Adoption Agencies Seek Volunteers To Cuddle & Nurture Infants In Transition

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Update: For volunteers hoping to donate their time, it is recommended that you contact an adoption agency in your local area. Many have volunteer programs set up already. Connect locally through the National Foster Care & Adoption Directory Search.
Within a 100-mile radius of the New York City area, Spence-Chapin is seeking volunteers for interim care providers. Interim care homes provide 24/7 care for infants as needed, for a term of days to weeks, and all manner of households are welcome, including "married or unmarried couples, single persons, LGBTQ persons, and parenting or empty-nest households." For those who want to help kids of all ages but are unable to adopt, AdoptUSKids connects volunteers with foster kids in need of a mentor, offering respite care to at-risk families, fundraising and donating supplies to foster care facilities, and becoming a court-appointed special advocate for a child in foster care.
This story was originally published on February 15. Across the country, adoption agencies are continually seeking volunteers to care for newborns whose birth mothers are creating an adoption plan. Pregnant women considering adoption have a post-childbirth window of time, typically up to eight weeks, to decide whether they wish to retain or release legal rights to their newborns. During that time, volunteer infant caregivers ensure those babies get off to a loving start in life, regardless of the custody outcome.
Roughly 159,000 American children were both adopted and waiting to be adopted in 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "My job is to make the baby feel safe and loved 24/7," veteran interim caregiver Susan Singer told ABC News. "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." Prospective interim-care providers must first submit to background checks and home visits to ensure the babies are going into safe environments, ABC News reports. In addition to serving as temporary surrogates, the job also involves consoling communication, ensuring birth mothers as well as prospective adoptive parents that their babies are safe, happy, and healthy. Knowing from the outset that the babies will remain only in their care for a matter of weeks eases any separation anxiety that might arise, spokeswoman for New York's Spence-Chapin adoption agency Katherine Foley told DNAInfo.

Even if someone can't host a baby in-home, many adoption agencies continually need volunteer staff members and people to rock and cuddle the babies to provide caring contact that's crucial for healthy early-childhood development. "All agencies over the years have certainly needed volunteers," Adam Pertman, president of the National Center on Adoption and Permanency, told ABC News. "But…the need has grown. Volunteers have become more and more essential."
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