My name is Chelsea Reidland. I have been married to the love of my life for almost 15 years. We have six kids and sponsor a girl in Ethiopia that we go see at least once a year. The first date I had with my husband I told him, “I want to adopt one day, I want to be a stay-at-home mom when my kids are little and I don’t iron. It makes me hot and sweaty and I just don’t like it. If he was ok with those three things, we could continue, but if his hope was to have a two-income family, with one or two kids, we should probably just remain friends. No judgment, just not the guy for me. We both agreed that it was unacceptable to us that there are kids that don’t have a family. We knew one day that we would foster or adopt. Fast forward a few years and we were welcoming our first baby boy into the world, Then another and another. God blessed us with three biological sons. We decided once our youngest was potty trained, we would start the adoption process and planned to adopt a little girl that would fit perfectly into the birth order.
We got licensed through an agency and I began dreaming of my little girl. I painted her room and started buying hair bows and tutus. During the training, we learned about how many older kids are in foster care and what their life looks like when they age out of foster care. My heart began to break for the older kids, but I didn’t think God was asking me to do anything about it besides praying for them. We attended our first adoption match event (an event where they have pictures of all the kids in foster care that have their parental rights terminated and are waiting to be adopted). I was shocked at the lack of two-year-old little princesses that were available for adoption. I think the youngest kid was nine years old. At the last table, we went to there was a sibling group. The girl was almost 17 and her brother was 14. We took their picture home and began to pray for them. Those kids are now my kids, my son and my daughter. Adding two teenagers into our family that had experienced unimaginable trauma was not easy, but it WAS and IS so worth it.
My husband and I now run Hope Fort Worth full time and we are living our best life! Hope Fort Worth is a non-profit that works to help find forever families for kids that don’t have one. We believe that every child deserves to be loved and supported. We do this by working to inspire families to adopt and making sure they are supported when they do.
We have seen a ton of success in helping older kids find families. When most people think about adoption, they think about babies. However, most of the kids in foster care today are teenagers. Statistically speaking, if these kids age out, they don’t have much of a chance at success.
Our 6th kid will be added to our family at the end of summer right before his 18th birthday. He is one of the kids we advocated for and ended up falling in love with him. We don’t know what God has in store for our family or the ministry God has given us, but we want to always be available to do whatever God asks us to do.
Adding kids from trauma into our family and running a non-profit has tested our faith, marriage and family. I am stronger. We are all stronger because of it though. One statement that became a life statement for me is, “I am willing to be rejected so that my kids will never have to be rejected again.” Raising teenagers who have been hurt, abandoned, abused and rejected will act out when they start to attach to you. Receiving love and giving love is one of the scariest things for a child that has had their biggest fear in life come true.
The hard things that I have experienced have allowed me to be able to inspire, equip and support other families as they say yes to the hard and give a child a family. It has also allowed me to be able to help other people know how to support families that are fostering and adopting.
- Address:5320 Camp Bowie Blvd. Fort Worth, TX 76107
- Website: HopeFW.org
- Email:[email protected]
While studying to be an Education major at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, Chelsea Orr Reidland worked for an afterschool program at a junior high school for at-risk children. She became attached to the children and their families and often invited them to her home. While in Abilene she met her husband, Mark Reidland. They have been married almost 15 years and have three biological children, two adopted teenagers and foster a teenager. In addition to this expansive family, Chelsea and Mark sponsor three children through BLoved Ethiopia and visit there annually. They have also provided respite care for five foster care children. Prior to founding Hope Fort Worth in 2016, Chelsea worked at Fort Worth’s HighRidge Church for six years working with the young adult ministry and missions. After founding Hope Fort Worth, the Reidlands served as both volunteers and staff. They officially took over managing the organization in 2020. Chelsea, Mark and their family live in Fort Worth, Texas.