Never underestimate a child's curious mind.
Ever since appearing on 16 and Pregnant back in 2009, Tyler Baltierra and Catelynn Lowell have been open about their decision to place their daughter Carly, now 13, for adoption. But on the Nov. 1 episode of Teen Mom: The Next Chapter, both parents were forced to tackle the subject with their 7-year-old daughter Nova.
"I picked Nova up from school and she got in my car and said, ‘Mom, I'm sad,'" Catelynn, 30, told Tyler, 30. "She just started sobbing saying, ‘I really miss Carly. Why did you have to separate us?' It just never occurred to me when I was making the decision at 16 how it would impact my future children."
While gathered around the kitchen table, the couple gently asked Nova what made her upset earlier in the day. What came next were a series of questions that Nova wanted answers to.
"It feels like that's my sister and I can't see her that much," she said. "Imagine getting split up from your sister or your brother? How old were you when you were pregnant?"
When Catelynn revealed she was a teen at the time, Nova was shocked.
"That is not a grown up," Nova said. "You should be, like, 40 or something. Why did you think about having a baby that early?"
Without hesitating, Tyler admitted Mom and Dad weren't thinking and made bad choices. "We were being irresponsible," he said while Catelynn added, "When mommy found out she was pregnant, me and daddy talked and we said we can't raise a baby right now. We didn't have cars. We were still in school, no jobs."
At the time, both Tyler and Catelynn—now also parents to Vaeda, 3, and Rya, 13 months—agreed to an open adoption with Carly's adoptive parents, Brandon and Teresa Davis, allowing in-person visits as she grew up. While the reunions typically happen every two years over a two or three-day period, Catelynn previously said they communicate in multiple ways.
"We text back and forth," the MTV star told E! News in September 2021. "We send pictures, I send pictures of my girls to them and they send pictures of Carly to us and updates on what they are doing and vice versa."
While Nova is already asking questions, Catelynn knows her youngest kids will eventually have their own inquiries. And while some days may be harder than others, the Teen Mom star hopes her daughters know everything she did was out of love.
"I know that it's going to be a lifelong journey of missing out, my kids missing out on their sister's things and Carly missing out on her younger sisters' things," Catelynn told E! "It's part of the sacrifice of adoption. We sacrifice a lot for this child to have the life that she has."
Teen Mom: The Next Chapter airs Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. on MTV.