Rhiannon is very artistic, she managed using ink stamps and pad perfectly and I began to think that perhaps I was not stretching her capabilities and wondering whether she might become bored. Far from it, she seemed really relaxed and began to talk about how as a very little girl she would have loved to be able to do this . She explained that she had watched a lady working in a post office ( on TV ) stamping letters and so wanted to do it.
She explained that she did have the opportunity in school to play with a stamp in a role play area, but only for a short time ( as the area needed to be shared by the whole class ) . She then asked if when our granddaughter gets older she can set up a Post Office for her to play in. Of course I agreed . I have no doubt that Rhiannon will be there supporting her play in the Post Office when she is big enough!
I was reminded of a conversation that took place about 4 years ago with Rhiannon. We had gone to a local Theme Park with friends who had a three year old. He ran off into the activity park, complete with slides, climbing nets and ball pool. Rhiannon was then about 15 and the signs read that the facility was for children Under 12 years . I could see that she was itching to get in there, so I asked if she would mind going in to supervise him.
At Under 5 foot and with a very slight build she looked 10 or 11 years old, but would not have responded well to me suggesting that she might want to go in and have fun . After all that would have meant breaking the rules and she is a massively compliant young woman. She supported the play of the three year old beautifully.
On the way home she admitted that she had really enjoyed playing in the soft play area. It was the first time that she had been in one, though as a young child she had always wanted to go on one , but never been allowed.
Rhiannon lived a very tiny life, full of responsibility for the family, before being taken into care as she approached her 12th birthday. She missed out on so many early experiences because of her traumatic and deprived start to life.
As her foster carers we have tried hard to enable her to use her teenage years to overcome the early neglect and trauma. I can see that she has been very successful in rebuilding the connections in her brain that were struggling as a result of poor attachment, nutrition and violence.
The theory is that there is a window of opportunity for this to happen when the brain undergoes a period of rapid development in teenage years.
I genuinely think that Rhiannon has used that opportunity to develop rapidly. I am so proud of the hard-working, carefree young woman that she has become and delighted to have had the privilege of watching her overcome what was such a tricky start in life.
Jayne Robbins – A Blogging Foster Carer.