Babies need love.

This is a simple concept that most everyone agrees with. A baby needs to be held, fed, changed…cared for.

And there are people who have children who are not ready to parent them. There are also people who desperately want children, and cannot have their own.

This is where adoption becomes a viable option for both sides of the coin. But have you ever wondered what happens to newborns while the adoption is finalized? Or to the newborn whose mother has not made a decision about the child’s welfare until the actual birth?

There are special people out there who provide ample amounts of love and care, then have a heart big enough to let the baby go. They pick the babies up at the hospital and keep them anywhere from a few days to a few months; and provide a start full of love. One of these very special families are Jennifer and Peter Mclane of Owasso, Oklahoma.

Jennifer, Peter and their three children—Kristi, Brendan and John—started fostering these babies approximately 9 years ago through a special charity service in Oklahoma. The first year was spent mainly on paperwork, before any children came to stay with the Mclane’s. These babies come from mothers unsure of their parenting plan, some have been counseled previously and some haven’t considered anything until they are at the hospital. The mothers working with the charity can choose to keep their baby, but most are adopted. These are mothers from any age, and many different walks of life. They come to the Mclane home for a stay while legal proceedings are finalized for adoptions, or while other parenting plans are made for the babies.

When the first baby came home from the hospital to the household, Jennifer said it was probably the hardest baby to see leave. In fact, she says it is hardest on her children anytime they have a little honored houseguest. And yes, that is how they see the babies—as honored houseguests. “They come to us and spend special time,” she said. “We love them, hold them, care for them. It is good for everyone to know that the baby is being loved during the transition.”

Jennifer said she actually worries because the babies are really spoiled at her home, constantly played with and held. And yeah, they can become attached.

“Even when you see these babies are going to very loving families, it is still hard sometimes,” she said. “I have to remember that this is not my child. But I mother the babies…I don’t know any other way to do it.”

There doesn’t seem to be another way. Jennifer and her family feed, change, play, go to doctor’s appointments, and give their little houseguests an abundance of love. They will meet with adoptive parents if the parents would like, often these are weekly meetings. Sometimes, parents meet them at the doctor’s for well-child checks. Adoptive parents are primarily from Oklahoma, but babies have been placed out of state per the birth mother’s wishes.

But perhaps the best part is there is a little party when the baby is able to go home with their adoptive parents. The Mclane family heads to the charity’s location where a special celebration is held for the new family.

It takes a big heart. Sometimes, it takes an entire family willing to love a little heart and let it go.

Click her to go back to the National Adoption Day stories

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Dotti Gramke

Dotti was born and raised in Southwest Wyoming and moved to Nebraska after falling head-over-heels for a Nebraska boy in college; and married him. She is the mother of two beautiful girls. In the past, Dotti has worked as a reporter for two different Nebraska newspapers, as well as a freelance writer. She is an active photographer, and her art was shown in a gallery in Wyoming, in a display of Nebraska Photographers at the Hastings Museum and as the feature artist at the Minden Opera House. If you don't see her with her camera or her family, you might find Dotti at home--chasing chickens and cows.