Two young adults gave dozens of people advice on what to do if they ever find themselves in the middle of an unplanned pregnancy.
Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra spoke to a few dozen people about giving their daughter Carly up for adoption at the Thursday night. They were featured on the MTV shows “16 and pregnant” and “Teen Mom.”
“I wanted Carly to have the chance at a normal life and I just knew that this was the right thing to do,” Lowell said.
Bethany Christian Services, a national adoption agency that worked with the now-engaged couple to find an adoptive family for Carly, sponsored the event.
The couple first met in music class when they were 13.
Lowell and Baltierra opted for a closed adoption at first and didn’t want to know anything about Carly after she was born. But they changed their minds after she was born. They said giving Carly to a family with a stable home life was very important to them since their home lives were not stable. Lowell’s mother and Baltierra’s father have struggled with drugs and alcohol. Also, Lowell’s mother and grandmother were both mothers as teenagers.
Lowell said she did not want Carly to grow up in chaotic households. She also wanted to break the cycle of raising a child as a teenager.
“We know what it’s like coming from that kind of life and [our parents] served as examples to us of what not to do,” Baltierra said. “That’s what drove us to make the decision. We wanted Carly to have a better life that we were prepared to provide for her.”
Lowell also promised Carly before she was born that she would be the first woman in her family to graduate from and high school and college.
Lowell and Baltierra are majoring in social work in college. Lowell wants to become an adoption counselor. Baltierra wants to work with at-risk youth.
Birth parents will often talk with the couple about their experience. The 20-year-olds try to encourage the parents to do what they think is best for their child.
“Whatever decision you choose, you have to put yourself second and put your child first,” he said. “When you’re in that situation, it’s not about you anymore.”
“She is really good about building up birth moms who feel really deflated and really low,” Dawn Baker, an adoption social worker with Bethany.
The couple periodically sees Carly and her adoptive parents. They talk to the parents on a regular basis and even recorded an audio storybook for Carly.
The couple will get married in June of next year.
Baltierra said the experience has brought him and Lowell close and that they have a bond “that will never be broken.”
Guests called the couple “brave” for having the courage to do what they did.
“They could have taken the easy way out but they didn’t,” said Rachael Cakl, a Wayne resident. “They did the right thing for both them and Carly and that’s amazing.”
They will appear at the YMCA again on Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.