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'16 and Pregnant': Lori, Cory and a heart-wrenching decision

MTV pulled a fast one on me. I’m used to being annoyed or irritated by the girls featured on “16 and Pregnant.” Sometimes indifferent. Always dumbfounded — even by those who aren’t teen parents-to-be. Exhibit A: The dude earlier this season who referred to a paternity test as a “faternity test.” But I’m almost 100% sure I’ve never cried while watching the program. That all changed when I watched Tuesday’s episode

We’re introduced to 17-year-old Lori from a small town in northern Kentucky.  Lori was given up for adoption when she was a baby by her teen mother. Now she too finds herself a pregnant teen with a difficult decision to make. For her adoptive parents, the decision seems easy: Give the baby up for adoption. And it’s the only option they’re pushing for. Really pushing for. Perhaps pushing for it a little too much? But it’s not so black and white for Lori. She struggles with her options, longing for that blood bond she never had. 

And the baby’s daddy (and Lori’s ex-boyfriend), Cory, isn’t too keen on adoption either. He even suggests that she and the baby move in with him … and his roommate. Oy. But it’s a nice change from previous teen dads who might have dealt with the situation by sending a cruel text message. Still, Lori’s parents, who are adamantly against the teens raising the child, want Lori and Cory to realize how difficult it will be and push for them to live together on a trial basis to fully grasp what they're in for. But the plans stall, and time is running out. 

To show the benefits of adoption, Lori’s mom invites over Liz, a family friend who also gave her baby up. Liz called her choice her “first parental decision” and referred to her open adoption agreement as the “best of both worlds.” And Lori illustrated just how young she is by pointing out that “Best of Both Worlds” is a Hannah Montana song. Even her mother replied, “Just the fact that she knew it was a Hannah Montana song should make her ineligible to be a parent at this age.” That might be the best argument against teen parenting that I've ever heard. 

But what was a difficult decision for Lori soon became one that was sort of made for her. Lori’s dad called Cory, and the outcome was more than Lori could bear: Given their lack of financial stability, Cory finally came to terms that adoption was the answer.  A sobbing Lori admitted defeat. It was heart-wrenching to watch as she realized that, as much as she wanted to keep her baby, she couldn't do it alone.

Cory and Lori met to discuss the decision. And it provided another grown-up moment that deviated from the norm of the series. There was no teen dad who cared more about his car than the well-being of his child. No teen dad who was berating the mom-to-be. Just an honest one-on-one grown-up discussion. 

Then the waterworks started. 

With the birth of the baby came the realization for Cory that this was it. He wouldn’t be the one watching his son grow up. And his anger over the situation and his second-guessing of his decision began to reveal itself. But there was no turning back. And he angrily demanded to hold his son one last time so he could say goodbye. If that wasn’t emotional enough, one needed only to look at the pain on Lori’s face as she watched Cory say his farewell. It was honest. It was real. And all the emotions it stirred up made Lori question if she would be able to say goodbye to baby Aidan.

But she was put at ease knowing that goodbye wouldn’t be forever. Given that she decided on an open adoption, she was somewhat calmed knowing she would still be a part of Aidan’s life and that he would grow up knowing why she had given him up — something she was never sure of growing up as an adopted child. 

But something struck me during her final interview: She said she wished her parents hadn't pushed so hard for the adoption. Which makes me wonder if things would have ended differently had they been more open ... and it makes me wonder if Lori is completely OK with her decision.

So, Show Trackers, what did you think of this episode? Are you still wiping the tears from your eyes? Or were you bothered by this episode? Do you think Lori’s parents pushed too hard for the adoption?  And do you agree with Lori’s mom — should the fact that you know a Hannah Montana song make you ineligible to be a parent as a teen? 

— Yvonne Villarreal

Photo: Cory, Lori and baby Aidan. Credit: MTV

Comments () | Archives (40)

I don't watch MTV, unlike my other college-age peers. I think it's ridiculous MTV exploits teenage mothers, giving this false impression that teenage pregnancy is glamorous because you could be on a TV show and get your 15 minutes of fame.

This, however, is sad. I don't think the girl's adoptive parents should have pushed her so hard. Lori got her self in to that situation, and she should have had every right to decide for herself, without strong "encouragement" from her adoptive parents. I think it was very noble for her boyfriend to ask her to consider moving in with him; not too many young guys would want to take that responsibility. Overall I think they did the right thing, having an open adoption, but I think Lori should have come to that decision herself. Claiming that she's an unfit mother because she said "best of both worlds is a Hannah Montana song" is an exaggeration. No, teen girls shouldn't become moms, but they should take the responsibility if they can and are willing to tough it out.

I think her parents pushed adoption way to hard, to the pont where it was unfair I feel the sould have understood where she was coming from when she said that is the only blod bond she will vere have .. just with that in mind they shold have respect of letting her make the choice. They Knew that if they cut off all her options the chocie would be forced forced on her and that exacly what they did

Yes, I cried. It was heartbreaking on many different levels. I also felt very angry at Lori's parents especially her mother. Her mother was very selfish and cruel. I am usually able to find at least one quality or something about why a person is doing what they are doing that allows me to say "hey, that isin't what I would do or how I would handle it but to each their own, people just are who they are.". Last night I found Lori's mother's behaviour vile, controlling and...souless. Nothing about what I saw last night made me able to give Lori's mother an ounce of understanding. Especially when Lori said to her mom "so, if I keep this baby am I out on the street or what?" and the mother didn't say anything which said everything. Sociopath. The only emotion that woman was capable of was sympathy and tears for herself.

For Lori's sake I hope she doesn't end up hating her parents for basically forcing her to give up her own flesh and blood when she most definately didn't want to. Hopefully, in Lori's own way she can make peace with what happened and not allow this to destroy her later.

While I didn't watch this show, I was intrigued by the article. I can't imagine how difficult it must have been for the young woman and her boyfriend. I can understand the parents' urging for her to give her baby up for adoption; however, I think that (based on the article) the teen mother and her boyfriend were mature about the situation, and could have possibly made it work with moral support from their respective families. Sure, it wouldn't be an ideal situation, and would've likely been a rough road to take, but I can see how it would be extremely difficult for the teen mother to give her child up for adoption when she was also adopted. I believe adoption can be a wonderful gift when considered carefully, but it sounds as if she may have been pushed into a decision that she was not prepared to make. At the end of the day, it sounds like an open adoption was a healthy compromise because she will be able to be a part of the child's life in some capacity, and won't be entirely haunted by the "what-if's" if she had agreed to a closed adoption.

As far as the Hannah Montana reference goes...I am in my mid-20's and I have a loving husband, home, MBA and professional career (all this to illustrate that I'm not a child), and we are working on starting a family. I don't watch Hannah Montana, and I recognized the Best of Both Worlds reference. With pop culture and Miley Cyrus being advertised so widely, it is hardly difficult to pick that up. So, all that to say, I don't think making a connection with a popular character is enough to discredit someone's abilities to parent. Granted, if she is still watching Hannah Montana, and she always draws comparisons of real life situations with shows of the ilk, that could be an indicator of immaturity. I hope she has found comfort in her decision and will grow up to have a fulfilling family when she is ready in the future.

I am a labor RN and have seen several happy and painful adoptions. Adoptions are a wonderful thing if handled correctly - this one was not.

By the time Lori was seen in the hospital I was literally yelling at the TV - asking the nurses and doctors and her parents why no one was emotionally supporting Lori. She was clearly in pain, confused and feeling trapped - there is that trapped feeling that some teenage parents get because they realize they just tied themselves down for life with a baby, but this was a completely different - desperate to keep my child sort of trapped.

I was disgusted by Lori's mother, but even more, I disgusted that no RNs, physicians or social workers intervened to help Lori workout a solution. There was one particularly bothersome scene where her physician tells her in the office that she thinks keeping the baby in the room while she has to stay at the hospital would be too painful. This is a young and vulnerable girl - she needs time to meet her child before she says goodbye - as a physician you are in a position of power over this young woman, your feelings should not be brought up at all.

By the end of the show I was telling my husband how much I wish I had been her nurse - if for nothing else, someone needed to comfort her.

I am 22 and pregnant in college. I don't think that I would have been ready at 17 to have a child but then again you never know what you are able to handle until you are put in that situation. With that being said, I think Lori's mother was absolutely horrible during her daughter's pregnancy. NO other option was truly given to Lori, NO support from her mother, no nothing. She kept reffering to it as a disaterious situation and how she KNEW it would end badly. Last I checked she wasn't a psychic so... I also don't understand why Cory didn't try and get custody of their child. This episode bothered me soley bc of the mother, I think she loves lori with all her heart but she was an absolute MONSTER about the pregnancy and I have lost respect for her as a woman from how she behaved.

Wow...I felt Lori's mom was cold as ice. She never seemed to grasp the emotions that she was going through. Very sad, both my husband and I were in tears. I fear this girl will forever regret the decision she was pushed into making.....

I think your description of Cory,s attitude is a little off.A hero he was not,when Lori went to his apartment to take him up on his offer,he back pedaled refering to the wishes of his roomate,a female roomate at that.Her parents did the right thing,not allowing her to dump this baby on them and not allowing her to ruin her life.This is not a decision that teenagers can make without guidence.They forced her to look at the reality.The baby,s father is immature and doesn,t want to be with her,and they are not raising a baby at their age.She could have aborted,adopted out or moved out onto welfare with her child.These are decisions she had to make and as tough as they were ,she altimately made the right one for herself and the baby.Her mother taking her to the meeting with a girl who did choose adoption did a smart thing,and the young lady gave Lori great advice...this is your first parental decision...doing what is best for the baby!

I'm tearing up just reading your recap!

Ok, I was 15 when I had ny daughter now my daughter is 15. many people even my family was pushing for me to have an abortion...... or to give her up. No way....... i kept my baby girl. my daughter is my light, my air, and the reason I get up everymorning to work hard. my youngest siste had an aboortion..... and all she does is cry and regert what she has done. i remember when my sister had told me what she had done. i looked at my daughter and hugged her and told her, i am glad i didnot listen to anyone, you are the best thing that has happened to me. it was worth not going to the high school dancing, graduating on time. everything i missed in school. Yes i grew very fast and have no friends cause who wants to hang out with a 15 year old mom and her crying baby........ but she is my best friend and I love her with all my heart. after that I went on to have 2 more children before i was 18 years old. and yes It was alot of work but I would not change my daughter or my sons for anything in the world. how ever they are now teens agers so yes I do talk to them about having children young. maybe it was differnet for me. My ex-husband never acted like a child like I see these boys on the TV. he got us a little one bedroom place, got a job, and he took care of us. it did not bother me to have to walk to take the bus to doctor's appt. or to the supermarket with the kids. we both did what we has to do to make sure our 3 children were taken care of.
a message to you: think really hard then think again before making a decission on giving your baby up or having an abortion. you will never get back what you kill ot give anyway always remember that........... and were there is a will there is a way. not is impossible you can make it.......

Jessica I witnessed this in person once. While I gave the 15 year old mom as much attention and support, as possible for those 8 hours she was my patient - I cried all the way home the next night, when she was not my patient and I happened by a room and saw her backed into a corner with her mom and family priest both sitting knee to knee with her. Forcing her to make the same decision.

I have never stopped thinking about her and her little boy, I realized recently he is now a 25 year old man! I hope and pray he had a good life and she was able to move on and maybe they were reunited in later years.

Is it just me or did it seem like the main reason Lori's mom wanted her to give the baby up was because she wanted someone else who couldn't have a baby get one? Really that is the whole vibe I got from her. I usually totally agree with adoptions, but this was total and utter crap! I agree her mother did not give her any options. When they were doing the adoption ceremony, her mother was crying when she handed the baby over to the parents and it did not look like she was crying for her daughter it looked like she was crying because the adoptive parents finally got that baby they had always dreamed of. It was sick as if she were saying that if you're not in the most perfect situation your baby should just go to someone who cannot have a baby of their own. I really felt bad for Lori. It was totally disgusting what happened to her.
The only good thing I will say was her son had a really beautiful and peaceful birth, unlike some of the previous girls. She had the most beautiful baby out of all the girls ever on 16 and pregnant, he was absolutely gorgeous! I hope those adoptive parents are very grateful for that baby, because they need to be!

I was pissed off watching last night. Lori's adoptive mom was completely selfish and like the others said, gave Lori no choice at all in the matter.
I was 17 when I found out I was pregnant with my first child, 18 when I gave birth. The first thing my parents asked when they found out I was pregnant was what did I want to do, and they left it completely up to me and let me know they'd support me no matter what. I chose to keep my child. They didn't let me pawn off my duties as a parent on them, they didn't let me give up on school, they pushed me and supported me. 6 years later, I'm married to her father, we own our own home, pay for everything ourselves and have 2 more children and I thank my parents every chance I get. My situation is not the norm but there's no way we'd be where we are without my parents help.
Lori didn't have that, there's a point in time where you have to know that your almost adult children need to make their own decisions and you need to support them. Parenting isn't supposed to be conditional. It doesn't mean you take on their responsibilities but you teach them how.

I'm a 40 year old woman who had a baby at 17. My daughter is now 23 and living her life without any children. I gave up a tremendous amount of "life" in order to be a decent, connected, involved parent on every level. I seldom dated and my life, for the most part centered around kids, work, a very long commute and resting up only to do it again when Monday rolled around. Fact is, not a lot of people have the WILL or ABILITY to sacrafice 99.9% of their life in order to be there for their children 24/7. Ultimately, this girl did the right thing for the child. And, it is all about the child. Take the selfish part out of the equation and focus on the innocent child who didn't ask for underage, undereducated, underachieving, undisciplined, uncommitted, poverty level "parents". Seriously people.

How absolutely cruel and barbaric - to reduce the bond betweem a mother and a child to maturity v immaturity to money v no money - you all watched a mother and her child being totured by being seperated at birth - a mature decision an unselfish decision - there was NO decision this mother had her baby stolen and she and her baby will suffer for the rest of their lives - the USA has promoted adoption for decades its a 6 billion dollar industry - and its disgusting

Lori's parents are the only ones with any sense. If you watch the past episodes, it becomes clear that more times than not it's the grandparents that end up really parenting the child, especially if the teen mom is single... ie. Farrah. Lori and her boyfriend had already broken up and he flaked on his promise to let Lori move in with him and his "roommate". The parents simply said if you're going to have a child, you need to grow up and live with the father of your child to determine if the two of you are ready to be parents. The baby daddy flaked at the last minute letting Lori know she would have to do it all alone. The baby daddy was obviously not dependable and it would have all fallen back on the Lori, or more than likely Lori's parents. That's just not fair. It takes money, sacrifice and maturity to raise a child and Lori didn't have those things she needed to raise her baby on her own. Did I mention it takes money to raise a child? How about a place to live? Oh I guess all of you who think the grandparents were too harsh just assumed the baby could live in the grandparents house. But is that really fair? I don't think its fair to place that kind of burden on the grandparents and expect them to sacrifice their money and time to raise this child. Lori may not have liked it, but adoption was the only reasonable choice because #1 her boyfriend was not reliable and #2 she could not do it alone.

I was young when I first had my oldest son, (18 years old) although I got lucky and was out of school. What I can not believe is that Lori's parents seem to be religious and are still pushing for the adoption. Why would anyone want to give up there child and considering that they had to adopt to get a child should be all the more reason for them to want to keep the baby. I do not see why they will not help with the situation and make things easier for them. My parents were furious when they found out that I as pregnant but they wormed up to the idea they told me from the begining that I have to take responsibilty. Why should they have to give the baby up. I just feel so bad for Lori because shse is going to miss all the precious moments of her babies life. I would give my boys up for the world and am glad that I have them. One guestion for everyone though where is Lori from, like the name of the town I know that it is somewhere in northern Kentucy. I was just wandering because I also live in northern Kentucky. Maysville, Kentucky it is really close to Cinncinatti, OH.

This happened to me. I was adopted and I placed a child due to the unwavering push for adoption from my adoptive parents.

While I do not want to immature, uncaring teens become parents, I believe it's possible to create more realistic programs to help teens reach the maturity and emotional health they need to be good parents.

As an adoptee, thanks but no thanks to those who are happy to see my mother destroyed for my better life. You can take it back.

I am that "innocent child" and it's not ok with me that higher ups in my society decided to ask my mother to destroy herself for me rather than offer realistic support to be a good mom.

My mother has been through so much pain, as well have I, and unfortunately, adoption can have negative affects on children as well. Adoptees, even adopted at birth, are twice as likely to require mental health services. It's not a "beautiful solution". It's not even a bittersweet solution.

It's sheer torture.

The very women willing to destroy themselves for their children to give them a better life are often the ones who would do anything to be good moms.

It's back asswards.

I do agree with MJ that the mother was sick in pushing for adoption. She needed a therapist a long time ago.

I will use the word abuse that nobody's used before. Her parents are abusive. Forcing someone to give up a baby is abuse. It is call stealing, human trafficking whatever you want. I did not get a parental vibe from the witch for the entire episode. I did get the feeling that she was a daddy's girl though, but he couldn't fight the bad witch. The mother was smiling whenever there was hope for adoption and completely caught up in her feelings( at her wits' end). I wanted to yell to her - are you pregnant? Then it doesn't matter. Lori is still a child, her mother an adult, but her mother's behavior was like a toddler's tantrum. She didn't finished dragging her on the floor and screaming until she got what she wanted.

I found the Hanna Montana comment condescending and superior and another proof she doesn't give a *** about her daughter. I am 30 and I do know that song( not a fan; it's just impossible to escape it).

There are many cultures where many grandparents seriously help with raising grandkids and this is a win-win situation. Without that much fuss and complaining. It takes at least a village to raise a child. If they didn't want to help at all they could have least looked for programs and help. And then the witch has the nerve to say "I don't want you to be scarred for life". Really?!!!!

The truth is, adoptive parents with no biological children do NOT and can not understand the natural bond between parent and child. Of course they think adoption is for the best- that's how their family was put together, that is all they see. I was in the exact same situation and i was TWENTY-THREE with a stable job and loving baby's dad. But because I was unmarried, adoption was the only option for my adoptive parents. How ignorant! Fortunately I had the means to not be forced to listen to them. Lori's parents are selfish, ignorant and teaching her to solve her problems by turning away. Every action has consequences. Sex = STD, baby, heartbreak, etc. All they taught her is how to not take responsibility for her actions and emotionally damaged both Lori and her child for life (before anyone disagrees with me, look it up. Adoption causes lasting trauma to all parties. Oh, except the adoptive parents. ). Poor Lori. Poor Cory. And poor little baby who is wondering where his mommy is right now, whether he can express it or not.

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