+
upworthy
Joy

Meet a mom who takes care of people's babies while they make huge parenting decisions.

This is what it's like to be an 'interim parent.'

parenting, adoption, children
Photo by Stacey Natal/Total City Girl used with permission.

Jillian, “... my heart skips a beat."


I'm trying desperately to be respectful of the person speaking to me, but my husband keeps texting me.

First he sends me a selfie of him with Rafi*, then it's an account of who stopped him on his way into the NICU.


Then he suggests I take a selfie with Jillian* so he can post them side-by-side on Facebook and boast that we finally have two babies.

People will ask if they're twins, I'm sure. But they're not twins. In fact, the babies aren't even ours.

family, babies, adoptive parents

James' dream come true: Two babies! Rafi in the NICU with Tatte, Jillian at home with Eema.

Photo by Ann Lapin, used with permission.

I take care of these babies because I'm what's known as an "interim parent."

volunteer, newborns, interim parents

Over the past four years, my family has cared for 22 newborns.

Photo by Ann Lapin, used with permission.

The program I'm part of is rare; there are very few like it in the United States.

While the babies are in my care, the birth parents retain their legal rights as parents and are encouraged to visit their babies (if that's something they would like).

social care, adoption, psychology

My three kids with our baby before he meets his forever mommy.

Photo by Ann Lapin, used with permission.

If they weren't in the care of interim moms like me, these tiny babies might wait in the hospital a few extra days while their adoptions are finalized — or they might enter the foster care system.

In New York, biological parents have 30 days after adoption proceedings begin to change their minds about their placement plan.

I became an interim parent when a local mom posted about it on our neighborhood Yahoo! group.

"That! THAT I can do!" I thought, as I looked at the computer screen.

I was thrilled. I felt incapable of doing other types of volunteer work, but I felt like I had finally found a community service that I could perform. So, my husband and I applied. And after months of doctor appointments, background checks, interviews, and letters of reference from close friends, we were accepted.

biological parents, decision making, social care

We left the adoption agency with an empty stroller — but it didn't stay that way for long!

Photo by Stacey Natal/ Total City Girl, used with permission.

The hope with the interim boarding care program is that biological parents have time to gain clarity about their decisions without pressure.

It also helps adoptive parents feel secure in their status as parents.

The children don't usually get the chance to be present when one of our babies goes home, so this was a special day. Roughly 30% of the babies I've cared for have returned to their biological parents after their stay with me, and the rest have been adopted. Many of the birth mothers I've known have pursued open adoptions, selecting and meeting their child's forever families.

People often ask me what the experience of interim parenting is like, but there's no rule: Each case is different.

Babies stay with us, on average, for a few weeks. But one baby stayed with us with five days, another for nine and a half weeks.

Whatever the scenario, my family and I are available to care for these babies until they go home ... wherever "home" may be.

medical insurance, dads, moms

This work can be emotionally challenging, too.

Photo by Stacey Natal/Total City Girl used with permission.

This work can be emotionally challenging, too. Some biological parents do not interact with us at all while they're making big decisions, and some end up being very involved. Some text regularly, requesting photos and updates on the baby while the baby is in our care. Sometimes they schedule weekly visits with the babies. One birth mom became such a constant in our life that my son asked if we could bake her cookies.

I am often blown away by the biological parents' gratitude.

Melody* was one of the most beautiful babies I'd ever cared for, and I met her parents a couple of times. When they came to take her home, it was as though she was the only one in the room. When they thanked me for taking care of her, my lip started to quiver.

I had also never met Jibraan's dad, either, when I placed him in his arms the day they went home together. "From the bottom of my heart ... I can't tell you what you've done for me," he said. I remember that he towered over me, the size of a linebacker, clenching his jaw to keep the tears from spilling down his cheeks.

family, adoption, emotional connections

Big smiles and on the phone.

Photo by Stacey Natal/Total City Girl, used with permission.

When I wave goodbye to the social workers at the agency after introducing each baby to their forever family, I always wonder how long it will be before I get to hold another baby.

I don't get attached to each baby, per se. But I get attached to having a baby, to taking care of a baby. I resent my empty arms, and I feel like I've lost my purpose. So each time I see the adoption agency's phone number pop up on caller ID, my heart skips a beat.

When the voice on the other end says, "Hi, Ann ... are you ready to take another baby?" my first thought is, "Baby! I'm getting a BABY!" That excitement lasts for at least 48 hours.

But even as the adrenaline calms down and the sleepless nights begin to take their toll, the experience of caring for each baby proves to be more than enough motivation for me to keep going.

The emotions that swell when my babies go home with any parent — their adoptive parents or their birth parents — are not just because of the emptiness I feel in my arms or even because of the happiness I have for my babies and their families.

The emotions I feel are because of the fullness in my heart and the gratitude I have for being a part of each of these babies' stories, even if it's just for a moment.


This article was written by Ann Lapin and originally appeared on 04.08.16

Double H Canine Academy in Louisville, Kentucky is a place where dog owners can take their rambunctious pets and have them turned into respectable members of the family.

However, as you can tell in this hilarious video, not all dogs are meant to follow orders.

Keep ReadingShow less

Julia Roberts and Emma Roberts

Actress Julia Roberts was late to the game when it came to joining social media, so she was blown away when she finally saw first-hand how toxic it could be. She started an Instagram account in June of 2018 and, shortly after, was the target of trolls mocking her appearance in a post by her niece.

Roberts was upset about the negative comments people made about her looks and then was gutted when she considered social media's effect on young women. In a 2018 interview with Oprah Winfrey for Harper’s Bazaar, Julia recounted the story.

“Although something did happen recently on my niece Emma’s Instagram that I think taught me a lot about what it’s like being a young person in today’s society. One weekend morning Emma slept over, and we got up and were having tea and playing cards and having this beautiful morning, and then a couple of days later, she posted a picture of us,” Roberts recalled.



Keep ReadingShow less
© Jason Moore/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2023 and © Tzahi Finkelstein /Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2023

The 2023 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.

The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards, known for being one of the most entertaining photography contests, has just wrapped up, and this year’s top prize goes to Jason Moore for his hilarious and brilliantly captured photo of a kangaroo, cheekily named “Air Guitar Roo.” Not only did this fantastic shot win the overall competition, but it also rocked the Creatures of the Land category, too.

Jason's photo stood out among a whopping 5,300 entries submitted by 1,842 photographers from 85 countries. Moore’s photo of the female western grey kangaroo was taken in the outer suburbs of Perth, Australia when Jason visited a field of wildflowers to snap some pics of the many adult kangaroos and joeys playing there.

“The shoot turned out to be a great session, and I am quite fond of several images that I captured,” Moore said in a statement. “Not many people know that kangaroos are normally fairly docile and even a bit boring most of the time if I’m honest. However, when I saw this roo striking the air guitar pose, it immediately brought a smile to my face, and I knew that I had captured something really special."

Keep ReadingShow less
Representative image from Canva

Because who doesn't want to preserve the natural beauty of a bouquet for as long as possible?

With Valentine’s having just passed, many of us might be looking at beautiful bouquets bestowed by our sweethearts and wondering how to keep them fresh for as long as possible (the flowers, that is, but maybe your beau as well).

If the thought of experimenting with a ton of home remedies found online sounds exhausting, you’re in luck! Someone decided to test a whole handful of them to see which worked best for perfectly preserved petals.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

'Nicest judge in the world' reveals the $300 case that pushed him to rule with compassion

Judge Frank Caprio shares how his father's disappointment in his first judgment "crumbled" him.

StephanieRPereira/Wikimedia Commons

Judge Caprio has become known for his compassion in the courtroom.

Frank Caprio has spent 38 years as a judge, making a name for himself as the chief judge of the municipal court of Providence, Rhode Island and gaining fame as the "nicest judge in the world" for his rulings on the reality show "Caught in Providence."

Caprio's empathy and compassion has shone through in his judgments, as he talked to defendants like real people, getting to know their personal stories and issuing judgments that helped the person get on their feet rather than punishing them for being poor or sick or taking care of their family.

In a video on Instagram, Caprio shared that his compassionate approach stemmed from a case brought before him on his very first day on the bench. When asked if there was a certain case from his years as a judge that he still thinks about today, Caprio shared that there was one case that made him feel "crumbled," and which he still gets upset just thinking about.

Keep ReadingShow less

President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden share how they fell in love.

The creators of Meet Cute NYC took a 230-mile detour down south and stopped by Washington, DC. to get the story of how the President and First Lady met for a special Valentine’s Day post. The result was a lesson in the critical role that persistence can play in bringing people together.

Meet Cute NYC documents “microportraits of modern love” and features its host, Jeremy Bernstein, asking random people the all-important question: “Excuse me, are you two a couple?”

The video opens with Mr. Biden revealing how he met Jill in 1975 after being set up by his brother. The president lost his wife, Neilia, and 1-year-old daughter, Naomi, in a car crash in 1972, leaving him the single father of 2 boys.

Keep ReadingShow less