We got the whole story about the one year old boy heading our way for a ‘possible’ short term placement. Mum’s eldest had been taken away two years prior and was living with his Dad. The one year old was born and Social Services were monitoring his situation. Mum had fallen pregnant, again, and had gone into labour eight weeks premature. Mum had basically taken the one year old and had knocked on people’s doors asking them to look after him. A lady had agreed and then contacted Social Services. Fortunately the lady who took him was a nurse and she looked after him while she waited for Social Services to arrive. So this little lad was on his way to us and we were expecting to look after him until his Mum came out of hospital. He arrived with a Social Worker and a bag of clothes which stunk of cigarette smoke and cannabis. He was quite a big boy but he wasn’t fed in a healthy way. He didn’t seem to want milk and turned his head away when we tried to feed him. We tried him with the semi solid food but he rejected that too. I left him with my wife while I went to the shops to get various bits and pieces and visited a clothes shop to get him some vests, baby grows and various other bits and pieces as we were not prepared to use the clothes that had been sent over. We put those clothes through the washing machine and then folded them into a small holdall that we had. One thing that was very obvious was that he had a ‘lazy eye’. We didn’t know if he had been treated for this or if he had glasses anywhere but we decided that we would get him tested out if he stayed with us for any length of time.

The Social Worker called us later to say that Mum had given birth to a little girl who was very small and would be remaining in hospital for some time because of that. Mum would be staying in for a couple of days to recover so we took it for granted that the boy would only remain with us until she was discharged. It was very difficult settling him down to sleep. He had little or no routine it seemed, and he didn’t seem to like being in a cot. He was very restless and seemed to want to be fed almost hourly, like a new born. He had finally succumbed to a bottle and he was a very hungry boy. After a restless and sleepless night we got our own kids off to school and then just relaxed for the day, with the occasional nap thrown in. We spoke to our Supervising Social Worker (SSW) and provided an update and then received a call from the family Social Worker later in the day. She said that the Mum and baby were doing ok. The baby was in an incubator and was in a high dependency unit in the maternity unit. There were no timescales given as it depended on how well the little one did. Meanwhile we were trying to catch up on sleep and we decided that it was a takeaway day as neither of us fancied cooking. We had another restless night and we were both shattered again, the following day. We then received a call from the family Social Worker to tell us there had been an incident at the hospital and she was awaiting further details.

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