Note: For those coming here from Tyler Baltierra's Tweet, we have answered his rant against us and published it at a current post: Tyler of 16 and Pregnant Tells FMF Off!
In the recent Donaldson report, Openness in Adoption, the authors state that the degree of openness generally does not affect their level of behavioral or socio-emotional adjustment [to being adopted]. The Minnesota-Texas Adoption Research Project study found, however, that higher degrees of collaboration in the adoptive kinship network [emphasis added] were associated with better
adjustment during middle years, and that adolescents in open adoptions reported a somewhat lower level of acting out than did those in confidential adoptions. All that is a good sign, but hardly enough to push adoption on teens and women who are able to care for their babies, given the right encouragement and support.
A HIGHER RATE OF SUICIDE AMONG ADOPTEES
We have seen in earlier studies that adopted children and teens generally have higher levels of psychological and emotional problems, though adoption "experts" such as Elizabeth Bartholet have tried to discount them entirely as dismiss them as "garbage." However, studies have found a higher rate, for instance, of suicide, or thoughts of suicide among adoptees. From the Journal of Mental Health Counseling, one can find this in a 2007 article:
Because of their struggles with a variety of emotional issues and biological and genetic concerns, adoptees may face intimacy with trepidation. They may avoid closeness and commitment with others or may, consciously or unconsciously, sabotage or restrain emotion in relationships (Common Clinical Issues Among Adoptees, 1995; Silverstein & Kaplan, 1982). Many never feel close to anyone. Struggles with intimacy may result in depression, alcohol abuse or drug abuse, marital troubles, or problems with family and children (Issues Facing Adult Adoptees, n.d.).I couldn't help but note that 2007 was the year my daughter committed suicide. An adopted young woman I know has suggested she struggles with closeness and commitment issues.
Yet on the happy birth mother blogs, which often celebrate "openness," you find no references to these unpleasant realities. The birth mom buds, or whatever cheery name they call themselves, think we are drones from another era, swopping in to burst their blissful state of mind. They often shill for adoption agencies, as reality stars Catelynn and Tyler are doing for Bethany Christian Services. Catelynn and Tyler's website now features not only their picture, but links to hiring them to speak for the glories of giving away your children.
The website also features an old photo of the adoptive parents, Teresa and Brandon Davis. Davis? More digging reveals that not only is that name a fake one, but on Catelynn and Tyler's Facebook information page, you learn that Catelynn does not even know the couples real name or where they live! other than North Carolina, if that is true. This is a "semi-open" adoption, and the couple had no idea what that meant, apparently at the time they relinquished. According to the page, Catelynn visited her daughter, Carly with her social worker, Dawn (a real name or a pseudonym?) on Feb. 15 this year. The adoptive parents did not allow more recent pictures of them. Whenever the picture below was taken, baby Carly sure doesn't look happy here.
While comments on blogs and in magazine articles praise Catelynn and Tyler for being "wise beyond their years," and that they "made the loving decision," we do not applaud them here. We do not wish them harm, but we think their turning themselves into shills for adoption--at the same time they profess grief for having giving up their daughter--is crass.
Here's an example of the laudatory press they get:
When Teen Mom stars Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra placed their daughter Carly for adoption in May of 2009 it was one of the most heart-breaking moments in television history. For the two youngsters it was a terribly painful moment that nearly tore them both apart – and a moment neither have regretted, thanks in large part to Bethany Christian Services, the adoption agency that not only found a wonderful home for their daughter, but also helped the both of them through the struggles of dealing with the inevitable emotional trauma of giving a child up for adoption. (Emphasis added.)
Now Catelynn and Tyler are helping to repay the debt they feel towards Bethany Christian Services by appearing in one of their commercials! Catelynn talks about how fearful she was in the initial stages of the adoption process and how Bethany Christian Services works with the birth mothers closely to help guide them through the decision making process and then the adoption, if that’s what the mother decides.IN ADOPTION--PROVIDER OF BABY BEWARE
A little caveat at the end--if that’s what the mother decides--but it is hard to imagine that with this kind of advertising, Bethany is doing much to encourage young women to keep their babies. Working closely with the birth mothers seemingly does not include a frank discussion of what a "semi-open" adoption is to two young green teens--how it actually means "semi-closed," with the adoptive parents' real names and location not revealed. We'd call that scamming the birth mother to get the baby. Although the adoptive parents are photographed, theoretically they could still disappear at any time, and Catelynn and Tyler would not be able to find their daughter. When does the contact end? When social-worker Dawn no longer makes the trip with them? And what happens to young mothers without a TV show picking up the travel expenses to visit a distant state? Catelynn and Tyler are in Michigan; supposedly the adoptive parents are in North Carolina. These are the loopholes in a "semi-open" adoption that are big enough to drive an elephant through. Pregnant women need to beware of agency promises and agreeable prospective adopters before the surrender is signed. One can--and should--always opt for a fully open adoption with everyone's complete contact information known, and then choose parents who live nearby so that visiting is not costly and out of reach. As readers here know, it is possible, and there are adoptive parents who not only keep their promises, but go beyond and keep both families close.
Despite how Catelynn and Tyler were apparently snookered, they have been turned into poster birth parents to convince others to likewise give up their babies. We understand that the home lives of Catelynn and Tyler were not ideal, but as I recall, Catelynn's mother was against the adoption. However, circumstances change and one's baby is gone. What the positive press on them neglects to mention that adoption still hurts the child relinquished, even for such a wonderful and "open" adoption as Bethany was able to provide.--lorraine
*According a recent report of the Children’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services, data on voluntary domestic infant adoptions is not collected systematically. A 2003 study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention put the number at close to 14,000, about one percent of children born to never married women. The percentage for single white women surrendering was 1.7 percent; for black women it is near zero. We have no reason to suspect this number has changed. We suspect that it does vary widely in different areas of the country.
From FMF: Catelynn & Tyler's open adoption will stay open; for other first mothers, not so much
No Matter How Adoption is Done, Grief Remains for Mothers
Sources: Suicide, psychiatric illness, and social maladjustment in intercountry adoptees in Sweden: a cohort study. Finding: Adoptees in Sweden have a high risk for severe mental health problems and social maladjustment in adolescence and young adulthood. We advise professionals to give appropriate consideration to the high risk of suicide in patients who are intercountry adoptees. (Only intercountry adoptees were studied.)
Use of mental health services by adults who were adopted as infants
OPENNESS IN ADOPTION:FROM SECRECY AND STIGMA TO KNOWLEDGE AND CONNECTIONS
VIDEOS Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra star in commercials for Bethany Christian Services...