‘Color of Love’: Lifetime Movie, A True Story Inspired & Based On Treka Engleman? Is She the REAL Monica?


The Color of Love, a Lifetime movie inspired by a true story, is likely based on Treka Engleman, a 30-year-old black teacher and foster mom who adopted three white children, says Traciy Curry-Reyes, the writer and researcher of TV Crime Sky. Like most stories “inspired by true events,” the names and many of the details have been changed. Color of Love introduces us to Monica, an African American teacher, who adopts two white foster kids named Peter and Rachel. In the “real” story, Treka Engleman, who was working at Winton Woods Intermediate School as a math teacher, also adopted white foster children named Mercedes, age 16, her sister Alexis, age 12, and a third child, Elijah, who was just two years old.


The Color of Love True Story (Color of Love) on Lifetime Synopsis/Plot

The Color of Love’s Monica Henderson, a black American widow, and mother with more love to give, discovers Peter and Rachel, a white brother and sister she fostered at one time, ran away from their latest foster home. Fearing the kids are in peril, she tries to adopt them. Despite Monica’s mother and her boyfriend Theo’s beliefs that Peter and Rachel may be better off with a white family, Monica’s love for the kids puts the question of what makes a family to the test.


Color of Love, The Lifetime movie, is based on what true story?

Treka Engleman came from a large family. Her mother died when she was just six years old. Despite growing up without her mother, nurturing children came naturally to her. She always wanted to be a foster mom but didn’t think it was possible for a single woman. In  2016, she officially became a foster mother. Her cross-racial/interracial adoption story became a national one in late 2019. She chronicled her journey in the blog Love What Matters.


“A little history about me: I am the youngest of 11 children. My mom passed away when I was 6 years old. I’ve never really had anyone to show me how to be a mom, but I guess it just came natural to me. I have 20 nieces and nephews, 3 great nieces, and a host of cousins who I have babysat over the years. I’ve worked in childcare ever since I graduated from High School. I’ve always babysat for different families; I guess I can say I thought I was a natural when it came to taking care of children. Little did I know three children would change my life…”


[second image via Lifetime w/ permission and Twitter]

In the Color of Love (The Color of Love) true story on Lifetime, Monica faces opposition because she is a black woman, and the children are white. Treka Englman also battled racists who trolled her on social media. African Americans also criticized her and believed Treka was a self-hating black woman who secretly wanted to be white. In the movie, having a home for the foster children was important to Monica. It was key for Treka Engleman, too. She went from living in an apartment to obtaining a three-bedroom home to take care of her foster kids.

When Alexis arrived, Treka found out she had a troubled older sister in the foster care system. Mercedes was a teen with an attitude that had to be placed in group homes, according to Cafe Mom. Treka didn’t want the girls to be separated so she eventually adopted Mercedes, too.

The real Monica, aka Treka, said color was no issue in her home. And that love is what matters, Blavity reported. When Treka goes out with her foster children, everyone stares, and sometimes they ask if she’s babysitting. But she doesn’t care because being a foster mother to children of any color is her life’s purpose.

Color of Love airs Easter Sunday, April 4, at 8/7 p.m. Central on Lifetime. Check out another true story.


[Main image via Lifetime w/ permission]

Traciy Curry-Reyes

Traciy Curry-Reyes is the founder and editor-in-chief of TV Crime Sky. She began her career as a true crime & entertainment freelance writer in the 1990's for her website, The Movies Based on True Stories Database/Archives. She has contributed content to other websites, such as Examiner.com and Inquisitr.com. Traciy also appears as a true-crime expert and commentator on TV One's Fatal Attraction, For My Man, and Justice by Any Means; Investigation Discovery's Murder Calls and Scorned; Oxygen's Snapped; FOX's Crime Watch Daily; and Lifetime Television's Killer Kids.