Hallmark Channel's Jen Lilley Celebrates Adoption of Son Jeffrey, 2, After 846 Days in Foster Care
Jen Lilley is enjoying some early Christmas cheer!
The Hallmark Channel star, 36, and her husband Jason Wayne officially adopted their son Jeffrey, 2, on Friday, Oct. 30, after 846 days in foster care. Jeffrey is the half-brother of their older son Kayden, 4, whom they adopted on June 10, 2019, after he spent 984 days in foster care. The pair are also parents to daughter Julie Evangeline, 15 months.
Lilley and Wayne marked the occasion with a series of sweet photos, commemorating the "most special day" on Instagram. In another social media post, the actress wrote that Jeffrey is "the world's BEST present under my tree."
"Christmas came early this year," she wrote alongside adorable snapshots of the boy smiling in a gift box near a Christmas tree. "... Words cannot express how much I love this little one. Biologically, he's Kayden's half brother, but as Jason said so beautifully, 'Today, we made them full brothers.' "
"I have loved this little one since his momma's first sonogram. She didn't know, but I knew she was pregnant, and I prayed for this little baby boy every single day," continued Lilley. "When we got the call that he was in foster care, and they weren't sure if he would be able to come live with us, I was wrecked. How could I ever explain to the boys that we didn't keep them together. Where would he go? Not all foster homes are loving."
The U.S.S. Christmas star recalled that she "prayed one of those prayers only a mother can pray."
"I mean had he been dead I think his little spirit would have hopped back in his body. It was bold. It was like I was warring over his safety and well being," wrote Lilley. "I'll never forget the moment I said amen, we got another call that their birth mom insisted the boys be together, and thank God the county honored her wish."
"There were so many times we didn't know how his case would end, but we were committed to loving him the rest of our lives," said Lilley, who's working to benefit Toys for Tots and the USO this holiday season with Operation: Christmas Is Not Cancelled.
The mom of three raved about Jeffrey, calling him the "kindest, sweetest, most nurturing, and adorable little boy anyone could ever hope for." Lilley added that he is "the perfect brother, the perfect yes man, and he has the best heart."
"Jeffrey means God's divine peace, and while I did not name him, his name is so perfectly fitting," she explained. "He fills our home with peace, love, and joy, and my heart has never been so full. 2020 has been an incredibly trying year for us all, we had no idea if the adoption was going to move forward."
Lilley added that they weren't able to have the large celebration they hoped for due to the ongoing pandemic, but vowed to throw a proper bash as soon as they are able.
"While I plan to give him the world's biggest 1st gotcha day anniversary next year, I'm sad we won't be able to celebrate today with our friends and loved ones and make him feel like he's the world's coolest kid with the party to match," she wrote. "Nevertheless, I have yearned for today for almost 3 years, and it's so beautiful and special in its own intimate 2020 way."
"Welcome to forever Jeffrey Wayne," she added. "You are everything."
This story originally appeared on people.com