And that's the shame of it all. At 16, Catelynn could not have bought a drink, joined the military, or voted, yet she could give up the most basic of human rights, counseled only by Dawn, who is in the business of facilitating adoptions and whose job would be threatened if she did not have adoptions to facilitate. Without adoptions, even Bethany as a business might be gone! She needed teens like Catelynn to relinquish rights to her own baby.
Even if she had been 18, or 21 or 31, Catelynn would not have known the ramifications of adoption unless they had been fully disclosed. Laws generally require that someone be fully informed before they sign an contract or agree to a medical procedure. Doctors must advise patients of what they are doing, the alternative treatments, and risks involved going forward. Stock brokers must assess their clients' financial situation and risk tolerance before recommending investments. Realtors must advise prospective purchasers of the condition of property they may be unaware of before closing the sale. If the information is not disclosed, the patient or purchasers has the right to collect damages.
Adoption has no similar requirements. State licensing rules require agencies to make some disclosures, but these rules are weak. In any event the penalty for failing to disclosure relevant information is loss of a license (which rarely happens) not return of the child. Mothers can undo their consents only for fraud or coercion, and fraud in adoption especially is exceedingly difficult to prove. It requires the mother to prove that the adoption counselor made a false statement of a material fact, knowing that it was false, and that the mother relied on it to her detriment. Failing to disclose the likelihood of lifelong grief, for example, is not fraud. Failing to provide information about resources which would help a mother keep her baby is not fraud. Failing to report that adolescent adoptees are four times more likely to have suicidal thoughts is not fraud. Yet this is critical information to make an informed decision.
There are those who argue that all this theoretical stuff is beside the point. The adoption was legal and Catelynn is better off. Adoption may have been best the decision. But certainly not the one Catelynn and Tyler entered into which allowed the adoptive parents to deny Carly any contact with her natural parents, with no opportunity to have their decision reviewed by an impartial party, such as a judge.
Although we initially predicted back in 2011 that the adoption would not close because Brandon and Teresa wouldn't have the chutzpah to go back on their implied promises before a national TV audience, a year ago we had to admit we were wrong. We predicted the adoption would close.
All signs pointed to it. Catelynn and Tyler have not been model natural parents, fading into the background, doing what they're told, leading impeccable lives, the way they were supposed to in the scenario imagined by Brandon and Teresa. Tyler posted pictures of Carly on the internet contrary to their instructions. Catelynn has been receiving mental health treatment to deal with her severe depression. Her weight has vacillated. Although not stated by Catelynn, it is clear that losing Carly must contribute to her depression. As we've written many times before, women who relinquish children for adoption are more prone to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, trouble with relationships, and sexual dysfunction. They are likely to have more doctor visits and one small study showed they even have more hysterectomies than women who did not give up babies.
One of the saddest things about the Tyler and Catelynn story is that so many viewers bought into the adoption is "for the best" scenario. We who live adoption loss need to continue to inform the public how damaging adoption can be to mothers and their children. And it is often unnecessary, even if the situation seems dire at the time. What is regrettable is that until not so long ago Catelynn and Tyler were shills for adoption in general and Bethany in particular, and making the rounds of college campuses where they promoted adoption to other young and unaware teens what the longterm fall out can be. We know this happens to others also as they attempt to make sense of what has happened and become convinced they "did the right thing" for their child, and later come to regret it. Sadly that is likely what is happening here. If there is any good to come of this, it is that their turn on 16 and Pregnant may ultimately deter other teens from getting caught in the adoption trap.
What do you think about this whole mess? After telling us here, tell others on Catelynn & Tyler's Fanpage and Teen Mom page--jane
(Some who are opposed to abortion will claim FMF which supports choice is being inconsistent. Teens can have abortions without parental consent and, counseling is done by the abortion provider. The situations are not analogous. If a teen is not permitted to have an abortion, she is forced to bear a child. In adoption, there are an array of choices and there is time both before and after birth to make a decision. Furthermore, an ongoing study shows that women who were turned away from having an abortion and gave up the child mostly regret the decision. We will be covering the "Turnaway" study soon. )
Catelynn and Tyler receive bad news about Carly
Catelynn & Tyler's open adoption will stay open; for other first mothers not so much.
Catelynn & Tyler's open adoption closing?'
Pro-Life' equals 'pro-adoption' in Pence's punishing choice
Why not choose adoption? The longterm effects of relinquishing on first mothers
BE A SUPPORTER! If ordering from Amazon, remember us. Order anything through the portal of the books, here or sidebar. And a big thanks to those who remember us.
YOU MIGHT ENJOY
Waiting to Forget: A Motherhood Lost and Found
by Margaret Moorman
A wonderful memoir about two births--one when the author was 16 and gave the child up; the second 25 years later when she was 41, and how the first decision impacted her life, and her fears about her second child.
The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child
By Nancy Verrier
The enduring classic written by an adoptive and biological mother, and adoption therapist. Controversial to some, healing to others but explains the impact of adoption on the individual adopted.
and Lorraine's Hole In My Heart: memoir and report from the fault lines of adoption
Not only her story, but placed in the contest of the wider world of adoption research and reality. Although her daughter had good parents, and advantages that Lorraine could not give her at the time of birth, adoption was a major factor in her daughter's difficult life.