Lifestyle & Human Interest

Hallmark Star Helping to Raise Funds for Thousands of Foster Children This Summer


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.

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“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.

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“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.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking