Adoption agencies around the country are looking for temporary caregivers to care for newborn babies. As reported by ABC News, some agencies need more volunteers to ensure these babies have a loving person to hold, hug, and care for them the first few weeks after birth.
One such agency is Spence-Chapin, based in New York, which seeks volunteers to care for newborns for an average of two to four weeks while the baby’s mother decides whether to proceed with adoption for her child.
Not Meant To Be ‘Long-Term Solution’ For Babies
Joan Jaeger, the vice president of outreach and communications for Adoption Learning Partners, which provides resources for every stage of the adoption process, endorses the practice but said that temporary newborn care is “not meant to be a long-term solution by any stretch of the imagination.”
This is designed for new mothers who are considering adoption, and this provides some relief while they are making that decision.
Adoption Needs Grow Across U.S.
And this need continues to grow. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are 159,000 American children adopted or waiting to be adopted each year.
“Agencies are not exactly the best funded today, so volunteers are more important probably than they have ever been,” Adam Pertman, president of the National Center on Adoption and Permanency, told ABC News. “All agencies over the years have certainly needed volunteers but…the need has grown. Volunteers have become more and more essential.”
The need for support in foster care and adoption continues to grow as more children enter the system. According to The Economist:
Foster-care adoptions leveled off at around 50,000 annually a few years ago. At the same time, after steadily declining between 2005 and 2012, the number of children in need of foster care is increasing in most states. In 2015, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 428,000 children were in foster care, compared with 397,000 in 2012.
Caretakers Share Their ‘Joy’ and ‘Pleasure’
One of these lucky caretakers, Susan Singer from New York, told ABC News that “My job is to make the baby feel safe and loved 24-7. I hold them all the time. I talk to them. I sing to them. We play music. And I get so much joy and pleasure. I feel so good when I’m with an infant that I hope that it does … something for them, too.”
Volunteers Get Extensive Background Checks
Before any volunteer can care for a newborn, they are subjected to a detailed background check and home visits.
The agencies need to make sure that the babies will be in a safe environment. The agencies will typically cover all the necessary expenses including diapers, formula, transportation, and clothing.
It also helps the volunteer in that they only will keep the babies for a few weeks. According to Katherine Foley, a spokeswoman for the New York’s Spence-Chapin adoption agency, short-term care eases separation anxiety.
Looking For Baby Care Volunteer Opportunities?
Another adoption agency that look for volunteers to provide interim care for babies is The Cradle, which serves the greater Chicago area. According to The Cradle’s site, they also have a need for onsite cuddlers—and unsurprisingly, a long waiting list of volunteers eager to take on that task.
We recommended checking with your local adoption agencies to see if they need additional volunteers to help caring for the little bundles of joy.
If you need help finding local agencies, check out the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Child Welfare organization search. The Cradle also recommends AdoptUSKids and the Dave Thomas Foundation.