Please Don’t Judge Open Adoption Based on Teen Mom OG

It’s been eight years since Catelynn and her now-husband Tyler Baltierra placed their firstborn daughter, Carly, for adoption. The events were documented on the show 16 and Pregnant. Since then their open adoption has made celebrity news headlines again and again as the saga plays out on the spinoff show Teen Mom OG.

And can I just say? It’s a terrible representation of what an open adoption looks like. No matter what side of the drama you are on, their adoption is a train wreck bound to result in a few injuries. Sadly, I fear Carly is going to suffer the most if her adoptive parents feel the need to stop communication altogether.

The Baltierras have had a notably rocky relationship with Brandon and Theresa, the couple they chose to parent their birth daughter. Initially Brandon and Theresa thought their miniscule part in the documentary-style show would soon be forgotten. Once it was clear that their daughter’s birth story would become common household conversation, they requested that Catelynn and Tyler refrain from sharing any photos of Carly on social media. The Baltierras have not only refused to comply on several occasions, but have badmouthed the couple openly on television. At one point Tyler even said he would forego his opportunity to see his daughter if it meant he could post as he liked about her online. Last year Catelynn and Tyler were denied visitation. They were, however, allowed to see her again this year.

On the latest episode of Teen Mom OG Tyler made a confession about his feelings. “This may sound mean, but I don’t really care about the relationship with Brandon and Theresa,” he said. “It’s just not on my, like priority list.”

In order for an open adoption to be successful, all the parties involved need to care about each other. It is in no way co-parenting, as the adoptive parents make all of the decisions, but it is a relationship highly dependent on trust. The only way it succeeds is for everyone to care and work toward a common goal, that being the best interest of the child. As an outsider, I find faults on both sides of Carly’s adoption. My greatest hope is that those considering an adoption  plan for their child will not assume this is a normal open adoption.

Many families have successful open adoptions. It’s not for everyone, but if you can make it work, then your child can grow up as a part of their birth heritage and culture. He or she can have communication with their birth family, including siblings. If Tyler and Catelynn have any chance at continuing to be a part of Carly’s life they need to learn a thing or two about privacy and respect.

Are you considering placing a child for adoption? Not sure what to do next? First, know that you are not alone. Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98 to speak to one of our Options Counselors to get compassionate, nonjudgmental support. We are here to assist you in any way we can.