I remember the first second Jacinta was born. I was in the delivery room with our mother and then the doctor asked if I wanted to cut her umbilical cord and my first thought being a teenager was how disgusting! But then I took a deep breath and just did it. A similar thing went through my head when I was asked to take full time care of my sister. My philosophy throughout life is you just need to get on with it and move forward as there are so many people out there doing it much harder than you. The reason I took on this massive responsibility was to give my sister the childhood I never had, a stable home environment and unconditional love. I’m so proud of her accomplishments and how far she has come despite the circumstances. Would I do it again definitely - yes! Because no amount of words can describe the feeling of knowing you have made a difference in a child’s life.
When Anastasia was twenty, her mother was declared unfit to raise Anastasia’s five year old half-sister, Jacinta. Anastasia did what most twenty year olds would never even contemplate doing - she volunteered to raise Jacinta as her own, to give her the love and the security that she herself missed as a child. Taking on the responsibility of raising a child when she herself was little more than a teenager was a daunting task, and the road was rocky, but now Jacinta is taking her HSC exams and planning on entering university next year. She will be the first in her family to attend university. Anastasia’s hard work battling homework, the legal system and bureaucratic red tape has paid off - in the form of lovely, well-adjusted young woman, Jacinta.
Photographer: Diane Macdonald