Actress, singer, and philanthropist Jen Lilley is one busy woman. A star on both the big and small screens, she has worked on numerous well-known projects throughout her 15-plus year career, including NBC’s iconic daytime series Days of Our Lives, ABC’s General Hospital, the Academy Award-winning film The Artist, and multiple Hallmark Channel movies. Perhaps most meaningful to her personally though is her journey as a mom and advocate for children.
“Every project is so unique that it’s hard to pick,” she says when asked about her favorite projects and accolades. “… 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.”
This year, she has a lot to look forward to career-wise and at home.
“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,” she says.
Lilley’s new bundle of joy will make her a mom of four, two of whom were fostered and then adopted with the assistance of Childhelp, a Phoenix-based national nonprofit dedicated to helping abused, neglected, and at-risk children. Lilley has been working with the nonprofit since 2011, and will be at this year’s Drive the Dream Gala (ChildhelpDriveTheDream.org), taking place on Feb. 12 at the Phoenician Resort.
“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 shares. “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 continues. “If we don’t do something, who will? There are so many ways to get involved.”
For those with questions on fostering or adoption, Lilley shares that she is approachable and open to chat via her Instagram @Jen_Lilley. Learn more about her career at JenLilley.com.