Tuesday, January 10, 2017


Meeting Liam at the airport
As some of you know, Christina and I had the amazing privilege of once again hosting a child from child through CCAI's winter hosting program. In mid-December, 8 year-old Liam joined us from China and spent several fun and busy weeks with us. Because I myself am not in a position to adopt him, I am looking for a forever family for this amazing little man who would so love to have a mama and baba to call his own. I would be SO grateful if you all would share about Liam with friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, classmates, whoever -- someone knows his forever family, we just have to figure out who!


Liam is a very happy little guy with the most contagious giggles you'll ever hear, and I have no doubt that he'll bring much joy to his forever family.  

Liam has Down syndrome and a systolic heart murmur, but he doesn't let either of these things slow him down! He is a very energetic and active little guy who enjoys playing outside (at the playground, swinging and going down the slide are favorite activities), but he also is great at entertaining himself indoors by looking at books or "writing" (making marks on paper). He has a great imagination and especially loves to pretend to cook! He plays well with others but just as often seems to enjoy playing independently. Liam loves looking at pictures of himself and of people he knows -- and he can be quite the little ham in front of the camera. He also really enjoys music and will often dance along to songs. He is a great traveler -- not only did he come all the way from China for the hosting program, but he also roadtripped with me & Christina from Texas to Florida and back (and he did a great job)! 

Liam loves to eat -- applesauce, bread, gummy snacks, and goldfish crackers are some of his favorite foods, but he isn't a picky eater at all and eats his fruits and veggies without complaint. He may be sensitive to lactose -- we cut dairy out for the most part after the first week, and he did better after that, but it's hard to know if it was truly the dairy that was problematic or if his body just hadn't adjusted yet to ALL of the new foods.

Liam also has a bit of a mischievous streak -- which isn't a bad thing, but he does sometimes need help redirecting some of his energy to a more positive activity. I did see improvement throughout his time here with his ability to be redirected, and discipline-wise, short "time-ins" where we sat together quietly on the floor were very effective.

Liam is able to dress himself independently for the most part -- he just needs a little help sometimes putting his shirt on and with buttons. He loves to wear button-down shirts! He enjoys brushing his teeth, though he needs a little assistance to make sure he reaches all his teeth. He loves to comb his hair! Liam is currently still in diapers/pull-ups but recognizes when he needs changed, so I think with a little time and practice, he could learn to use the toilet. He did very well at bedtime -- he usually needed me to stay with him until he fell asleep, but generally he fell asleep within 10-20 minutes and he slept well through the night the majority of the time.


Want more information about Liam or adopting from China? Please ask! Also, for more photos and videos of Liam, check out his page on Facebook or on Instagram!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Princess dress & superhero cape fundraiser

NEW FUNDRAISER: I have been given the opportunity to sell princess dresses and superhero capes to help raise money for Qing Qing's adoption! These are very high quality items and would make great Christmas gifts! So if you have kids/nieces/nephews/grandkids/neighbor kids/students/etc, check these out! Be sure to choose "The Cloutier Family" on the pull-down list to ensure that the funds will go to Qing Qing's adoption. Thank you!!
Capes: tinyurl.com/capesforacause
Dresses: tinyurl.com/dressforacause

And in case you need any more convincing...look how gorgeous Christina is in one of her new princess dresses!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Bracelet & Christmas Ornament fundraiser

I am SO EXCITED about the ApParent Project fundraiser I just launched on Wednesday night! I love this fundraiser because not only will it help me bring Qing Qing home from China, but it also helps Haitian families stay together (and you know I love Haitian families)!
{Soapbox warning!} Way too frequently in Haiti, families turn to orphanages to raise their kids because they don't have the means to provide for themselves & their families, often due to unemployment and/or lack of skills and education. This is a huge problem in Haiti and has resulted in far too many children growing up in institutions, separated from their parents who love them & who wish they could raise their children themselves. Not only that, but only a very small percentage of kids in Haitian orphanages (even those who are "true" orphans with no living parents) will ever be adopted. In recent years, as this problem has become more visible and better understood, more and more organizations in Haiti are turning their attention to this root of the "orphan crisis" in Haiti -- moms and dads who love their kids but need someone to come alongside them to help them get on their feet, through health care, education, skills training, and jobs.
ApParent Project is one of these organizations. From the AP website: "Our focus is on our mission… to “make the needs of Haiti known,” to offer opportunities for the Haitians be able to provide for themselves and their families, empowering them to rise up out of poverty… to be able to keep their families together… to avoid relinquishing their children to orphanages." One of the ways AP does this is by employing artisans to make beautiful handmade products -- not only jewelry and ornaments, but also coffee mugs, purses, wall art, dolls, and more. By providing jobs for these men and women, AP is helping to keep kids out of orphanages & with their families...thereby helping to ensure a stronger and better future for not just these families, but also for the generations to come.
So. All that to say, I am so excited to get to do this fundraiser & to be a small part of what AP is doing for families in Haiti while also working to bring Qing Qing home to our family! Here is a short video that shows more about how ApParent Project works:
This fundraiser is mainly happening on Facebook (so if you want to check it out there, search for "Becoming Forever Cloutier Adoption Fundraising"), but I wanted to post about it here, too, in case anyone who isnt on Facebook is interested in purchasing. I'll try to keep it updated here (when items sell), but there may be a bit of a delay (so just be aware when you request an item, there's a chance it may have already sold on Facebook). Here is how this will work:
To claim your item, comment on this post (or email/text me) with the item(s) you would like & how you plan to pay.
Payment options are:
1. Paypal: https://www.paypal.me/BethCloutier
2. Check (let me know if you need my address)
3. Cash (local buyers only)
Each item is $10; if you need me to ship your purchase to you, please add $5 (total, not per item).
Let me know if you have any questions! Happy shopping!


SOLD: 5, 6, 8

SOLD: 10, 11, 12

SOLD: 13, 14

SOLD: 18,20
SOLD: 22, 24

SOLD: 26, 27, 28
SOLD: 29, 32
SOLD: 34, 36
SOLD: 37, 39

SOLD: 50
SOLD: 52

SOLD: 61

6 left
13 left
4 left
19 left
7 left
20 left
2 left

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Meet Qing Qing

Qing Qing's hosting profile -- hers was one of about 10 that I
received of kids who were still in need of host families when
I started thinking & praying about hosting in late March 2016.
This is a bit overdue, considering I'm already about a month and a half (give or take) into the adoption process, but for those of you who didn't have an opportunity to meet Qing Qing when she stayed with us this summer, I thought I would give a little introduction (though if you've followed my posts on social media over the last few months, you've already gotten to see a glimpse of how amazing and sweet she is)!

Qing Qing just turned 11 at the beginning of this month, and she loves coloring, reading books, Disney princesses, playing in the pool, dancing, popsicles and Goldfish crackers, and folding laundry (yes, really)! She also is an excellent car napper -- she usually fell asleep in the car within 10 minutes while she was here, no matter where we were going! Like Christina, Qing Qing is very good at "going with the flow" -- although so much of the three weeks she spent in the US was brand new to her, she pretty much took everything in stride, even the insane July Texas heat! She also is very smart & quick to catch on to things, even in a new culture and a new language! She loves to be a helper & was my little sidekick for everything from cooking meals & making beds to helping Christina with her shoes & putting groceries in the shopping cart. And best of all, she and Christina became fast friends; the bond that developed between the two of them even in such a short time was absolutely beautiful to see. I am so excited to see this relationship grow even more once they're officially SISTERS!

Medically speaking, Qing Qing has Down syndrome and also had surgery when she was seven to repair a hole in her heart. Currently, she is very healthy and isn't under any medical restrictions, though we'll follow up with a cardiologist when she comes back to the US to make sure her heart is still doing well! She is somewhat delayed developmentally, but as I already mentioned, I was very impressed while she was here at how quickly she caught on to things and her overall independence in doing tasks and "ADLs" (activities of daily living). 

Currently, it's looking like the adoption process will likely be complete sometime between the end of
next spring and maybe the middle of summer, if all goes well. I'm nearing the end of the first big stage of the process -- compiling everything for my dossier -- and after that my dossier will go to China for the CCCWA (China Center for Children's Welfare and Adoption) to process and decide whether or not they will officially approve me to adopt Qing Qing (I received "soft" approval at the beginning of August). So for now, it's lots of prayers, paperwork, fundraising, and more prayers & paperwork! :) I'm so grateful for all of the many people who have supported me time and time again through prayers, participating in fundraisers, and sending a note (or text or email) of encouragement along the way -- I could not do this alone! I wish there was a stronger way to say "thank you," but since that's the best I can do, how about I also throw in the Kreyol and Mandarin: Mesi & 谢谢 (Xièxiè)!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Hi friends! I know it's been forever & a day since I've updated this blog, but...I do still exist, as a matter of fact. And, I have some exciting news (which I will attempt to share in more detail at some later point in time when I'm not coming off a night shift, which is currently the case). The quick version is, I'm in the early stages of finally making Christina officially part of my forever family through adoption (yay!!), and I just launched a T-shirt fundraiser to help with the financial side of this endeavor. Tiffany McLeod came up with an awesome design that I'm SO excited to share, and I can't wait to have it on my very own T-shirt! Here it is:

The design will be available on a navy shirt and a purple shirt, and there are several styles available to choose from. Here are the links: navy and purple. The shirts will be available to purchase for the next three weeks, and then they will be shipped out approximately two weeks after the fundraiser closes. I've said this many times before and I'll say it many times again, but I am SO GRATEFUL for the huge amount of support Christina & I have from family, friends, coworkers, and even people I haven't seen in quite awhile. So whether or not you buy a shirt (though I hope you do 😊), please know how much your prayers & encouragement mean to me and Christina! Love y'all lots!

UPDATE: Here I Am Orphan Ministries has graciously offered to accept fee-free, tax-deductible donations on our behalf! So, if a T-shirt isn't really your thing but you still would like to financially support us, you can do that here. Under "One Time Donation," choose "Adoption Assistance." Before you submit your payment, there will be a comment box where you can put in my name and "Christina's adoption" to designate it for us.

Also, for those of you who want to hear the very very beginning of our story, here's a post I wrote back in 2010...

And then, to fast forward to Easter 2016...

Things have changed a bit in the last six years. 😊 And I am oh so grateful!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

instagram-style life update

Oh hey there, Poor Little Neglected Ol' Blog O'Mine. It's been...awhile.

Life. 'Tis a busy thing.

I'm not utterly convinced that I want to keep up restart this whole blogging deal, but for the moment, while I'm procrastinating doing other, more productive things, how about a bit of an update from where we last left off? Fortunately, despite the amount of time that has lapsed since I last posted, a good chunk of that time was insanely busy beyond words and is therefore too much of a blur to remember many details, so for once I can probably summarize the last ten-ish months without rambling on forever.

finished 4th semester clinicals
Started a second job, because, I mean, one job + nursing
school just isn't enough

Survived the semester and watched my brother graduate
from nursing school {on a freezing cold day on which we
also got locked out of Hannah's car and therefore took
this oh-so-flattering selfie as we waited in Paul's car
for AAA to show up).
Roadtripped to Tennessee and got to spend a few days
with Hannah's wonderful family.
While in Nashville, I also got to see this dear friend for
the first time in years!
Then we trekked across the state to hang out with our
family in a lovely cabin in the Smokies...AND...these
two fabulous people got engaged (in the same spot
where my parents got engaged, which also happens
to be one of my favorite places in the world).
On Christmas Eve, Cheyenne and I traveled to Haiti,
where we were greeted by my favorite little girl.
Christina was able to spend several weeks with me at
the maternity center, which was wonderful.
And then...back to Texas...
for a super cold and crazy-busy semester...
...that consisted of a lot of coffee and a lot of studying
in between class, clinicals, and jobs.
Every once in a wonderful while I had time for
a post-close Fuego run. I mean, who doesn't
love eating tacos at midnight? :)
One of the highlights of my spring was getting to go
to Dallas with these lovely ladies for Taylor's baptism!
My handsome nephew was born at the end of March!
Paul and I got to travel to Florida for several days
to meet Emery when he was two weeks old.

At the beginning of May, I interviewed for (and got!) my
#1 {local} choice of jobs :)
And then...the moment we were afraid would never come...

Oh hey, we're both nurses!
Aaaand I had time to breathe again (well, a little...boards
were still to come)!
Made a quick trip to Boston to visit a friend.

Spent the weekend before taking boards holed up in a hotel
room in Dallas. I did surface for church on Sunday and for
a quick but wonderful visit with Taylor & Shelby!

Grateful, grateful, grateful for all of the prayers and words
of encouragement from so many friends before NCLEX.
I am so blessed to have so many amazing and
thoughtful people in my life.

And then...then I got caught in a sudden
downpour as I went to take the biggest,
scariest exam of my life. Consequently,
I took boards dripping wet and looking
like a drowned rat. C'est la vie.

Nonetheless...48 hours later, I got this great news!
Major relief would be an understatement.
And surreal. So surreal.

Meanwhile, as soon as I took
my exam, I headed out of the country
and back to this beautiful little girl!
Christina and I stayed at the maternity center again
(thanks, Beth Johnson, for your hospitality)!
There were several births while I was there, and the
Heartline midwives were so kind as to let me catch one
of the babies (who was born in the caul)! So fun.

We got to go the beach one day...

...which Christina and I both loved :)
Obligatory photos of our 4th of July outfits :)

And then...back to the States to start my new job.
(Oh. Finished up at job #2 at the beginning of June, so I was
down to just 1 job for a whole month before starting at the

RN badge > Grad nurse badge

One day I'll quit. Really. #eightPOINTfiveyearsandcounting

Lina came for her annual Texas vacation!
Thanks, Taylor, for picking her up at the airport for me!

Birthday girls! (Technically, Lina's birthday is in July,
but it's tradition to have a Texas birthday party for her.
Last year it was in June, this year it was in August.
Close enough.)

party people :)

And then...it was time to send Lina back to Florida :(
But first, we went to see a performance of Les Mis in Dallas!

So there ya have it -- most major life events since October as recalled by Instagram ;) These past several months years have been super crazy, and there have been many times when I've felt overwhelmed and/or out of control (though let's be honest -- when have I ever really been in control?). Dramatic though this will sound, there were definitely times when I didn't know how I was going to make it from one day to the next (let alone from one semester of nursing school to the next). So many doubts, so many fears, so much to do, so little time. But. God has been so faithful...not to provide necessarily what I want...but to always provide what I need. He's pretty wise like that ;) Mmm...so let this be a reminder to me when I again (probably two seconds from now) am unsure...overwhelmed...in need.

Lamentations 3:21-24

 But this I call to mind,
    and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;

    his mercies never come to an end;
 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
    “therefore I will hope in him.”