Rosie O'Donnell is drawing on all her personal experience as an adoptive parent for her return appearance on ABC Family's The Fosters.
"I love the show The Fosters," Rosie told ET. "I've loved it from the first episode. As an actress and as a gay woman and as a mother, an adoptive mother and a foster mother -- all of those things are present and vibrant in my life as they are on the show."
The Fosters follows a lesbian couple who are raising a blended family. Rosie, who announced her split from ex Michelle Rounds last year, returns to the show as Rita, a social worker and single mother with problems of her own.
"Rita has a daughter who is suffering from mental illness and both of them are trying to navigate how to have a relationship in the midst of that kind of disease," Rosie told ET. "It's intense."
Shooting the episode was fun for the whole family as Rosie's 12-year-old daughter Vivienne Rose, a huge Grey's Anatomy fan, came by the set and was treated with a once-in-a-lifetime surprise. Chandra Wilson (a.k.a. Dr. Miranda Bailey) happened to be directing!
"[Vivienne] had to almost take a day off from school when Patrick Dempsey's character was killed off," Rosie told ET. "We're a huge Grey's Anatomy family … and [Chandra] is so kind. She's almost shy, which I think is fantastic, right?"
Chandra had equally nice things to say about Rosie.
"She's a dream to work with, because you just have to give her little key things and she will go and take that and flesh that out," Chandra told ET.
The Fosters airs Monday nights at 8/7c on ABC Family.