Alyssa Beard was born and raised in Virginia Beach, VA. Like most people, Alyssa loves to sing, hang out with her friends, and go shopping. Unique from many people, Alyssa is a birth mother. A birth mother is the parent who gives birth to the child, makes an adoption plan for the child and subsequently relinquishes the child for adoption. Alyssa was eight weeks into her pregnancy when she discovered this unplanned and life-changing news. She was going to bring a child into this world. At this point in her life, she knew she was not in the position to parent a child. Two days after discovering she was pregnant, Alyssa decided adoption was the best choice for herself and the baby. When Alyssa began her search for finding an adoption agency, she took to the internet. Adoptions From The Heart (AFTH) was the first adoption agency she came upon. The inclusiveness that AFTH encourages and provides was something that stuck out to her and made her feel comfortable. She then knew that AFTH was going to be the adoption agency for her.

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This is Alyssa.

Alyssa was set up with a social worker from AFTH named Nicole. During their first meeting, Nicole made Alyssa feel comfortable and at ease. Alyssa felt like she made the right decision. Aside from working with Alyssa personally, Nicole also encouraged Alyssa to attend support group meetings. The process of placing your child for adoption can be very emotionally trying. Therefore, taking advantage of this service can be very beneficial for expecting mothers. Alyssa attended her first Adoptions From The Heart Birth Mother Support Group while she was pregnant with Deirdre. The experience gave her different perspectives about the adoption process and an opportunity to meet other birth moms that could relate to her situation. “It was interesting to meet other birth mothers. Having the opportunity to hear other moms speak about their stories made me feel more at ease,” said Alyssa.

During the adoption process, it was important to Alyssa to only consider families who were pro-open adoption. Open adoption allows for some form of communication between the birth parents, adoptees, and adoptive parents. This can range from pictures, letters, and phone calls to contact through an intermediary, to open contact between the parties themselves. Also known as “cooperative adoption.” The process of forming the open adoption was difficult, but with the support of Alyssa’s family, it was a lot easier. When asked why open adoption was so important to her, Alyssa said, “I wanted to ensure that my baby would know that she was placed for adoption because it was what was best at the time, not because I didn’t love her. Also, I wanted my future children to have a relationship with my baby.”

During the adoption process, birth parents can research adoptive families and choose a family for their baby. To make this research easier for birth parents, every adoptive family has what is called an “adoption profile.” Adoption profiles are platforms adoptive families use to showcase themselves to expecting parents considering adoption. These profiles may include information about their family, photos, hobbies/interests, etc. “Bryan and Melissa’s profile stood out to me because they were very well-rounded. I liked that they did community work and hosted students. I knew that I would be putting Deirdre in good hands with people who would make sure she had more experiences than I could give her.” Deirdre was then placed with Brian and Melissa from Delaware. Deirdre is now 4 years old.  Alyssa and her family take a trip to Delaware twice a year to visit her. Alyssa, Brian, and Melissa have a great relationship. “The openness that they provide for me, and the opportunities that they give Deirdre is something I really appreciate,” said Alyssa. They are planning to meet up more often as Deirdre gets older. Alyssa is also a mother to a two-year-old named Annabeth. Annabeth and Deirdre have met on numerous occasions and enjoy playing together at the park during their visits.

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This is Deirdre.

When asked to describe Deirdre, Alyssa responded happily. “Deirdre is sassy, cute, and a ball of personality.” Alyssa always looks forward to her meetings with Deirdre. Seeing how much Deirdre has grown is one of the things she looks forward to the most during each visit. “Deirdre is always taller and sassier when I see her. In the beginning, the meetings were hard because Deirdre would have a stranger danger mindset. Now that she’s older, she understands who Annabeth and I are and greets us kindly,” Alyssa said.

Alyssa was asked to provide a piece of advice she would give to other birth mothers. “Do not be afraid to ask for things that you want. If you don’t ask for things, no one will know your desires,” said Alyssa. Alyssa was also asked what she would say to both of her children about overcoming obstacles in life. “Giving up isn’t worth it, no matter what. Keep pushing forward, even if it isn’t in the right direction, keep pushing and things will work out eventually.”