Lowell, Baltierra of 'Teen Mom' visit MSU
Teen parents learn to cope with adoption
Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra only see their daughter a couple times a year — but with every phone call, every letter full of pictures and every visit, they are reminded of their decision.
Lowell and Baltierra, both 20, gave up Carly, now 3, for adoption in 2009, after deciding it was best for her future.
“When I see all the milestones she’s making, it reassures me that I made the best decision for her,” Lowell said. “I love to sit back and watch her and let her get warmed up to me. It’s the most amazing feeling; she knows who we are, and it’s just awesome.”
The couple, featured on MTV’s “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom,” came to MSU to speak Thursday night in Anthony Hall. They have become advocates for adoption, visiting high schools and college campuses across the country to tell their own personal story of why they chose adoption and to give advice to students.
Human resource management sophomore Alexandra Falzetta, who went to the event Thursday, said the prevalence of teen pregnancy makes it important for college students to understand their potential options.
"Teen Mom" stars Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra talk about their journey before, during and after the pregnancy of Lowell at age 16 on Thursday Nov. 29, 2012, at Anthony Hall. They have known each other for nine years and are engaged to be married. Katie Stiefel/ State News
“I feel like young college girls get pregnant a lot and don’t really know their options and research into them, so I think it’s important for (Lowell and Baltierra) to go around,” she said.
Lowell said their decision to give up Carly stemmed from the rocky family life she and Baltierra experienced while growing up.
“The main decision-maker was our home life,” Lowell said. “I grew up with an alcoholic mother (who had) different men in and out of my life. … It was really unstable, and I knew I wanted better for Carly. … There are people out there yearning for children, and that’s when I knew adoption was right for me.”
But their decision was not simple. With the choice came a unique, long-term grieving process that took him months to come to terms with, Baltierra said.
“With adoption, you deal with grief and loss,” he said. “Once I got over the denial, I could take steps to deal with the grief. I realized you deal with those emotions for a reason … Having time gave me the opportunity to step back and allow myself to feel emotion.”
Dawn Baker, the adoption supervisor at Bethany Christian Services, 612 W. Lake Lansing Road, met Baltierra and Lowell in 2009 and helped them through the adoption process. Baker said all parties in the adoption experience grief, not just the birth parents.
“On all sides of the adoption, there is grief and loss,” Baker said. “It’s important to get plugged into a good support system, (especially) with other birth parents who might be further down the journey to help you cope.”
In the end, Lowell said pregnancy and possible parenting options are important subjects to discuss with teens and college students despite any degree of discomfort it might bring.
“I think it’s important to talk about it,” she said. “It’s a serious subject, and no one was doing anything about it. MTV had the guts to put it out on the table and say, ‘Hey, this is a serious thing.’ It might be taboo, but this is serious.”
Staff writer Robert Bondy contributed to this article