Understaffed and underfunded adoption agencies across the country are seeking temporary caregivers to cuddle and nurture newborns as they await adoption during their first few weeks of life.
Susan Singer, of Westchester, New York, told ABC News about her experience working as a temporary foster mom.
“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,” she said.
Volunteers have to undergo a background check and a home visit before they’re approved. A newborn’s typical stay with a volunteer is two to four weeks, according to Adam Cotumaccio, president of Spence-Chapin, an interim care provider program.
“We pay 100 percent of all the expenses [to care for the newborn],” Cotumaccio told ABC News. “We have a full clinic here where we have pediatricians. We pay for the transportation costs, diapers, even the car seats, as sometimes the volunteer may not have all of the equipment.”
Newborn fostering is “not meant to be a long-term solution by any stretch of the imagination,” Cotumaccio said. It’s aimed at new mothers considering adoption who haven’t reached a decision at the time of childbirth. “If a woman is thinking of an adoption plan, she’s in crisis,” he added. “The program offers a pressure release valve for this woman.”
For fosterers like Singer, there aren’t many drawbacks.
“I have the best piece,” she says. “I’m the one on adoption day, telling [the new parents] all about this wonderful little person. I’m the one that gets to talk to the birth mom and send her photos and videos and reassure her that her baby is safe. So it’s a really great piece to have in all of the stuff that goes on.”