Cuddles needed

Adoption agencies seek volunteers to give babies one-on-one care

(PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)

In case you missed it, ABC ran a heartwarming and important story over the weekend, about the need for volunteers to temporarily care for infants awaiting adoption. Agencies typically need volunteers for 2-4 weeks, taking them into their home and giving them the love and affection they might otherwise miss out on in a more institutional setting. Retired public school teacher Susan Singer was looking for other ways to feel fulfilled, after losing her 22-year-old son in a skiing accident in 2009. She has cared for 20 babies so far, since 2010, with her husband Lewis Singer, a critical care pediatrician.

“When you’re working in a public school system, especially a public school system with kids that have a lot issues, you’re used to being really on your toes all day,” said Singer, 64.

“My job is to make the baby feel safe and loved 24-7,” she added. “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.”

Singer has worked with Spence-Chapin’s 100-year-old interim care provider program in New York, but volunteers are needed by adoption centers nationwide. “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.

Not all programs require such a big commitment. Some just require people to come in and cradle the newborns in on-site nurseries.

“It’s our most popular volunteer activity because everyone loves holding newborn babies,” says Joan Jaeger, vice president of outreach and communications for Adoption Learning Partners. “Newborns benefit so much from the one-on-one care,” Jaeger said.

The programs, which bring so much pleasure to both volunteers and babies, also relieve pressure from on-site staff and, perhaps most importantly, give valuable decision-making time to women who are considering adoption but who may not have decided on a long-term plan at the time of childbirth.

Read the full story at ABC.

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