Brave mum, son search for new family
WHILE other young girls dreamt of ponies and walking down the aisle, all Rockhampton's Rebecca Ryan wanted was a family.
"My dream was sitting at the dinner table with 30 people, laughing and talking," she said yesterday.
Rebecca said when she was just 12-years-old her parents abandoned her in Longreach, leaving her to a childhood of foster care and isolation.
Now 23 and a single mother to Charlie, 3, Rebecca hasn't given up on her dream.
On Saturday she placed an advertisement in The Morning Bulletin with the simple words, "Wanted: Grandparents/parents willing to embrace a family of two".
"It took me a while to get the courage to do it," said Rebecca.
"I work at the Coffee Club and I often saw older people coming in and I wondered if maybe they were looking for a family too."
Rebecca said despite her tragic upbringing, there was no point in being angry.
"I had a huge chip on my shoulder when I was a teen thinking that the world owed me, but then you realise if you push everyone away you have no-one.
"So I made the decision to change and started seeing a counsellor."
Rebecca said her son was also a major turning point in her life.
"Having him made me think this is it - I have to think about him now," she said.
"I want him to have that support system and love that I never had."
Rebecca said so far she had received a very positive response from the community, with numerous calls from other young mums and families.
"I hope people in similar situations or who aren't close to their families read it and it inspires them to get out and do something," she said.
According to the 2006 Census, in the Rockhampton region more than a quarter of households were occupied by only one person.
Member of Rockhampton's Community of Practices (Inclusive Communities), Angela Richardson, said she thought Rebecca was "incredibly courageous".
"So many people do struggle with isolation but they don't want to burden anyone," said Ms Richardson.
"It's the art of asking - plenty of people want to help but they don't know how to.
"Rockhampton has a great community spirit - just look at the floods, but now we need to keep that all the time."
Rebecca said she was excited to finally get "another part of our lives", referring to the response she had received from strangers.
"We'll be one great big integrated family."