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Actress Jen Lilley: ‘Being A Foster And Adoptive Parent Is The Greatest Experience Of My Life’

Photo from Jen Lilley’s Instagram

Actress Jen Lilley: ‘Being A Foster And Adoptive Parent Is The Greatest Experience Of My Life’

By Movieguide® Staff

Actress, singer and former Movieguide® Awards host Jen Lilley said that despite her many accolades, her personal favorite achievement is her time spent as a mother.

“I suppose my top three professional projects are THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS, U.S.S. CHRISTMAS and THE ARTIST, if I had to pick. And personally, being a foster and adoptive parent through Childhelp and working to establish the Tulsa Girls Home are my greatest achievements,” she told City Lifestyle.

Aside from her appearance in Academy-Award-winning productions such as THE ARTIST, she is also known for several Hallmark Christmas movies.

However, Lilley became one of many actors to tout the up-and-coming GAC Family, founded by former Hallmark CEO, Bill Abbott.

“I’m expecting another baby in May, hoping to get a THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS sequel off the ground, and I have some exciting things in the works with television’s newest family-friendly network, GAC Family,” Lilley said.

Lilley is already the mother of three, two of whom she fostered and later adopted through Childhelp. Childhelp is based in Phoenix and is a nonprofit that seeks to protect and help abused and neglected children.

Lilley began her work with the organization in 2011 and is candid about her advocacy for children’s safety and well-being.

“I could literally write a book on my foster care journey and the ways it’s shaped me and adjusted my perspective on so many things in life, but I’ll simply say that being a foster and adoptive parent is the greatest experience of my life,” Lilley said. “While foster parenting is also the hardest thing I’ve ever done, it’s the most rewarding. The way it breaks you as a person is difficult but beautiful, because it opens your heart to new levels of love and empathy you really can’t experience any other way… I understand that not everyone is called to be a foster parent, but everyone is called to care for the children in the broken foster care system.”

“These are children who experienced an extremely traumatic set of circumstances through no fault of their own, who deserve the same love, safety, and education as any other child,” she added. “If we don’t do something, who will? There are so many ways to get involved.”

Movieguide® previously reported:

Lilley confessed that she felt a fear of getting too attached to a foster child at first. But since caring for Kayden and Jeffrey, Lilley said that her view has changed.

“There’s an amazing hashtag that I follow on Instagram: #gettooattached. I love that hashtag because what I find is that people would always say, ‘I could never become a foster parent. I would get too attached,'” she explained. “But the truth is is that you have to get too attached because these children deserve and need your attachment more than you need to protect your adult-sized heart. Not that any parent is perfect, but [most people] probably had a bit of a better childhood experience or maybe developed some coping skills that these children aren’t equipped with, so you have to just kind of dive in and get too attached.”

“My understanding is that the journey of adoption is hard and can be painful. Even though it’s filled with joy, it’s also full of doubt, no matter what route you go. And it’s the same with birth. There’s no easy way to have a child, through foster care or adoption or doing it yourself, it’s very difficult,” she added. “But for anybody already in the trenches of foster care, I would highly encourage them to look up #gettooattached. Because for me, that’s what kept me in the game.”

Soon after adopting Kayden, the couple adopted his brother, Jeffrey.

“By the time we adopted Jeffrey, it was so awesome because for him it was a more completed story. His birth mom and his birth dad wanted us to adopt him. So it was really healing. It was really kind of a full circle experience for us,” Lilley said.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CNqZXnzFc7t/


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