Adoption agency volunteers care for newborns while parents make tough decisions

UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- Some volunteers in the New York area are answering a very important call. They are bonding with babies, taking them in and caring for newborns for parents who are feeling overwhelmed.

Having a new baby can be overwhelming and accompanied by a lot of questions, and now, one Upper East Side adoption agency is doing everything it can to help make the first few weeks a little easier for parents and newborns.

Spence Chapin is an adoption agency looking to add volunteers who are available to step in during the first weeks of a baby's life, giving the parents ample time to consider their options.

"They might just need a day, they might just need two days," Spence Chapin president Adam Cotumaccio said. "And they might need a couple of weeks to really figure everything out and if this is going to work for them. And in that period, we counsel them, and we have these amazing volunteers that step in, that help care for this beautiful child."

Parents can visit their child and the interim care giver as much as they'd like.

"Just having people in the community care for the children in the community makes a lot of sense," Cotumaccio said.

About 65 percent of the women counseled by Spence Chapin decide to parent their child.

Volunteer Ann Lapin is currently bonding with a newborn in her home who isn't her own. But she's doing it all -- midnight feedings, burping, diapering, doctor appointments, comforting, and, most importantly, loving.

Lapin has been an interim care provider for five years, caring for babies while their parents figure out a parenting or adoption plan. She has parented 19 newborns over the years, while simultaneously caring for her own three children.

Whether the baby is cared for by its parent or the agency, Lapin is just happy she can be there when the parents and babies need the help.

"I think it's definitely enriching," she said. "I think we're very lucky to be a part of this program and to have this relationship with these babies and their families."

Evaluation of prospective volunteers can take several months, and that includes a background check, a home visit and several interviews with the staff at Spence Chapin.

Spence Chapin is selective, and applicants need to know that it is an intense commitment.

For more information on Spence Chapin and volunteering, visit
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