You could call Ann Lapin the emergency baby whisperer. While the New York mom has three children of her own, she has also taken care of over 29 newborn babies as what is known as an “interim parent.”
Lapin is a volunteer for Spence-Chapin, a nonprofit organization that provides temporary care for infants born to parents who are facing difficult circumstances and are unsure about the future of their families.
The organization works with parents who may have been set to put their baby up for adoption but are now having second thoughts, single parents who are exploring their options, those who are unsure about their ability to parent and those who did not know they were expecting.
For over six years, Lapin, her husband James and their kids have welcomed dozens of babies into her home and provided 24/7 care. Recently Lapin posted on Instagram about a child she referred to as “number 29”:
The amount of time a baby stays with the family varies, and the Lapins have had an infant in their home for anywhere from four days to nine and a half weeks. According to Today.com, Lapin writes down important milestones in a baby book for each child, so his or her future family will know special dates, like the child’s first smile.
Watch Lapin talk about her experiences as an interim parent in the 60 Second Docs video below:
Lapin donates her skills as a mom out of the goodness of her heart and said she is simply doing her job as a citizen. Her children, Gavri, Sarit and Rami, also help out and work to develop their own caregiving skills. “We are of the belief we are all obligated to contribute to our community,” she told Today,com.
In addition to everyday duties like feeding and diaper changes, Lapin is there when something goes wrong. For example, one baby in her care needed a trip to the emergency room for a high fever and where doctors soon discovered that he had an infection.
Lapin’s service as an interim mother does not go unnoticed. “I did recently have an adoptive mother say something to the effect of ‘You are very special to us because you were our daughter’s first experience with a mother’s love,’” she told Today.com. “That stood out to me because it was actually verbalized.”
Sending the babies on to their next home — whether it is to an adoptive family or the biological family — can be emotionally difficult. But Lapin tries to remember that she was there for something special: the very first days of the child’s life.
You can learn more about volunteer opportunities with Spence-Chapin on their website.
[H/t A Plus]