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17th Feb 2016

A US Adoption Agency Is Seeking Baby Cuddlers

Katie Mythen-Lynch

When it comes to being held, cuddled and generally adored, most newborn babies have a long line of family, friends and neighbours queuing up behind mum and dad to do the honours. 

For newborns whose parents are considering putting their baby up for adoption however, those early weeks are spent in the arms of an interim caregiver… and American adoption agencies need more people to volunteer for this very important role.

Susan Singer, who volunteers with the Spence Chapin programme in New York, explained to ABC News: “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.”

US agencies are desperately in need of volunteers like Singer to look after newborns in their own homes for a few weeks while some very important decisions are made about the child’s future. In fact, in one New York location there are no volunteers at all this month, despite the fact that all expenses are paid and all the necessary equipment supplied.

More than 600 studies have shown that being held has countless benefits for newborns, including faster weight gain, more stable heart rate and body temperature, reduced anxiety and stress and better brain development.

Singer, a former teacher whose 22-year-old son died in a skiing accident, said her role is to care for each baby while its family is in crisis.

“I have the best piece,” the 64-year-old, also mum to a 33-year-old son, explained. “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.”

Interim Care Provider, Lewis, relaxing with baby. Facebook

Would you volunteer to be a baby cuddler if you lived in the US? Let us know on Twitter @HerFamilydotie.