The new Christmas advert from John Lewis has, for the first time ever, shared the story of a foster family welcoming a foster child into their home. Stripping back the glitz and glamour, special effects and celebrity appearances, they have opted for a simple, yet moving, glance into the real and inspiring role of fostering.
John Lewis have commented that they “could have heavily gone for Christmas magic and fun but that didn’t feel the right thing to do this year with everything going on. It felt the right thing to use this platform we have to get this message out”. Raising awareness of children and young people in care, especially over Christmas, they have worked in partnership with Action for Children and Who Cares? Scotland, in the hope that they can make people think more about how they can help.
Many people have been humbled by recent world events and the emotional and financial challenges we face in today’s society. As a result, there has also been an emphasis on community, kindness and doing what we can to help people and make a difference in life. For us, fostering is something that people can do to make that difference and know they are doing good in the world. We know all too well the urgent need for foster carers, with around 30,000 children coming into care every year, but it’s the simple message of the things you do in life making the real difference that we hope will reach people and inspire more to become foster parents.
In reflection of the ad, we’ve seen our foster parents learn new skills to help a foster child settle in, transform their homes to accommodate a child with disabilities, we’ve seen them rushing out to buy last minute toys and gifts to help them feel at home; stocking their cupboards with a child’s favourite food and studying the referral and matching information of a child to learn their individual personality – their likes and dislikes – in advance of them arriving at their door.
The role of a foster parent is a dedicated one, yet there is little more rewarding as a career – and a way of life. It is the simple and honest way that many make a difference. The ordinary but extraordinary. And it really does come down to that message of ‘it’s what we do that matters most’; and for those who truly want to do something that matters, you won’t find a more deserving and life-changing role than fostering a child.
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