When actress Jen Lilley is seen in Great American Family and Hallmark Channel romantic comedies, the script seems to have a way of coming out right in the end.
In real life, she’s tried to provide that kind of happy ending for children cast off by society.
Not only does she have two daughters with her husband, Jason, she supports the Tulsa Girls Home in Jenks, Oklahoma, for teen girls placed in foster care. She and Jason have also adopted two boys from foster care.
“I don’t look at my boys any different than I look at my girls. I forget that I didn’t carry them in my body,” she said.
“So, it’s really taught me about how, when Jesus says we’re ‘grafted in,’ how greatly he means that. We are grafted in, and we are heirs … with Jesus, with the Jewish people,” she said.
“So that’s what it’s taught me is that God loves us the same and that’s really humbling and astounding in every way,” she said.
(Lilley’s reference is from Paul’s letter to the Romans, where he likens the relationship of early Christians and God’s covenant with Israel to wild olive branches grafted onto a cultivated olive tree.)
Lilley grew into her mission to help foster care children by growing up in a home where her parents took into their home those “who just needed help transitioning in their life.”
“And so that planted an early seed of empathy for me,” she said.
A book by adoption advocate Charles Page that she read on movie sets was also a catalyst for her.
“I would … just sit in my hotel room — often, when I was shooting is the only time I would get to read it — and I would just cry and just pray all day, like, ‘God, please make me like this man,’” she said.
Foster care children “have found themselves in a horrible system that’s completely broken because of somebody else’s choice, because of a choice somebody else made. And so I’m really passionate about that,” Lilley said.
In an interview that took place last month near Hanukkah, Lilley called herself “a Christian who is coming to faith in Messiah” and spoke about the Jewish people.
“I often read the Bible thinking these are God’s chosen people and I’m just the adopted kid, and I know God loves me but, like, he loves me less. And that is not true,” she said.
Hallmark Channel’s Jen Lilley Celebrates Adoption of Son Jeffrey, 2, After 846 Days in Foster Care https://t.co/DaBiTbxf7D
— Jen Lilley (@jen_lilley) November 5, 2020
A People magazine report about the birth of Lilley’s second daughter in 2022 identified the girls as Jackie and Julie and the boys as Kayden and Jeffrey.
“Happy #NationalAdoptionDay! I love these boys and making their dreams come true! They’re the best brothers our girls could ask for. We love you forever and always!!! My heart swells each day from all these kiddos!! And welcome to our new puppy!!(Kayden’s prayers availed much!),” she wrote.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.