait of not giving up.
For moms and parents who are new to your brand and journey, can you just tell us a little bit about your story?
The best thing to say about my brand is that I try to focus on in my life and in parenting is the reality that it is hard and that you don't have to do it alone. We can do it together, and it doesn't always have to be perfect. You don't always have to be polished. You can be real in the good moments as well as in the bad moments. And I like to share tips and tricks and ideas, and ways to be a better homemaker. My goal is just to be a better mom in general and encourage other women to do the same. Whether that is just like taking a sneak peek at my day, or whether that is doing tips or hacks, or highlighting some of the fun things that we do as a family.
At the time of your adoption, you were already a mother of young children. What was the inspiration behind your international adoption?
It was one of those things where I felt like it was our calling. We looked at a bunch of different resources and agencies, and everybody was pointing to a China adoption. It was really awesome, but the decision was hard. We don't have infertility issues. Conceiving children has come easily for us. It all kind of worked its way out naturally though [with the adoption]. It wasn't even supposed to happen the way that it did. I found our son’s adoption file. Before I opened his file, I was really nervous and scared because it said he had brain damage and brain tumor. I prayed for a sign that if this was supposed to be our child or something that we were supposed to continue consider pursuing, let us have the same birthday or just like one day apart. It was bizarre, but sure enough our birthdays are very close. I just felt like and knew that he was supposed to be a part of our family.
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Crazy to think the whole family is in this picture and can’t wait for the 7th member to be standing tall and smiling with us before we know it! #mycrew #myfamily #myfamilymylife #familylife #familygoals #family #familyphotoshoot ##theygrowupsofast #pregnancy #pregnancy #genderreveal #itsaboy
What were some of the challenges that you experienced early on in the adoption process, and how has this adoption impacted your lives?
We didn't have the traditional adoption. We were told about the brain tumor later in the adoption process and we had so many more elements of struggles. He couldn't talk, he couldn't eat an understand any language whatsoever. Like there was huge deficits. We were worried about a lot more than just a tumor. His developmental challenges were very severe. When we brought him home, the only thing he would do was rock and bang his head against the wall.
Did you personally have a support system during this transitional time?
We had to reach out. We were like, “Is this normal?” We would go to Facebook support groups and ask everyone about the behavior, and they stated that it was normal institutional behavior. And it started getting worse and worse. And for me, it made me want to fight for him more. That's my personality. I'm a perfectionist. I'm a fighter. I am an advocate. If you tell me no, I'll say yes, and find a way to make it work.
I think it teaches you how to love unconditionally. It taught me to be patient and it taught me to love deeper. It's taught me to love somebody, even if it they do not fit the perfect mold. And I know that may sound really harsh or very brash, but when you never had that person or you've never been in that position before—it stretches you. or maybe not falsified information in your adoption for an entire year. For many parents who have adopted, it’s true that you paint that picture in your head of what your child is going to look like and be like, and then when the child arrives, there’s a big adjustment period. My son has taught me to chill out and to realize that it doesn't matter what your persona is. You are my baby and I'm going to love you unconditionally.
What impact has the adoption had on your other children? Any backlash?
One of the things that was really beautiful and I see my kids love with no restraint. For my daughter, accepting her new brother came easily. For my son, it was much harder-but he has softened. At first my son was like, “Dude stay away from me. You bite me. I'm not interested in you. Yet, after he watched his sister be so unconditionally loving, empathetic, and kind during the hardest moments, and it has taught him how to love people that same way. And I think that that's really cool, because he'll go up to his brother now and try and get him to calm down and share snacks with him. He just can show love on a whole other level. It also puts things into perspective for me especially when I'm having a hard day. There's so much beauty surrounding me, and my perfectionism has to chill out, because he is perfect. Maybe not society's way of being perfect. I know that he is supposed to be with us and our family. Maybe, because we're brave enough or crazy enough to say that imperfection doesn't scare us. He’s an amazing child. Yes, there are deficits and struggles, but he's one of those kids that once he opens up or if he can get comfortable around you, he just makes you smile.
Learn more about Myka Stauffer on her Youtube channel.