Why Movieguide® Awards Host Jen Lilley Is Passionate About Foster Care, Adoption
By Tess Farrand, Associate Content Editor
Movieguide® Awards Host Jen Lilley shared about her experience with adoption in the Arizona Health & Living July 2020 cover issue.
“It’s a long road and that’s one of the things that makes it so emotional is you never know,” Lilley said.
For Lilley, her parenting is more important than her acting career and worth every challenge that comes her way.
“I think that if you want to take care of children in a really dedicated manner, especially children who are in foster care who really need a lot of love and attention, and they need a lot of consistency, then I would not have been able to successfully do the show at the same time… Something had to give,” Lilley told Forbes.
Lilley added, “either I was going to do a good job on the soap and maybe not give these children the love that they deserve or I was going to be a fantastic foster mom, and just flounder in my acting.”
So Lilley stepped away from DAYS OF OUR LIVES to focus on her family.
Lilley and her spouse, Jason Wayne, have adopted their son, Kayden, and are in the process of adopting his little brother after fostering them both. The married couple also have a biological daughter, Julie Evangeline, who was born in June 2019.
“According to Lilley, it was her work with the Childhelp Foundation in Phoenix that moved her and her husband, Jason, to finally start the fostering process,” reported Arizona Heath & Living.
Lilley is very active about her passion for adoption on social media and often shares personal antidotes about her own experiences.
The Christian actress leans on her faith to get her through the trying times.
She said on Instagram, “I am still standing in faith that I believe that God is just, and while the road to #adoption through fostercare is dark and scary, there’s always just enough light to help you take one more step. We were hoping for a light at the end of the tunnel today, but for now, we stay the scary course of uncertainty.”
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#FOSTERCARE UPDATE: I’m not sure where to begin because I can’t disclose case details. So I suppose I’ll start by saying I chose this photo for the update because I am still standing in faith that I believe that God is just, and while the road to #adoption through fostercare is dark and scary, there’s always just enough light to help you take one more step. We were hoping for a light at the end of the tunnel today, but for now, we stay the scary course of uncertainty. New evidence was submitted today that the judge has to take into account. Bio mom has made progress in her case plan, and I am genuinely proud of her. At the same time, I cannot fathom losing this child and what that would do to him and my kids. We’re at a cross roads. Does the judge consider the fact that baby J is actually with family now (bio sibling, just not bio parents), emotionally bonded and thriving and thus terminate parental rights and rule for adoption, or does she take mom’s sudden progress into account and reinstate family reunification? I don’t envy this judge and the decision set before her. Evidence was presented all morning for bio mom’s case. I sucked tears back into my head as hard as I could so as to not make a peep in court. But when the judge called a recess, I stood to dismiss, and my feet literally failed me. I guess those subdued emotions manifested physically. I almost fainted. To say the morning docket was emotional is the understatement of the century. After resuming the case this afternoon, the judge is taking no further evidence and will take the next few weeks to thoroughly consider all matters. So for now, we keep walking, keep praying, and keep loving this little one with every beat of our hearts. Thank you for your continued prayers and support. #fosterlove
Lilley’s adopted son Kayden spent just over two and half years in foster care with the Hallmark actress before his adoption finalized in June 2019. They are still working to adopt Kayden’s biological brother, who they’ve also fostered.
Even as Lilley and Wayne welcomed their first son into their home, they still strive to maintain a healthy relationship with his biological mother.
“I still stay in touch with the boys’ birth mom,” said Lilley. “Her rights have been terminated and we’re in the adoption phase, but I still check in with her. We let her know we love her [and] we’re thinking about her.”
“100 percent of my profits from my music will always go toward helping orphans and children in foster care,” said Lilley.
The actress, who consults God before taking a role, also has a podcast called Fostering Hope that discusses the ins and out of foster care and adoption.
In February 2020, Lilley called for prayers for children in foster care around the world.
“Pray for every child in #thesystem today. Lord knows they need our prayers. Love you all!”
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