16 and Pregnant: Adoption Special With Dr. Drew

July 13, 2011

Teens

The adoption episodes on 16 and Pregnant are always some of the hardest to watch. The audience witnesses young mothers making a huge and painful sacrifice. In his 16 and Pregnant Adoption Special, Dr. Drew brings back two of the three mothers who chose adoption to discuss moving on after making an adoption plan. (Lori, an adopted teen who also chose adoption for her baby, wasn't featured.)

Like Dr. Drew says in his opening, fewer than 1% of pregnant teens choose adoption. So it's no surprise that only three of the over 30 teen girls featured on 16 and Pregnant go down that path. Contrary to what we've heard boyfriends or parents say on the show, adoption is never the "easy way out." If it were, more girls might choose that route. Becoming pregnant as a teenager has no easy option, something all teens should know before starting a sexual relationship. Shockingly, about half of teens haven't considered how an unplanned pregnancy could change their lives.

First, Dr. Drew brought out Ashley, a teenager featured on the season finale of 16 and Pregnant Season 2. If you recall, Ashley had decided that her aunt and uncle were the best people to raise baby Callie, but came to this decision after changing her mind and taking Callie back once before. Ashley is clearly still struggling with her decision and still fights the urge to demand her baby back, even after a year and a half. Dr. Drew tries to make her see that while she might have done a great job raising Callie, the adoptive parents can offer the baby things Ashley would never be able to, simply because of her age. While Ashley's aunt and uncle are very accommodating to her emotions, the whole family needs to help her to move forward from the experience. Because her aunt and uncle haven't made a clear statement to Ashley that they are Callie's parents now, Ashley still feels muddled up in the middle.

On the other end of the spectrum, Dr. Drew brings out Catelynn and Tyler from Teen Mom, who are model teens in the advocacy of adoption and contraception. In fact, Catelynn travels to high schools around the country to share her story and promote safe sex to other teens. Unlike Ashley, she has come to terms with her decision, largely thanks to therapy and bonds she's built with other birth moms. And by the testimony of other teens, Catelynn and MTV have had an influence over their sexual decisions.

However, parents are still the number one influence over their children's opinions regarding sex (PDF), ahead of the media or even peers. Parents: having an honest conversation about sex and relationships will help ensure your child never has to face the difficulties that come with teen pregnancy.

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Kate Meroski is an intern for The National Campaign's Entertainment Media and Audience Strategy department. Kate is a senior at George Washington University, studying journalism and sociology. She loves theater and cooking, and she eats mashed potatoes every single day.

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