It's Time to Make a Change - For the Kids & Our Future

It's Time to Make a Change - For the Kids & Our Future

Friends, this will be another one of those shares that is a tough one to relive… so bear with me as I lay it all out. 
Before I go into my story, most of you have seen that we are partnering up with Isaiah 1:17 House out of Rutherford County. Their mission is to provide a safe and loving home for children who are awaiting foster care placement. What you may not know, is why this organization is so near and dear to my heart … it is something I could have only dreamed of wanting for myself 16 years ago. 
Let me give you the backstory, and you’ll know exactly what I mean. 
When I was 10 years old, I was taken from my mother. At the age of 15, my father pushed me out of his front door and said get the (insert choice word here) out and don’t ever come back.
I bounced around and stayed with friends for a bit of time, but even that came to a halt… one of my friend’s moms said “enough is enough, time to go home”. I know she meant well, but she didn’t realize there wasn’t a home to go back to. 
My friends took me to dinner to celebrate my birthday while I was in foster care. It is my sweetest memory during that season. Also can we have a moment of silence for the glow up? 
My dad and stepmom didn’t want me back so I was sent to live with a step aunt who was mentally ill. The condition was that I would be a live in nanny for her 4 and 7 year old.
Her home was toxic. You never knew which version of her was going to get out of bed each morning. The only promise you could cling to was that after one of her extreme ranting episodes was over she would go to bed for 3 days. You were free to live your life in (somewhat) peace and certainty for 3 full days until it happened again. 
One day, I was sitting in class when my name came over the school intercom. I was being called to the front office to checkout early. A sick feeling developed in the bit of my stomach, because I wasn’t supposed to check out early for anything that I was aware of… something must have been wrong. I didn't have a cell phone of my own, at this time, but coincidentally a cute boy let me borrow his phone earlier that day to make a few phone calls. Naturally, I forgot to give it back before the early checkout and it was still in my backpack when I left. 
When I got in my step aunt’s gold minivan, I saw everything I owned packed up in boxes. We drove for about 45 minutes and she never said a word to me. Not one. I was terrified. We kept driving further into the country and I didn’t recognize anything around me. She was so unpredictable in her episodes, I honestly feared for my life and thought I was being taken somewhere off the grid to be killed. 
Suddenly,  I remembered I had that cell phone - I text every contact in that cell phone (no telling how many people I terrified) I let them know I was scared for my life and someone needed to call 911. I included every street name and landmark I could make out, so someone might be able to locate me. 
Much to my surprise, we pulled up to an office building… a plain, cold white brick building. We walked in and she said, “I don’t want her anymore. I’m done. What do I need to sign so that I’m not responsible?”
It was a foster care center... and the social workers were flabbergasted. They must have been in tune to the crazy in her eyes, because they didn’t even try to talk her out of it. They got all the proper paperwork together while she unloaded my belongings from the minivan, laying them in the lobby. 
That moment, I got to experience two things I will never forget:
  1. The feeling of abandonment that, unfortunately, so many other children in this country face.
  2. The hard work social workers do trying to find a loving place for a foster kid for the night, after said abandonment… workers who are frantic because every foster home is full. 
At first, they thought I was going to be left with no choice but to sleep on the office floor, because there wasn’t a place for me to go. It’s not like there was a cozy love sack to cuddle up on in the corner of this cold office. It had a stuffy feel and that dreadfully cheap ceiling tile… you know, the one with all the little dots that you count when you’re bored out of your mind. Not a comforting place for anyone, much less a child, who has been left feeling rejected and alone.  
Finally, a family down the road agreed, after a second phone call plea,  that I could stay for the night. This family was already full so I was set to sleep in a room with 2 others that night. Of course, none of us could actually sleep, so we sat on the front porch until the sun came up, talking about everything that happened. Everyone shared stories about their first night. These were the most horrific stories that I’ve ever heard… stories I wish I could share, but they are not my stories to tell. These kids opened up about dark, dark places and experiences… about terrible foster homes and really good ones they had lived in. What was really hard to hear was the roller coaster ride of ups and downs they had experienced. Those moments of having to leave a good foster home because one of their parents got healthy again… there was that moment of hope, that was shattered when their parent(s) fell off the wagon, and they were returned to foster care… again.
The people I met changed me. Their stories changed me. I truly saw for the first time what a broken system we had and how much we needed to improve it. That was 16 years ago. I wish I could say things were better, but our system is worse today than it was then. There are more foster children than there are places for them to go. There are still children sleeping on office floors every night in this country, counting those little white dots. 
It breaks my heart and pisses me off all at the same time. I know the statistics and thank God, I know I beat the odds.  
There are approximately 430,000 children in foster care on any given day. In fact, there are roughly 9,000 in Tennessee with only about 4,000 homes - less than 50% of what is needed to care for these kids. More than 20,000 foster kids age out without being tied to a permanent family, and unfortunately these kids are way more likely to end up either homeless, unemployed or incarcerated as adults, because they didn’t have the resources needed to function in society. 
Close to 75% of women end up on government assistance. There are so many more statistics I could share here for days… I know the stats and I beat them all. Not only am I employed, I own a house and I own a business - there’s so few of us that there is no statistic I’ve seen for that one. And I am not proud of that. We can do better. 
The truth is, I didn’t beat the stats on my own. I beat them because I had a LOT of helping hands and people who loved me. I asked a LOT of people for help and convinced them to say yes. I had people who trained me in different skills after school so I could sweet talk my way into my first real job ever: social media management. I’m where I am today, against all odds, because other people helped me
And it is my turn now to help the ones coming behind me. And here I am again, asking for help…so these people can defeat the odds and change the statistics like me. 
But yall, it takes a LOT of help… a LOT of loving hands… so here is where we can partner together to make a difference: 
  • Drop into EK for the Lemonade Stand for Isaiah 1:17 House September 24th from 10am - 12pm                                      There will be opportunities to donate and also shop our Closet Cleanout Items. *You can shop from the closet cleanout any time in the boutique - each item is $1 and all of the money goes to a single foster mom of 9, to purchase presents for Christmas.
  • Purchase one of the Isaiah 1:17 in store or by searching Isaiah on our website. 
  • Venmo us a donation and include Isaiah 117 in the description
What does this money go to? Glad you asked. Isaiah 117 is building a new property right here in Rutherford County for kids who do not have foster care placements, yet. Children just like I was, who don’t have to spend another night in an office building, but in a loving and safe environment. 
The money is going to help towards everything for the home … from lumber to build it, to the supplies needed to bring warmth to the atmosphere of it. I truly believe together, a lot doing a little, can make an enormous impact on the foster children in our area. 
Well, friends, there you have it. Here’s my ask for help and so many ways to do it - will you say yes and link arms with me?
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This is an incredible post. I don’t know you personally, but have shopped your store many times and am always happy when I leave. You have done a fantastic job of creating a loving environment for your customers and no doubt outside of EKB. Keep fighting the good fight and sharing your story. It will help others!

Thank you!

Amber O

I’m just here to say that anytime anyone decides to speak out on HIS/HER personal trauma, others, usually family members, find a way to be the victim. 🤷🏻‍♀️ And it’s usually online. 🙄

Chelsea, you go girl. Speak your truth, you badass boss woman. I hope you’re able to make an impact on these kids’ lives. 👊🏼


You don’t owe anyone any explanation. Write your story the best way you can recall it if you find it healing and if you feel like even one person can benefit from the message. If how you recall it is incorrect then it sounds like somebody or somebodies did a poor job at making you feel safe and loved. I was not there in your shoes so I can’t tell you how you felt or how you feel today. I can’t attest to whether your details are flawed, but God knows your heart. I can tell you are doing God’s work from where I’m sitting. Don’t lose sight of that when people try to slow you down. It’s easy to get caught up in the drama of the back and forth on social media. Don’t. You said what you said and this is YOUR platform! This comment section did not pass the vibe check or whatever the cool kids say. I hope everyone moving forward can see past the drama to what good you’re trying to make of your past experiences and the children in the system currently. Love, you’re not alone❤️


Thank you for all that you are doing. I’m sorry that all of the good in this has been overshadowed by others. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who or why – it’s that hopefully money will be raised for children who need it.


Hi Isabella or whatever your name really is. I imagine this name is as fake as the email address you provided.

Not that it’s any of your business, but I sold our completely paid for house to my ex-husband for $10. I certainly did not purchase a new home with only $10. That took 2 years of hard work and saving.

Traveling has been incredibly healing during the past 2+ years of a challenging season. Again, not that it’s any of your business but I have FIVE credit cards I use for business. I have more flight and hotel points than I could ever use. Credit card rewards is how I pay for my travel.

Oh hey, don’t forget technology is pretty neat these days. I can see the exact location of everyone on my website at any given moment. I can even go back and look at exact minute someone was my website & it shows me their location. Pretty cool huh?

Enjoy the rest of your night Isabella! 😘

Chelsea Brown

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