I had assumed that it would be too close to the funeral for us to visit Melody the Christmas after she left, but Dana phoned and invited us. On Saturday 23rd December my children and I (including the child I was fostering) got into the car to make the 200 mile return journey. The old market town where Melody lives looked amazing, festooned with Christmas lights and decorations. So too did Dana and Melody’s house. Even the bathroom had Christmas garlands and tinsel. I’m not sure who was looking forward to Christmas the most – Dana or Melody. There was a huge pine Christmas tree in the living room, on top of which sat the angel I’d left on Amanda’s beside cabinet in the hospital. Dana told me it had been returned to Melody as next of kin. She said it will have pride of place go their tree every year. I was really touched.

Melody is a young lady now, thankfully not badly scarred from the neglect of her early traumatic years. She became quiet rebellious as a teenager and lost her way for a while, as do many young people. But with Dana’s love, patience, understanding and firm boundaries they came through it, their relationship is even stronger.