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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 am a man and watched this show for the 1st time tonight. Nothing else on and seemed interesting. I was hooked. I hated her bitchy mother and wimpy father. They seemed to live in a huge well equipped home. Seemingly, money was not a problem for this girls"parents" (I use the term lightly) Not ONE time did these two cold monsters offer any type support for this 17 yr old girl. The best wimpo dad could do was tell her she would have to move him with the baby's daddy. I am sure they could have offered financial support and helped this girl. It was obvious that having this child was something Lori needed to feel a bond/a connection with another human. All that bitch of a "mother" could do was worry what the good church ladies would think about her unmarried daughter having a baby. I am sure Lori will end up hating that bitch mother and one day Lori will refuse to have anything to do with her. If my 15 yr old came and said she was pregnant, I would be mad as hell. I'd probably rant and rave. then I'd ask what she wanted to do. If she wanted to keep the baby, then I would help her anyway I could. All Lori's "parents" did was push adoption. She had no other choice. I hope someone passes all these comments along to those 2 cold hearted slim "parents" of hers.

To be completely blunt and honest...there were several times throughout this episode that I wished I could punch Lori's selfish, disgusting, horrific acting mother right in her face! She made me physically ill, and honestly she deserves for her daughter to grow up resenting her for the rest of her life. I really can't say much more other than that woman disgusted me to my core. That baby is absolutely gorgeous and I was literally bawling my eyes outy along with everyone else. Ugh....poor Lori and Cory. They were BOTH basically forced and brainwashed! Dispicable. :-(

How old is corey??

While I do agree that the parents "pushed" adoption, I don't think they're getting the credit they're due. They witnessed the relationship the teen parents had (Cory was an a$$hole at times with no backbone). Moreover, they know their daughter and her capabilities better than the viewers looking at 45 minutes of their life. Lori jerked them around for too long as to not allow any other options. I think people MAY be judging the parents too harshly. As the mother of 2 young daughters, I don't feel that I should be required to take care of a baby who comes too early. I don't ask that of my parents.

This episode made me and my mother ball our eyes out. I could definately not give up my baby. For Lori, it was a roller coaster descision. Her mom was just cold to her.
But goodjob Lori for being strong!

I HATE Lori's mother! She is an EVIL bitch. How dare she force her ADOPTED daughter into giving away her child when it was clear that she wanted to keep him. I am soooo angry after watching the delivery, she's whispering "it's a lot of work" as Cory is holding his newborn son. Who does that????!!! Lori will no doubt resent her "parents" for ever. Lori by no means is a saint in all of this, she should have stuck with her gut and kept her baby. They all just make me sick!

I am Dutch and just watch this on MTV. Impressive stuff. I am not going to judget on Cory or the mother..... I just want to say that I am impressed by Lori. Only 16 and so mature. She must have had the worst time in her life ever, but she managed. Well done girl. Your time will come.....

I had my fingers crossed that lori would not listen to her parents and keep the baby. Adoption im sure can be positive but all i could think was how cold and abusive the mother and to a lesser degree the father was being. They said it they couldnt be happy about an unmarried teenager being pregnant. They let their religous beliefs control the situation. However their was nothing christain about the way they treated their daughter. No undertanding, compassion or even love from what i saw. I hope for Loris sake she doesnt live to regret the decision her parents pushed her into making. Where were the social workers?

I was realy upset with the episode .. when i watched it my heart went out for Lori.. i was upset for her i am too an adopted child.. when i had my lil girl i was so happy someone that was really my family.. blood related family .. someone that was my really family.. I can only think that her mother was jealous..For maybe since she couldnt have kids she was upset that her adopted 17 year old did. i would have been upset if it was my daughter but i would have suported whatever she wanted.. now when that kid gets older sees this show she will realize .. it wasnt my mothers fault .. it was my grandmothers fault.. i think this episode will come in handy for her when she is older give her understanding of what happen..but i knw that Lori will be with this regret for the rest of her life.. they shold watch her closely this can make someone really depressed when its not your choice to give your kid up when you didnt think of it your self its harder.. when you want to give your kid up when its your choice to give your kid up its diff its closer.. its something you knw you want.. but she idnt have a choice and i beleive that is wrong. and on the hannah monantia thing im not a teen and i knw that was a song by her

she did the rite thing

I can not believe her parents... Maybe she wasn't ready at 17, but she would have been ready a few years later.
Now she won't have her baby as her own for the rest of her life.

Her parents have no heart; I really feel for Lori and I hope that she won't regret this for ever.

I watched this episode tonight and throughout my viewing i was really angry and was almost shouting at the screen. Her parents forced her into it, no word of a lie, it was so sad. It made me realise how hard it must be and how you would want your parents support. I thought the mother was really selfish in making Lori put Aiden up for adoption, just because she couldn't be bothered to look after him i think. I was so angry, i think that Lori probably isn't happy with the decision and that she will live to regret it. I felt so sorry for the father, he obviously wanted to look after Aiden, its a shame that the rights of fathers aren't like the uk ones because he would be a great dad. I feel like writin Lori's mother a very strongly worded letter!

Lori is a beautiful person who had to make the hardest decision of her Life at such a young age but I feel like this will make her stronger and that only time can heal her pain

first comment: does anyone see loris resemblance to miss piggy? I'm not even trying to be mean, just the resemblance is uncanny, she literally looks like miss piggy.
second comment: this episode was ridiculous. her mother should be jailed. I understand that her mother was trying to protect her daughter because obviously having a child can easily ruin hopes of graduatiing high school, going to college, etc. that said. this is part of being pregnant annoy disgust me that her mom could not see this. part of having a child is giving up part of your life to take cRe of your Childs and it seems very selfish that her mother pushed adoption on her so hard.

I could not believe a "mother" could be so cold, uncaring, and selfish for her own child. Lori said she wanted the only flesh and blood link she'd ever known, and her mother completely blew her off. You would think a woman who cannot have children of her own would TREASURE the gift of a child, and welcome it into her family, whether she is disappointed in her daughter or not. When Lori brought up the idea of a baby shower, her Mom threw a tantrum. What was wrong with that woman? All she did was PUSH PUSH PUSH and left Lori NO option. NOBODY helped her weigh her options or support her, all they did was FORCE her into signing her child over. The moment that upset me more than anything was right after baby Aiden was born, she was still voicing her opinion. That woman should NOT have been a mother, and should NEVER have been allowed to make the choice for her daughter, seeing as she has never known the unconditional love of a mother for her child. What a heartbreaking story. I hope that Lori will resent and grow to despise her mother for the rest of her life, rightfully so. She was just a bad person, through and through.

I watched this episode, and I must say, I hated this episode the most. While Lori was off battling her own demons about whether to put the baby up for adoption her parents were sitting there telling her it was her only choice. When her mother made a comment about the Hannah Montana song and how that made her unfit to be a mom I almost flipped. Just because you know the name of a very popular song doesnt mean you are unfit to be a parent. I think most people know that song, whether it be because they watched the show or have younger brothers or sisters that do. Or even friends that have younger brothers and sisters that do. She is not gonna be ok with this decision. She thinks she picked it now, but later its gonna blow up in her face just how demanding her parents were that she give away her only blood bond. While I think Lori was a bit to dramatic about, well everything, she had every right to decide if she wanted to keep that baby. Not to mention Cory had a right to be that babies father. Why on earth couldnt Cory just have been granted custody and let his raise Aiden? He said he has support from his family and you could really see he did not want to say good bye to his son. The fact that Lori and her parents acted the way that they did sickened me. Lori for not standing her ground and by letting herself get pushed around by her parents, and her parents for not letting her explain to them why she really wanted to keep the baby and understand her need to have someone should could touch that was a blood relative. All in all this episode was a waste of time. Plus this show is getting out of hand, it started out with good intentions but I think its making things much worse.

Lori's mother clearly had mental health issues herself. When Lori defeatedly admitted that she'd choose adoption (after vocalizing how scarred she'd be for life as a result), her mother was upset because that wasn't "how" she wanted her to come to that decision. So, not only did she want to control what decision Lori made, but she also wanted to control Lori's emotions while making the decision. That's not even reasonable to expect to be able to exert that much influence over another human: Make the decision I want you to, and make sure you make the decision willingly in a way that relieves my guilty conscience. 100% manipulative.

In order for Lori to be able to keep her baby, she likely would have needed help with housing arrangements, so for commentors to inflame the situation by saying her parents would be "raising" her baby is an exaggeration. What is the role of family if not to provide assistance when it's needed? Jeez, I've provided more childcare assistance to neighbor parents 15 yrs older than I am to parents simultaneously struggling with work and childcare demands, and they're not even blood related. (Oh wait, I forgot Lori was adopted...) All she needed was a temporary roof over her head while she recovered from the physical demands of pregnancy and childbirth and adjusted to motherhood. (I'm sure Al Gore would call such a co-living arrangement environmentally sound for it's reduced impact on the environment.)

The mother was encouraging a complacency and mediocrity I just can't endorse or support. "It'll be hard" was all she could utter to Lori's boyfriend. Such lame attempts at scare tactics would have strengthened my resolve. He's a bit of a loser for succumbing to her feeble-minded comments.

Raising a child does not have to be expensive. Even Warren Buffet admitted to using a dresser drawer as a crib. (If it's good enough for Berkshire Hathaway's CEO, it's good enough for a rural Kentucky girl...) Lori could have breastfed (free) and saved $2,000 the first year had her parents helped her with living arrangements. (To the "that's not fair" crowd, you do realize there are parents who pay for their child's entire college tuition and/or provide downpayments for a house as wedding "gifts" to working adults who clearly don't need such assistance) Lori had some temporary needs to help her adjust to motherhood, and her needs were ignored.

That being said, I would have liked to see her researching housing options, babysitting or childcare options for when she returned to school, etc.(or perhaps self-study/homeschool options, so she could save on childcare in the short term) Unless it was edited out, she made no attempts to say, "I'm keeping my baby, and if I can't continue to live here, this is what I'm going to do..." Her biggest mistake was her genuine desire to please her parents, which I think is why she ultimately chose adoption- because she didn't want to disappoint her parents anymore than she already had. Her desire to please others cost her her chance at motherhood.

I watched this episode online for lack of doing anything else. I was fairly horrified by the lack of support this girl received from the people who were supposed to love her. A 16-year-old girl pregnant is not the ideal situation for any family, but the parents' behavior was horrendous, basically saying you will do this our way or we will withdraw our love from you. It was pretty amazing to me to find out that Lori's mom, Mary Jo, was a nurse and that her father also works in the medical field. Her mother was so selfish and cold, just the kind of person you want as a nurse.

One of the most disturbing aspects was the role the social worker played. As a social worker myself, this woman has no right to call herself such. She should have interviewed Lori away from her parents and she should have discussed what Lori wanted instead of just jumping into open adoption. Obviously she doesn't operate under the standard practice of strengths-based perspective and self-determination.

I meanly thought while watching this episode perhaps there was a reason Lori's adoptive parents couldn't have children, maybe they shouldn't have. But, on the flip side, editing can make situations worse or more dramatic, and perhaps they should be cut a break. I am still too angry at their excessive bullying to cut them that break.

"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."

Posted by: Genesis M. | March 17, 2010 at 12:08 PM

It's clear you don't watch the show - 'glamorous'?...
REALLY? I felt put of by having children young after seeing how difficult their lifes had become, how much heart ache they were going through and how difficult it really is. I feel it's been a great example in showing teens it's not all happy days & easy goings.

Felt as though lori was bullied into this it was bad enough seeing cate and tyler being brainwashed by that social worker making them believe they wont be good parents cos they are Young and come from under privillage BACKGROUNDS them sort usually make the best parents and work hard to achieve that especially when you are as solid and mature as those two . Lori though broke my heart watching that i could tell it wasn't what you really wanted and you should have stood tough and kept him there are plenty of people in far more worse situations that raise children and as long as you love ur child and put it first thats enough a child doesn't need high class living its not how normal kids grow up most of the time your as good as anyone and nobody can love that child like u can . Mtv should of pointed you in the direction of people who can support you through that if you wanted to keep him seen as they didn't mind exploiting your pain on air its the least they could have done if you were having doubts.

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