If you are watching the current season of MTV’s Teen Mom OG, you may know and love the Lowell-Baltierra adoption story. So do we! In this blog, Adoptions With Love reflects on Catelynn and Tyler’s decision to make an adoption plan, as well as their open adoption experience so far.
When we first met Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra back in 2009, they were just a mere 16-years-old – and they were already facing one of the biggest, most difficult decisions of their lives. The couple accidentally became pregnant in high school. Despite how much they loved their daughter-to-be, they did not feel ready to raise a child. They were not emotionally or financially prepared and did not know what to do.
One thing was for certain, though: they did want the best possible life for their daughter. They wanted her to have a safe and stable home, as well as a loving family who could support her emotionally, physically, and financially. So, with great thought, courage, and selflessness, Catelynn and Tyler decided to make an adoption plan. They placed Carly with a devoted couple, Brandon and Teresa, who could not have biological children.. Together, the couples decided it was in Carly’s best interest to have an open adoption, where everyone would stay in touch over the years.
MTV first aired Catelynn and Tyler’s story on the popular 16 and Pregnant, where we were able to follow Catelynn’s unplanned pregnancy to Carly’s birth. MTV continued to follow the couple on Teen Mom, and most recently, on Teen Mom OG, where we can now see the couple’s life after adoption.
Catelynn has said that, by sharing her experiences on MTV, she has been able to share a true adoption story with the world. Despite the trials she goes through on and off the show, she has also shown the world that adoption can also be a positive experience. Many teenagers today do not know that adoption is an option for them. Many do not know that they can have an open relationship with their child’s family after the adoption. Before Teen Mom, many only knew of the stigmas and myths surrounding adoption. Catelynn and Tyler hoped to share an accurate vision of adoption today. Catelynn explains:
“Placing Carly in the beginning was important for me to share with the world, just because I felt like there wasn’t a ‘true’ vision of what adoption was really like. MTV really did it with my episode of 16 & Pregnant because it just showed the reality of adoption and it kind of ended some of the stigmas. It was scary to do [the show] also, because I mean, me myself, I was learning about adoption through that process, as I was going through it.”
By sharing their story, MTV has allowed us to watch, grow, and learn alongside this once teen couple as they worked through the adoption process. They have truly come a long way in the last eight years. Catelynn and Tyler are now 25-years-old, married, and have been blessed with a second daughter, Novalee (who they parent). The couple still has a very open adoption, and is in regular contact with Brandon, Teresa, and their daughter, Carly.
In fact, in a recent episode of Teen Mom OG, we got another glimpse into their open adoption: Catelynn and Tyler reunited with their birth daughter, Carly, and her parents for the first time in two years. The couple, along with their second daughter, Novalee, piled in the car to go meet Carly and her adoptive parents for a day at the beach. MTV cameras were not allowed at the visit itself, in respect of Brandon, Teresa, and Carly’s privacy.
The first time Catelynn and Tyler visited with Carly, she was a baby. Catelynn says, “When Ty and I saw Carly for the first time, a year after we placed her, I was just super excited to spend time with her and see how Brandon & Teresa interacted with her. That was really important to us, watching them as parents, because it just made us feel good about who she was with.”
When Catelynn and Tyler originally made an open adoption agreement with their adoption counselor, they asked to receive photos of Carly over the years. This has helped them cope with their decision and brings them peace of mind in knowing that Carly is doing well. At the time, the teen couple also asked for ongoing, in-person visits. Brandon and Teresa agreed to visits that are made in Carly’s best interest.
While in-person visits still happen, Brandon and Teresa have started to shield Carly from MTV’s spotlight now that she has grown. This is something we see Catelynn and Tyler struggle with on Teen Mom OG, as they desire to share photos and updates of Carly with their fans. Overall, however, the adoption is still open. Catelynn said her relationship with Brandon and Teresa is “really good,” and revealed to E! Online, “We talk, we get to see her, we get pictures, I text her all the time… so it’s definitely still very open.”
Catelynn and Tyler feel completely “blessed” to have an open adoption, where they can see and speak to Carly. Still, they do have their hard days. As a birth mother, Catelynn has days that she grieves and misses Carly, days that she wonders about the “what ifs.” She explains to her fans:
“Grief comes in all different ways and it comes at random times with adoption… You’re fighting with your internal instinct – you have to constantly, 24/7 talk to yourself about the reasons why you’re doing it [making an adoption plan]. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life but, I have way more happy days than I do sad days. There’s a rare day that I have a sad day and I think that’s just because I know I made the right decision for her.”
What do you think of Catelynn and Tyler’s adoption story on Teen Mom OG? Let us know in the comments below! If you would like to learn more about teen pregnancy and options for young, expectant parents, please download our free “Guide to Teen Pregnancy.” You may also contact Adoptions With Love at 1-800-722-7731 to learn about making an adoption plan.