Chippin' Away

Moving one day, one minute, one step at a time.

Merry Christmas, Jeff! January 30, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — chippinaway @ 7:24 pm
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As you know, Jeff and I had the first round of interviews for our home study on Saturday.  It was really great!  Katie, the caseworker, is super sweet and made us feel very comfortable, despite the pretty intense questions she was asking us.  The Lord was faithful to help us feel calm, answer honestly, and even have answers for questions we never even thought about.  The  next set of interviews will be on Tuesday and then we should be good to go!

After our interviews, it was time for our date night to celebrate Christmas!  For Christmas, I got Jeff tickets to see a Led Zeppelin cover band called Led Zeppelin 2.  Now, if you know me and my taste in music, you know that this was pretty sacrificial on my part.  I mean, don’t get me wrong.  I recognize the talent of Robert Plant and the awesomeness that they exude at their style of music.  But, generally, I do not enjoy getting screamed at.  Soooo….not really my cup of tea.  But I found out about this group and watched some YouTube videos and man are they legit. 

We started our night with a fantastic dinner at probably my favorite restaurant in Austin, The Hula Hut.  It is a Tex-Mex, Polynesian fusion restaurant that has a fantastic atmosphere and great food!  We even got dessert.  Check this baby out!

That Fried Ice Cream was freakishly good!  Here we are heading out of Hula Hut and on our way to La Zona Rosa for some Zeppelin!

After dinner, we headed to the concert.  If you are wondering what kind of people go to a Led Zeppelin cover band concert, the answer is this.  First, you have the typical young Austinites who are just out to listen to some music and have some fun.  They are probably still in college, and enjoy a good show.  Then, you have the crowd that are me and Jeff’s age who grew up listening to Metallica, dress a little grungy, have pony tails and wear flannel shirts over their T-shirts.  Oh, and they really like to shake their heads to the music.  Ok, and then there were my favorite group of people to watch at the concert.  These were the men and women of the 70s.  They had probably gone to a real Zeppelin show back in the day and they were so fun to watch.  Dressed in their rockin’ gear, Hook ’em signs in the air (ok, so I know it’s a rock ‘n roll sign, but whatever) and definitely had the most fun I think.  These folks knew all the words to the songs, danced like crazy people, and generally had a great time.  I’m not sure where me and Jeff fit in, but we had so much fun!  Jeff is a huge Zeppelin fan and can sing all the lyrics and even he said that this group was good.  Here are a few pics.

And, if you are curious, here is a video of the band:


Another Awesome Site! January 26, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — chippinaway @ 2:32 am

There is another awesome give away happening this week.  Remember Pitter Patter Art??  Well, she is doing a give away from another of my favorite sites to get gifts from,

This is a wonderful place to buy handmade good from around the world.  All the money goes to help place orphans in forever families.  It’s awesome! 

So, go back to and check out the fabulous necklace she is giving away from the Noonday Collection!


Home Study!! January 25, 2011

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The last step before we become foster parents is the home study.  And it is on the schedule!  I can’t believe it.  It seems like the last few items on the to-do list have been checked off very rapidly over the past couple of weeks.  I’m so overwhelmed, and yet so at peace all at the same time.  I don’t know how that’s possible, but it is.

For those of you who don’t know, the home study is where a worker from our agency (Arrow) will come to our home and do a series of interviews.  Today I found out it is about 7 hours worth of interviews!  Cripes!  She will interview me and Jeff together and then interview us separately.  This will take a couple of days so she is coming this Saturday and then again next Monday.  This makes the home inspections seem like a walk in the park.

Dear friends and family, please be praying for our hearts and minds, that we will be confident in our answers, honest, open, and that the case worker will like us!  I can’t imagine what they could possibly ask us that takes 7 hours!  I’m thankful that they are a thorough agency that wants the best for their children, but man am I nervous! 

Once the home study is completed, they will decide if we should be licensed.  After we are licensed, they can call us with a kid or 2!  There is no way to know how long that will take.  For some families, they get a call in a couple weeks.  For others, it take a couple of months.  There are many variables.  The children placed in care have to meet our specified criteria.  We said we would take children less than 5 years old and a sibling group of 2 if necessary.  So, that has to line up.  Also, they agency could call us with a child that does not quite meet our criteria and ask us if we will take them anyway.  We, of course, have the option of saying “no” but I’m already scared of how hard that would be.  We are trusting in the Lord’s perfect timing and perfect placement of the children who are supposed to be in our home.  I know it sounds crazy, but I already love them.  Whoever they are.  I’m in love with them.


A Ridiculously Clean House January 20, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — chippinaway @ 2:38 pm

We are having our home inspected today.  Oh. My. Gosh.  How stressful it is.  One of the requirements of opening your home to foster care is to have a fire inspection an health inspection.  The fire inspection should not be so bad.  We had to get two 5 lb fire extinguishers and mount them (which we should really have any way) and they will make sure the smoke detectors work and all that good ‘ol fire safety stuff.  The health inspection is what kind of freaks me out.  She will be looking through our entire house to make sure all chemicals inside and outside of the house are put on a high shelf.  We can have no expired medication (which we had a TON of) and all medications have to be locked in a safe.  Yep.  You read that right.  If we want to take some advil for a headache, we enter the safe.  Oh, and there is a separate safe for topical medications.  Sounds silly, huh?  Well, when you are caring for a child who belongs to the state, they take safety pretty seriously.  It’s really not that big of a deal, and considering we get to care for God’s children, the “burden” is quite small.  But wow!  I have the cleanest house in town right now.  I find myself wanting so badly to impress these people.  I want my house to be perfect.  That speaks a great deal about where my heart is, I think. 

So, while I sit here and wait for the health inspector to come look our house over from top to bottom, I thought I’d share some statistic with you that played a huge part in driving our hearts toward foster care.

  • There are about 510,000 children in foster care in the United States
  • As of November 2010, there were 1, 719 children in foster care in the city of Austin
  • 127,000 children in foster care are waiting to be adopted
  • 26,000 children will age out of foster care each year…and this number is growing
  • onlyabout 50% of children who age out of the system will earn a high school diploma
  • within 2 years of aging out, the majority of foster children become homeless, are incarcerated, become pregnant, or die.

These are just a few of the statistics.  You should definitly go and look up your state’s own foster care statistics and become aware of what is happening in your city.  I never thought twice about there being orphans in my own city.  I would see commercials for orphans across the world from me and my heart would break, but it wasn’t until recently that the Lord broke my heart for the orphans that are most likely living within 10 miles of me.  This does not make the inpections and rules seem like anything.  I consider it a joy to prepare my home to bring in these sweet children.


one of my favorite sites! January 17, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — chippinaway @ 5:09 pm

Hi everyone. One of my favorite bloggers and artists (the painting kind, not the music kind) is doing a give away on her blog. You should definitely go check it out!

This family is raising money to bring home a child from Ethiopia, and all proceeds from this site go toward it. You should head on over and check out all of her wonderful artwork! I got my mom and my sister-in-law some really cute key fobs as gifts and they are just fabulous!

so, go check it out and buy something!!!! It’s a great way to get something cute and give your money to a good cause all at the same time!


Vaccines January 16, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — chippinaway @ 9:43 pm

Ok.  I’m not going to go much into this.  But I am speaking as a person who works with kids with autism, has a degree in it, and who has done much research into the vaccine controversy, which, in my opinion, should not be a controversy at all.  It seems like there has been a lot in the news lately about vaccines.  Should you vaccinate or not?  Do they cause autism or not?  I just have one thing to say:

Vaccines have not been proven to cause autism.  Not even a small link has been made.  The study that Andrew Wakefield conducted in the late ’90s that supposedly linked vaccines and autism was retracted from publication, and Mr. Wakefield was stripped of his medical license.  His “research” was poor and the conclusions he made were not proven.  They were made up.

So, I encourage everyone out there to please do research into the theoretical causes of autism and really pay attention to who is conducting the studies, and how well the research has been conducted.  Just please do the research.  And googling something is not the same as research.

I have said my peace.


Foster Fears (it’s not about me) January 14, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — chippinaway @ 3:10 pm

You will probably see a few posts on my fears regarding fostering, but this one is meant simply to put them out there.  A little word vomit just for you.  Yeah, that’s gross. But so fitting!

Since beginning this process, Jeff and I have faced many fears.  We began this thinking we were just going to do foster babysitting.  Then thinking we’d do respite care.  Then, after the Lord continued to break our hearts for His children, we decided on foster to adopt.  Along the way, we have had fears like these:

1. How will we afford it?

2. What will it be like if we have to give them up?

3. I don’t know anything about being a mom!

4. What do I do when I reach the point of “I have no idea what to do with this child!”

5. How will we explain to them some day where they came from?

6. If they happen to be a different color from us, how will people react, and how do I explain it to my children?

7. How will I comfort a child who doesn’t want to bond with me?

8. How will I know how to confront racism directed at my children?

9. Don’t laugh, but…I don’t know how to fix African American hair!

10. What if I lose my patience and get angry?

11. What if I can’t go home for Christmas because I’m not allowed to bring my kids?

You see, there are tons and tons more than these, but they generally cross my mind on a regular basis.  And, they are all things that will most likely happen.  Things to expect in this process.  The amazing thing, though, is that the Lord has continually brought comfort to me when they do.  He continues to remind me that it’s no about me, it’s about them.  He is the great comforter, counselor, almighty God!  He knows our fears, their fears, and everyone else’s fears.  He is the great Healer and will help our children bond with us.  He will heal us should we have to give the children up.  He knows whose family those kids belong in, and He will get them there.  With or without us!  He is allowing us to be a part of his plan.  To be a part of a child’s story of redemption.  What a privilege and honor.

Notice that all of those fears have the word “I” in them.  And, well.  It all comes back to this for me: It’s not about “I” (me)!!!


Community Group Begins January 13, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — chippinaway @ 1:08 am

Last night we had our first meeting with our new missional community group.  At Austin Stone (where we go to church) “missional community” is kind of like a small group bible study, but with a missional mindset.  We have made the mission of our group to serve teens who are aging out of the foster care system.  We have not quite nailed down what that will look like yet, but we are super pumped about it!

So, last night there were 7 of us.  We just got together to hang out and get to know each other and will begin our “real” meetings next week.  We are excited to begin thsi group and see where the Lord takes us!  This will me me and Jeff’s first group leading experience as a couple and we are so excited to open up our home for this group!


So…what are the Griswold’s up to? January 11, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — chippinaway @ 11:28 pm

Ok.  Let’s do a quick re-cap of our first year and a half of marriage:

1. We moved to Austin from Cleveland

2. I started graduate school at UT

3. We bought a house

4. We bought a puppy

4. I graduated from graduate school at UT

5. I started a new job at Dell Children’s Medical Center

Now, if that doesn’t make you say “dang” this might.  Our second year of marriage has already been an adventure.  The biggest part of it is that we have decided to become foster parents.  Yep.  Before we have our own kids, we are going to take in someone elses.  The Lord has brought us to this point in His perfect timing, and we definitely feel that this is where we are supposed to be.  We are finishing up our last couple of training classes this month, then a home study and a little paper work are all that stand in our way.  Crazy!!  I can’t even believe that I could be a mom in just a few short months.  That’s a feeling I’ll talk about later, but whoa.  We are in the “foster to adopt” program, meaning that we go into this willing to adopt the children who are placed with us should their parents rights be taken away.

So, please pray for us as we prepare our home and our hearts for children to come into our lives.  Pray the Lord will guide us, get us through hard time, help rejoice in good ones, and grow us closer to each other and our Lord through this experience.  I’m sure you will be hearing more about this in other posts, but this is what we are up to!!



Filed under: Uncategorized — chippinaway @ 2:40 am

Welcome to my blog!  I am so excited to begin sharing what’s going on in my life with you!  I hope to be pretty open and honest about successes, failures, happy times, and sad ones.  Most of all, I hope to share what the Lord is doing in the Griswold family.  So, if anyone is out there, here we go!