Nikki and Dan Phillippi, the YouTubers who made waves earlier in May after announcing they put down their dog Bowser, are now being criticized for resurfaced comments they made in a series of videos while they were attempting to adopt a child in 2018.
The couple shared a number of videos documenting their adoption journey, beginning in April 2018, when they announced that they were starting the process of an international adoption from Thailand. Nikki, who was 31 at the time, said that she felt no "desire" to be pregnant or give birth, but did want to be a mother.
"I was scrolling through (Instagram) and all of a sudden it was like someone reached into my brain, flipped a switch and I was like 'I want a kid, and I want a kid now,'" Nikki recalled. The pair said they would continue to be open and share about their adoption journey, and in early May 2018, Nikki shared a video announcing they would be adopting a child in Thailand. Bowser, the dog who they later euthanized, appears in several of their videos.
However, just a few weeks after announcing their intention to adopt, they shared their "first road bump in the adoption process" — and it had to do with sharing on social media.
"We're just not adopting from Thailand anymore," Nikki said.
The pair explained that their adoption agency told them that the Thai government prevents adoptive parents from sharing images, videos or other content of the adopted child online for the first year, because the adoption is not finalized until then.
"Nikki's got a YouTube channel, we share our whole lives," Dan said. "... It's not just a rule that Thailand has ... It's that the adoption is not finalized until a year later, so the kid's going to be living in our house for a year and that whole time, not our kid. So I'm not OK with that either."
Nikki said that the couple tried to "figure out how this could work" but eventually decided that it would be too much risk, especially since the adoption would not be finalized for a year. Nikki said she also was concerned that any violations of the policy could affect the adoption agency's ability to help other families in Thailand. After being told by the Thai government that "no exceptions" could be made to the policy, the Phillippis began to look at adopting a child in South Korea instead.
Social media users started talking about the adoption story again when Nikki and Dan announced that they had put down their dog, Bowser, after he bit their child.
While the Phillippis have not responded to the comments online and have closed comments on the videos about their adoption process, they did release a video in June 2019 "addressing the haters" who had criticized them. Nikki reiterated that the larger concern had been the Thai government not finalizing the adoption for a year, and Dan criticized people who had accused them of having selfish motivations.
"How can you ever even come to that conclusion? This is the opposite of being selfish," he said.
Nikki and Dan Phillippi did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TODAY.
Commentators also pointed out other comments that the Phillippis made in their videos: Nikki said in one video that she didn't feel "called" to adopt a child with special needs.
"We are not completely opposed to a child that has special needs, we would take on a child that has special needs, but there's a spectrum there and at this point we don't feel called to adopt a child with moderate to severe special needs, but we would totally take on with the mild to moderate range of special needs," Nikki said. "That being said, I don't feel bad for saying that, because of the fact that no mother ... prays that their daughter or their kids comes out having special needs ... Nobody asks for that."
The Phillippis did not wind up adopting a child: They withdrew from the South Korean adoption process because they said Nikki's background of therapy and anti-depressants made it unlikely that they would be approved for an adoption, and they withdrew from an adoption process in Colombia because they worried the process would take too long and that the child would be older than the age they wanted. They also applied to be foster parents in the United States, with the goal of adopting a child that way, but were rejected by one agency. Nikki expressed concern that their social media presence could have led to the rejection. Her YouTube channel currently has 1.27 million subscribers.
In May 2019, the couple announced that they were pregnant with their first child, Logan. Nikki said that the pregnancy was planned after the two decided that the "specific need" they wanted to fill with adoption didn't seem to exist.
"The needs that we thought existed seem to not really be there," Nikki said. "There isn't this excess of babies in the world that need to be adopted."
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