UPPER EAST SIDE — An Upper East Side adoption agency is seeking volunteers to take care of newborn babies for weeks at a time.
Spence-Chapin on East 93rd Street near First Avenue is renewing a search for people who would take care of children whose parents need time to weigh their options before either giving the child up for adoption or deciding to raise them.
The agency is looking for volunteers particularly on the Upper East Side, according to Katherine Foley, a spokeswoman for Spence-Chapin.
"These babies need warm, caring, safe places to start their journeys," she said.
"Once they get discharged from the hospital, these brand-new, cuddly newborns need all the love and attention an adult can shower on them. This person is a guiding light for that baby."
For more than 100 years, Spence-Chapin has offered adoption and related services to families, including its interim care program for infants.
Spence-Chapin aims to give new parents the space, the time and counseling to help them decide whether or not to raise the child themselves, Foley said.
Currently, Spence-Chapin works with a few dozen volunteers who take in newborn babies straight from hospitals in New York and New Jersey.
The volunteers take care of the babies as if they were their own, from changing diapers to taking them to medical check-ups and making sure they get enough attention and affection, Foley said.
The group pays for everything that the child caretakers need, like diapers, toys, food and transportation to and from Spence-Chapin.
Currently there are no volunteers on the Upper East Side, Foley said.
Volunteering for the interim care program is a full-time job and lasts anywhere from one to eight weeks, depending on the child's and the parents' needs, she said.
"When people understand what their role is, that they are not the child's final destination and they're there to provide that goodness at the beginning, it really resonates," Foley said.
Susan Singer, a retired woman who lives in Westchester, has taken care of 19 newborns with Spence-Chapin since 2010.
Singer, 64, not only enjoys providing the loving care for these children, but said she loves to help facilitate big decisions by volunteering.
"You have mothers who don’t have the financial or family support to keep their child or they have to give the child up, and all the heartache that goes with that," she said.
"Then you have couples who want to adopt that have suffered miscarriages and so many failures, and it's been a terrible time for them. Then I come right in the middle of it with a baby.
"Some people can't really understand how wonderful it is when the baby is cranky and crying during the night, but then there are some people like me who still have some connection and get some kind of real sense of well-being that is very automatic and consistent."
Those who apply to volunteer go through a series of background checks and training classes covering topics like how to administer CPR and how to install a car seat.
For more information, contact Lucy Shaw at 212-369-0300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.