NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — If you have time and a whole lot of love to give, you may want to consider becoming an interim care provider for newborn babies.
As CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock reported, interim care providers step in when a birth mother needs time away.
Ella, 2, was the recipient of such care before she was adopted. She loves tea parties, sending kisses to her “mamama,” and Elmo from “Sesame Street.”
Her adoptive fathers, Raymond Lee and Robbie Kearns, said she is a dream come true.
“She gives us so much strength. She makes us laugh every day,” Lee said. “We also drink a lot more coffee now too.”
They worked with the nonprofit Spence-Chapin to grow their family from two to three.
“Whether we’re creating an adoptive family, or a family with birth parents, that is always the end goal – always to create a family,” said organization president Adam Cotumaccio.
To get to that end, Spence-Chapin counsels women on their options when pregnant or just after delivery.
“At this very critical point in their lives when they’ve just given birth – and they’re really deciding what they can do or what they need to do what they want to do — we step into to help them,” Cotumaccio said.
He said in some cases, the birth mother needs time alone, away from baby, to come up with a plan for adoption or to parent herself – especially if it is a surprise, unplanned pregnancy.
That is when an interim care provider steps in.
“They step in in a very short-term period – it can be a matter of days or a matter of weeks, where they step in and they help this woman who might be in need and help care for this child,” Cotumaccio said.
Carmela Grabowski of Franklin Square has been an interim volunteer for seven years.
“We are volunteers, but it’s 24/7 – the baby goes to the doctor, we go to the doctor,” Grabowski said.
Grabowski has two grown children of her own, but likes taking care of smaller children.
”We take in babies and we love every single minute of it,” she said. “You don’t sleep. I haven’t slept in seven years. But it is what it is.”
And Grabowski wouldn’t have it any other way. She has cared for 80 babies in her home – one of them Ella.
From birth to six weeks, Grabowski cared for her like her own until she was adopted by Lee and Kearns.
“It’s emotional,” Grabowski said. “You absolutely miss that baby, but you know that it’s for the right reason.”
Cotumaccio noted that there is more need for people like Grabowski said.
“Our program is growing, just a natural extension of that growth is we need more volunteers,” he said.
Cotumaccio said you’ll be ensuring babies like Ella get the love and attention they need from their birth until they are either reunited with their birth parent, or united with their adoptive parents.
During interim care, birth parents retain their legal rights and are encouraged to visit. Spence-Chapin provides all necessary supplies to care for the newborns.