It was time for the first contact between Mum and her two babies. The venue was a contact centre about a mile from Mum and about 8 miles from us. Now that doesn’t sound far but, in London, it’s a minimum one hour drive even in normal traffic. However Mum wanted the contact to be at 10am and that meant driving in rush hour traffic. So we had to get the babies up, fed, bathed, dressed and ready to go for an 8:30 start, not an easy task. We were up at 7am but youngest baby had had a restless night so we were both up a lot earlier than we thought we would be. Babies were loaded in their respective seats in the rear and my wife sat in the back with them fully prepared with bottles, dummies etc. Fortunately they both dropped off pretty quickly into the journey. The roads were quite busy and I don’t think we reached 20 mph during the whole journey. We kept the Social Worker aware of how the journey was going as she was supervising contact as it was the first one and she wanted to watch how Mum interacted with the babies. We finally arrived about 15 minutes prior to our due time to be greeted by the Social Worker. The babies remained asleep despite the upheaval of taking them out of the car and carrying them in. The contact centre was pretty drab, no real decoration, and wasn’t particularly child friendly. My wife and I had decided that we would have a coffee and a walk around the shops whilst the contact went ahead. So it got to 10am and there was no sign of Mum. We sat and chatted and the youngest baby woke up which delighted the Social Worker as she wanted to feed her. It got to 1030 and still no sign.

The Social Worker tried to call Mum but there was no response. The Local Authority had given Mum some money for her to buy a travel card so we knew that wasn’t an issue. It got to 1130, both babies were awake and we had sat and chatted but still no sign of Mum. The Social Worker told us to go home as we had a long journey home with two now wide awake babies. We reloaded the car and headed home. The journey wasn’t quite as bad but was still a trek. We got home, unloaded the car and the babies had a nap, as did we. We were woken by the phone ringing. It was the Social Worker. After we left she drove around to Mums flat and spoke to her. Apparently she had ‘forgotten’ about contact and was apologetic. Not a very good start to the contact schedule. Mum even asked if we could go back the following day but this was refused. Mum was reminded about her commitment to contact and that was it until the following week. We relaxed for the rest of the day and planned the rest of our week. We found that if we took the babies out we could tire them out easier and nap time or night time was a lot easier to deal with rather than just sitting indoors.  The following day our Supervising Social Worker popped around for a visit and we updated them about the events of the previous day. They agreed with everything that had happened and the actions which were followed and we discussed the future decisions which would be made if Mum didn’t turn up.

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