Plenty of people are aware of the plight of foster kids and how the system needs reform, but fewer are prepared to open up their homes and hearts to children in need.
Actress Jen Lilley is one of those who decided to do something about the issue. Fostering and adopting have become major parts of the Hallmark star’s lifestyle.
Since 2016, Lilley and her husband Jason Wayne have personally invested themselves in the foster scene by fostering then-4-month-old Kayden.
The couple did everything in their power to work toward reunification but after years of trying they ended up officially adopting the boy in 2019. Later, they also adopted his younger brother Jeffrey, a girl named Julie, and then welcomed biological daughter Jaqueline into their family as well.
“A lot of lives in foster care would be saved if it came down to common sense, but it doesn’t always come down to common sense,” Lilley told “Good Morning America.”
“You end up having reentry into foster care, unsuccessful reunification and a lot of times death because sometimes they’re just looking at the law and they’re not really looking at what’s in the best interest of the child.”
Kayden’s mother had grown up in foster care herself, and Lilley acknowledged that “it’s a cycle and it’s a really hard cycle to break.”
“The goal of foster care is absolutely not adoption,” the actress said. “Adoption is supposed to be only when necessary, so people who get into foster care to adopt are in it for the wrong reason.”
But opening her home is not all Lilley has done — she’s also deeply involved in fundraisers to help support foster kids in various ways.
This year, Balsam Hill and Jen Lilley are partnering to raise funds for school supplies for foster kids, and their goal is to be able to provide over 2,000 backpacks filled with essential school supplies.
The initiative, called “Camp Christmas in July,” starts on June 15.
“Kids who are at risk, homeless, or in foster care, so many of them say that school is their safe place,” Lilley told the Hallmark Channel during an interview. “And so many of them don’t graduate high school, so it’s really important to set them up for success.”
“We have way too much fun at @christmasisnotcancelled raising money for children in need with our powerhouse community of world changers,” Lilley wrote on Instagram, according to Christian Headlines.
“And this summer, we’re back again to raise 2,022 backpacks full of school supplies for children in foster care. Camp Christmas in July (featuring hilarious game nights and virtual get togethers with your favorite celebrities) registration opens June 15.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.