The FH's son let me know who the key social worker for the baby is, so I spoke with her today. It was a very revealing conversation, which confirmed our suspicions about the child's mother and really painted a very clear picture of how poorly the little one is. He has Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, which is like withdrawal symptoms, because his mother is a "chronic user of substances" as the social worker put it. The SW explained how little seems to be known about how these children develop and how successful their outcomes may be in the long run. She also told us that they already have "concurrent foster parents" in place for the child, and these foster parents are spending time with the baby at the hospital.
The huge disappointment is that the FH's son was not able to tell us the truth these past few days when we have been speaking with him, and has been hiding the true depth of the child's problems from us. The SW expressed some concern at the FH's age, although she did say that she would send us some literature and pass on our details to her manager, whilst she recommended that we research NAS on the internet, and talk together about the implications this has for our family.
The time frame is very stringent, it seems, and we are already three weeks into a 26 week framework, and we will need a rigorous 12 week assessment procedure if we decide to carry on. I am calling in every favour I can in order to find out more about NAS and to speak with old friends who have adopted.
I have had time to think this morning whilst I was moving and stacking another cubic metre of wood for the fire, and then I went to the girls' school this afternoon to speak with the director of learning about how the school sets targets for the children - that was very interesting. Their school is closed to pupils tomorrow as there is a teachers' strike, so they will be at home with me.
9 hours ago