Even though Jen Lilley doesn’t “wish three under 3 on anyone,” she and her husband couldn’t be more excited to welcome a baby girl into their unique family.
“I’m so relieved,” the Hallmark Channel star, 34, tells PEOPLE, revealing her pregnancy news exclusively. “I absolutely love being a mom of boys, but there’s a couple of reasons we wanted a girl — one [being], we don’t have one.”
She adds, “More importantly, the reason we wanted the girl is now my sons won’t have a bio-son to compare themselves to and I think that’s really, really important.”
Lilley and her husband, Jason Wayne, are already parents to two sons via foster care: a 2-year-old, whom they took in when he was just 4 months old, and his biological half-brother, who is now 11 months old. The couple is currently undergoing the adoption process with their older son, awaiting the final court date for confirmation.
“All the legal paperwork is in … but we’re still waiting for his adoption day, which is going to be absolutely ridiculously exciting,” she enthuses to PEOPLE.
Want all the latest pregnancy and birth announcements, plus celebrity mom blogs? Click here to get those and more in the PEOPLE Parents newsletter.
For Lilley, foster care was something of a no-brainer. Growing up, her parents were “unofficial foster parents” with their line of work — her father as a judge, and her mother as a director of a women and children’s charity — making their home a “safe house” of sorts, for those who needed it.
Aside from that experience, she found that foster care, particularly in her home of Los Angeles, was in a crisis — accounting for nearly 10 percent of the children in foster care across the country, according to Lilley. It was something the actress couldn’t turn a blind eye to, and she and her husband wanted to be part of the solution.
“Every child deserves love, safety and a strong family,” the Days of Our Lives star explains. “Whether that means staying in my home temporarily and returning to a biological family who’s gotten back on their feet, or adoption.”
RELATED VIDEO: Hilary Duff Shares the Official Moment She Found Out She’s Having a Baby Girl
And while her “heart and passion” is with foster care and adoption, Lilley — who’s currently 21 weeks along in her pregnancy — is looking forward to expanding her family with a biological child too.
“I always knew I wanted to be pregnant and have a child once because I think it is so amazing what a woman’s body can do,” she tells PEOPLE. “It’s scary and beautiful, and also the most natural thing on Earth.”
This pregnancy is even more special, because Lilley and her husband experienced a miscarriage last year, at 12 weeks along. The excited couple have even already begun thinking of names for their baby girl.
“Right now, we are considering Julie,” the “Winter Love Story” actress reveals. “Which means ‘childlike and beautiful like a flower’ … so we’re thinking of Julie Evangeline.”
The couple are expecting to welcome their daughter via natural birth sometime in August.