' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Catelynn and Tyler's open adoption closing?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Catelynn and Tyler's open adoption closing?

Tyler Baltierra & Catelynn Lowell
The honeymoon adoption of the daughter of Tyler Baltierra and Catelynn Lowell, one of the original couples on MTV's 16 & Pregnant, may be coming to an end. The oh-so-perfect adoptive parents Brandon and Teresa Davis "have threatened to cut off contact" according to inTouch. They're unhappy with Catelynn and Tyler's behavior and refusal to "follow adoption rules." They "violated the Davis' trust because they posted photos of Carly on social media." They're concerned "with Carly now five being in the public eye as she gets older."

Readers will recall this couple, now on the 16 & Pregnant sequel Teen Mom OG (original girls). Unlike the other participants, Tyler and Catelynn didn't struggle to raise their baby while finishing high school and dealing with a stressful relationship with the other parent, as well as their own parents.

No, Catelynn and Tyler surrendered Carly, or in the parlance of Bethany
Christian Services, made an "adoption plan." The beneficiaries of this plan was a child headed for Brandon and Teresa Davis of North Carolina, a thousand miles from Catelynn and Tyler's home in Michigan. Although they grieved publicly for their lost daughter, even appearing on the cover of People, Catelynn and Tyler became ambassadors for adoption. Catelynn and Tyler visited high schools and at least one college on behalf of Bethany telling vulnerable teens that if they became pregnant, adoption was the way to go. Catelynn even aspired to come an adoption counselor for Bethany.
Catelynn and Tyler's Daughter Carly on the Cover of Life Lines Magazine
Carly, Brandon and Teresa Davis and new baby in Bethany ad

While the adoption was called "open," it wasn't truly open. Catelynn and Tyler initially did not know Brandon and Teresa's last name nor where they lived. Bethany arranged visits in neutral places. When Catelynn asked for more openness, their Bethany counselor, Dawn, replied something to the effect of, if you wanted a truly open adoption--you should have said so. It was clear that Catelynn did not understand what an "open" adoption via Bethany meant, and she had not fully understood that the adoptive parents now held all the power.

While we at FMF know from the experiences of our readers that open adoptions can be closed at the whim of the adoptive parents, we predicted that Carly's adoption would remain open simply because the Davis' would not be able to hide. They had become media celebrities along with Catelynn, Tyler, and Carly.

We were wrong. According to inTouch, Caterlynn and Tyler, now the parents of a second daughter, Novalee, born in January, are fighting to keep in touch with Carly. At the Davis' household, the couple adopted a son in 2012. Elsewhere we read that they are trying to smooth things over with Brandon and Teresa, obviously to not be cut out of Carly's life. Some of the dust up is over the young couple posting pictures of their girl on social media--and referring to her as "our" daughter. However, as the magazine cover above shows, the Davises had no qualms about appearing with their adopted children in what amounted to a big pro-adoption advertisement for Bethany.

Although it's sad--parents should not be denied the right to see their children--we predicted this might happen several months ago. We fault Bethany and their counselor Dawn for not making sure young, impressionable teens understood exactly what Bethany was offering with their version of "open" adoption. And we wonder if other teens, susceptible to Catelynn and Tyler's celebrity, may have given up their children because the glam couple, as Bethany spokespersons, made it seem like a cool thing to do.--jane
Teen Mom OG' Stars Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra -- fighting to see adopted daughter Carly

Turning into shills for adoption
Catelynn and Tyler's open adoption will stay open; for other first mothers, not so much
Second daughter brings joy to Catelynn, Tyler

Son (Giver Quartet)
A young mothers quest to reunite with a son taken from her in a futuristic, nihilistic society.
The remarkable end to an award-winning series for young adult readers about turning young women into "givers" who give birth to children that are taken from them. Anyone considering adoption for her unborn child should read before making such a monumental decision.



  1. Hmmm. InTouch isn't exactly the New York Times, and their grasp of the truth can be more than slightly hazy at times, as can be their "sources." I'm always skeptical of those rags.

    That being said, if it has closed, I am very sorry for Catelynn and Tyler. This is why I support legal open adoptions that cannot just "close" because the adoptive parents decide they don't want to maintain the relationship. If these issues cited are real, and again, I'm withholding full belief in this gossip magazine, then they should seek counseling and mediation between the four of them with the focus as Carly's best interests. Not just cut off contact.

    1. Here in Australia there is a call to abolish adoption in favour of Guardianship. The child's birth certificate will not change, nor will his/her name (though it is legal to use an assumed name as long as it is not used in the course of a crime). Kinship will be maintained (with exceptions) and there will be no room for something like "closed adoption".

      If Guardians are serious about making life better for a child in need, they will want the best for that child and severing contact and changing identity is clearly not BEST for any human being. Unfortunately it is occasionally necessary, but this is the exception rather than the rule and should not be the driver of legislation.

      No mother should be allowed to dispense with obligation toward her child for convenience sake...this is what is wrong with the US...girls are getting pregnant and making profit out of this...it should be a crime...children are not commodities to be sold to the highest bidder. It sickens me that child trafficking has donned a new face and calls itself "adoption".

  2. Not even a surprise. I wonder how long it will be before they not only "close" the adoption, but move and leave the young parents in the dust.... I would lay cash on within the year.

  3. Oddly enough, Tiffany, I have found over the years that in some cases with celebrities, the mags about them do break stories and what comes out later was first revealed in mags like inTouch, which was repeating a story we saw elsewhere. And the NYtimes is not really going to report on this issue...

    1. Interesting. I've only every seen their so-and-so is pregnant or marriage is on the rocks or whatever, and it's never been true (how many times has Jennifer Aniston been pregnant now?). The NYT comment was more tongue in cheek. :)

      True or not, it certainly is reflective of many open adoption situations. There's no data, but many of them close within the first few years as a result of AP choice, and even the agency run adoption class we had to take (state requirement for adoption) said as much. I am ardently opposed to this, as I said, and support making these open adoption agreements legally enforceable in all states. In my state of CA, we filed a Contact After Adoption Agreement listing out our open adoption plans. My general understanding, as I communicated to my daughter's parents (since no one else was going to tell them) that it was very hard to actually enforce and courts favored the APs in all situations. I would never close our adoption, but it shouldn't be left up to one's level of honesty and the belief in honoring a promise.

    2. I don't think Catelynn and Tyler have gotten married yet. At this point, who cares? They did a stupid TV show about couples and their relationships some time back, but clearly they are still together.

  4. Adoption agencies should not be allowed to use teen mom spokespersons ever. I would like to see adult mature women who have had their children coerced or outright stolen from them spread the word in the locales where these adoption "services" operate. They lie and they lie to young people and they lie to these young people to steal their children to make money.

    1. We ran a post written by a former Bethany spokesperson some time ago. It is absolutely unconscionable that a supposedly reputable agency does this. It could be a scene out of the Lois Lowry book that is listed below.

  5. I have to agree with Tiffany that I'm not quick to accept what is written in this magazine. There are other celebrity/gossip magazines such as Us Weekly and even Star magazine whose stories more often turn out to be true.

    I remember being surprised that what Bethany offered Catelynn and Tyler was considered an open adoption. They chose the Davis couple as adoptive parents and then met them at the hospital, but C & T didn't even known their last name or where they lived. I do agree with the AP's decision to not allow Carly on social media. I have always considered it grossly unfair that Carly was made the 'poster child' for adoption without her knowledge or consent. She is going to have a hard enough row to hoe in life, especially now that she has a full blood sister who is being raised by their bio-parents. Give this little girl her privacy.

    1. Ah, well, inTouch I believe is the mag that covers endlessly the goings on of the Sixteen and Pregnant stars. There are a couple of sources for this story, and as you say, the infatuation of the teen world with Catelynn and Tyler and the use of Carly's photographs would be difficult for the other parents--and they would have said so!

    2. I have read stories going back several years that Brandon and Teresa were quite clear that they did not want Carly on social media or in anyway being in the public eye anymore as she grows up. I'm not saying I agree with their closing what was expected and agreed to by both the APs and NPs to be an open adoption. Just that I do agree with the Davis' stance about Carly's public exposure until she is 18 and can make her own decision.

  6. It's way too late for anyone in this situation to try and hide from the media. they have made one heck of a bed, and they all have to lie in it together. they all thought it would be great to broadcast their most intimate moments on television for all to see, and now are trying to cry foul.

    They dragged an innocent baby into the middle of all this. Honestly, what were they thinking? Any of us, adoptees or mothers could have , and did tell them they were making one big mess of things. But the attention felt so good, and the money from the speaking engagements sure came in handy.

    And a sweet little girl, who is the spitting image of her mother has her life torn apart.

    1. I just recalled a picture I had seen of the Davis family on the cover of some adoption magazine. It was from approximately two years ago. The picture had Brandon and Teresa and their two adopted children and included the first mother of their adopted son. By then, Carly was already the spitting image of Catelynn. If Carly had only been seen publicly as a baby leaving the hospital the public might not be able to recognize her. But since Brandon and Teresa went on a magazine cover with their adopted children, they are just as responsible as Tyler and Catelynn for keeping Carly in the public eye.

    2. Yes, I remember that cover too. If you have time to find it, I'd love to share it. !

  7. The pic was on the cover of LifeLines magazine (put out by Bethany Christian Services) and I saw it here at FMF posted November 19, 2012. Carly would have been 3 1/2 years old.


    1. Whadda know! I am deep into one last pass of Hole in my Heart and trying to avoid distractions...but the blog has stolen too much time of late--as many of you might have guessed.

      I will get it and insert it in the post, if possible. Thanks.

  8. As an adoptee, I'm thankful my adoption was closed. As a teen mom facing the same difficult decisions, my haert goes out to Catelynn and Tyler

    1. Traci--It sounds like you are considering adoption for your child? We list on the side MAKING AN ADOPTION PLAN?

      Check out these excellent pamphlets:

      What you should Know if You're Considering Adoption for Your Baby
      Considering Adoption for Your Baby? Get the Facts

      Certainly keeping a child is not easy if you are not prepared but the emotional and physical damage done to you and your child is a cost that you at this point can not imagine. Did I make a mistake in giving up my daughter, despite all the pressures to do so?
      I hope that you find the strength and actual economic help to be able to keep your baby.

    2. Traci

      I was a teen mum too. I gave my son up for adoption thirty odd years ago, and he and I will never get over that. I would do anything to turn back time and undo that decision. He needed me and I needed him. I hope more than anything you can keep your child.

    3. Traci, Here's a link to FMF's paper on Considering Adoption. http://www.firstmotherforum.com/p/giving-up-your-baby.html The links to the two pamphlets Lorraine cites are on the FMF sidebar.

      We urge you to learn as much as you can about adoption. Don't rely on the adoption agency, attorney, or facilitator to tell you what you need to know. Listen to those who have been there.

    4. Traci, I hope that you will try first to get help to raise your child yourself. You are the best thing for each other. As others have said, agencies and attorneys and others will try to spin adoption as a perfect solution for the both of you: you get to move on and enjoy being a teen, and your child gets two parents. It may sound like the best thing *at this moment* but it is often a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Open adoptions can close, and open adoptions do not offer an easy solution, either. I urge you to ask for help from family and friends and know that whatever hardship there is now, things can change. Adoption also can cause rupture in families that is never quite the same. If you reunite (or even in an open adoption), you won't get your child back. You will meet a person who is your child by DNA but who wasn't raised by you. Your family may not welcome your child. Your child may not feel warm or welcome towards your family. All this can be avoided by working through this now. There are so many false promises in adoption.

  9. Totally agree with Robin - the adoptive parents are just as responsible as Catelynn and Tyler for putting Carly's face "out there". Continuing to do so in the coming years should not be done by either family because as Robin said, she should get to make her own decision at 18.

    For those of us who aren't famous (and happy not to be - lol!) social media has been a great way to share photos and happenings with our son's family. They all see him in person as well but sometimes due to geography or work schedules that is not as often as any of us would like. Social media fills a void. (As does just texting pictures too instead of blowing up Facebook.)

    I hope the magazine is wrong on both counts - that the openness may close and that the a-parents take umbrage to Catelynn and Tyler referring to Carly as "our daughter". HELLO! She IS their daughter! If the a-parents wanted to blindly pretend Carly wasn't adopted and that she was their natural child then don't make her story public. But her story IS public and so half the nation knows she has TWO sets of parents.

    We are ten years into our open adoption relationship and my son's mother refers to him as her "oldest son" on social media because he IS and that is fine with us. He didn't drop from the sky for heaven's sakes. (Conversely his father doesn't refer to him on social media at all. Not even if tagged in a photo. No comments on the photo - not even a "thumbs up". I don't know what it's like to be in his shoes but after ten years I'd like to think he would come out of the adoption closet as it were...)

    ANYWAY. I could go on about the situation with his father for hours. Suffice to say that if indeed the Davis's don't like the phrase "our daughter" uttered by Catelynn and Tyler, they TRULY need to get over themselves.

    I hope all the adults continue to work together for what is best for Carly - which is ongoing contact and communication with her natural family!

      You are a beacon of hope and light for all natural/birth/first mothers.

    2. Yes, I second what Lorraine says.

  10. I wonder how much Catelynn and Tyler's new daughter, Carly's full sibling, has to do with the "threat to cut off contact". How many times have I read where the adoptive parents have cut off contact when the natural parent/s have a second child. How can it 'just be' because Carly's picture was used tagged with ''our daughter''. Many people know who Brandon and Theresa and Catelynn and Tyler are. They also know who Carly is and will always know who Carly is. All due to the media circus surrounding the ''oh let's glorify adoption, let's promote adoption, isn't it beautiful''!! No. People play games with other peoples lives. People play games with children's lives. ..No. it's not 'beautiful'. It's ever so very sad.

    1. Cindy: Good point. I hadn't thought of the full blood sibling being a huge threat to the adoptive parents. Suddenly there are more people involved in the child's natural family--another one who never signed an agreement! to not be connected.

  11. Surprise, surprise. Selfish, entitled adopters close adoption. I wonder how jealous they are that these two had another child (e.g. that they could become pregnant) and that Carly will have a full blooded natural sibling, they want to keep from her. Timing seems about right to me. Within a few years of having someone else's child in their home the possessive greed seems to kick into high gear...

  12. California DreaminApril 21, 2015 at 11:35 PM


    Brandon and Teresa Davis talk to Catelynn and Tyler. Notice Teresa says, "Biologically she is yours. In every other way, she is ours!" And Brandon expresses his desire for Carly NOT to have anything to do with her parents when she grows up!! And Dawn, the ever so helpful mediator. Because thats how most adoptions are. Give me a break. Makes me ill.

  13. Wow Cali dreamin...when I heard Brandon say one she might want to know yall and that scares me I thought really did he just say that to the kids who gave him the pleasure of being a dad!! And sadly the kids didn't even catch that part. I was screaming when Teresa said that she is MY child ummm ya without them she wouldn't be. Why are they so threatened?? So sad 16 year old kids were given the option of signing away right when they can't even vote yet!!! B&T suck and Dawn what a joke! Teresa said adoption is loss all the way around ummm no you chose that it doesn't have to be. Second mom you are amazing what every "second mom " should be! So classy and selfless of you to be so open.


We welcome comments from all, and appreciate letting us know how you relate to adoption when you leave your first comment.

COMMENTS ARE MODERATED. Our blog, our decision whether to publish or not. Anonymous comments from the same individual are more likely to be NOT POSTED. Select the NAME/URL selection, add a name. You do not need a URL. Fine to use a nom de plume.


We aim to be timely but we do have other lives.

For those coming here from Networked Blogs on Facebook, if it does not allow you to make a comment, click the "x" on the gray "Networked Blogs" tool bar to exit out of that frame and it should then let you comment.

We are unlikely to post comments that consist of nothing more than a link and the admonition to go there.