Jen Lilley was loved by Days Of Our Lives fans. Even though she was a bit of a villain, by the time the actress left DOOL, Theresa Donovan was showing a more sensitive and compassionate side to her. Her vulnerabilities made viewers understand the character a little better. It was a sad day when Theresa left Salem. It has been a while since fans have heard from Lilley. What is she up to these days? What projects is she currently working on? Jen answered these questions and also shared the joy of being a foster parent.
In an interview with Upstate Parent, Jen Lilley talked about many topics, including her latest projects, balancing her career with parenting, and becoming a foster mother.
Since leaving Days Of Our Lives last year, Lilley has been keeping busy. In addition to writing children’s books, singing, and being a foster parent, she also has plenty of acting gigs. Later this year, there will be two movies released and Jen was excited to talk about them. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, one is called The Wedding Do-Over. It is a romantic comedy about a wedding that goes horribly wrong. The other movie has a tentative title of Off The Menu, starring Santino Fontana and Dania Ramirez. Lilley plays Fontana’s former girlfriend, the one that got away.
In honor of National Foster Care Month, Jen discussed the reasons she and her husband took in a child. Her faith was one of those reasons, citing James 1:27 and Proverbs 3:27 from the Bible. She also discussed why others should consider being foster parents.
“Fostering is the most worthwhile and selfless act of love you can ever imagine. The children will teach you so much about your own life. Yes, they’ll change your whole world and it won’t be convenient (is parenting ever convenient?), but your love will have a ripple effect for generations. I can say so with absolute confidence, because the foster system is broken and cyclical.”
The former Days Of Our Lives actress shared startling statistics. 80 percent of children in foster care will end up with their own children in the system. 80 percent of prison inmates were foster kids at some point. Jen Lilley also said that girls in state custody are 600 times more likely to become pregnant before turning 21. Half of the homeless population were once part of the system. There is also a link between those who have been in the child welfare system and victims of sexual exploitation.
“… between 50 and 98 percent of identified child victims of commercial sexual exploitation have previously been involved with the child welfare system.”
Jen Lilley explained that people make incorrect assumptions when seeing the statistics. Some people believe that foster children are hard to manage or are “wild.” However, the actress said those assumptions are wrong. She believes that the statistics indicate children in the system don’t get the love that they need and receive inconsistent parenting.
“A great foster parent can end the cycle of abuse and neglect, and impact not just the foster child’s life, but also that child’s future children’s lives, the lives of people who would otherwise be victims of a lost foster child’s crimes, and help end human trafficking and homelessness. It’s outstanding! It’s the best return on an investment I’ve ever witnessed.”
Lilley has often called herself a workaholic. It is the reason she postponed becoming a foster parent for so long. Now that she has taken the plunge, she has learned to prioritize. As much as she loves working, she knows that parenting is a full-time job. Jen is also more selective in her projects because each one takes time away from her family.
The actress shared practical and wise advice. Even though she is a self-proclaimed neat freak, she has accepted that her house is not always going to be spotless with a child around. Not only are kids messy creatures, it is more important to read a bedtime story than worry about a few dirty dishes. Not getting stressed out over the little things was something else Jen addressed. She also explained that the right perspective and a positive outlook on everything can make a big difference.
“Let’s say your child spills his or her milk, and it’s the only milk you have left, and it seems you’re at the end of your rope, just remember: that milk is already spilled. There is no sense in making a sad situation more stressful. Yelling at your child is not going to put the milk back in his/her cup. Stress is a downward spiral, and you can only overcome it with a positive perspective. At least you had milk to give your child.”
Lilley added that parent should also remember to be grateful that their child has the ability to hold a cup, sip from it, and even spill it.
What do you think of what Jen Lilley had to say about her current projects and being a foster parent? Are you hoping that she returns to Days Of Our Lives? Will you be checking out her new movies when they are released?
[Featured Image by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]