A new baby boy was a dream come true. Joy and Stephan Boutin had a beautiful daughter and with the birth of Jacob, their family was complete. Until...
“We felt the world had stopped turning,” Joy remembers. “There are no words to express the shock. We walked into Jacob’s room and he was not breathing.”
Joy had turned in faith to the Lord after Melika was born. Stephan was attending church with his family but had not expressed faith in Christ.
“We were holding Jacob’s lifeless body, and I knew if I ever wanted to see him again, I needed to be right with Jesus,” Stephan recalls. “In that moment, I gave my heart to the Lord.”
After Jacob’s death in 1999, Joy’s dream of two children was replaced with a desire to have a household of children. The small family moved to Syracuse, New York in 2001 to be near some of Joy’s family. There the couple met a little girl named Kylee. She was Joy’s first cousin’s granddaughter and could no longer live with her birth mom. The Boutins set their hearts on adopting her, but it was not easy.
“Jesus proved Himself faithful,” Joy says. “He granted us the strength and endurance for the six-year journey it took. Kylee’s adoption was finalized in 2006.”
Stephan admits they were naïve. There were difficult court appearances and Kylee coming in and out of their lives, twice. “It was hard, and it hurt, too. But we knew we were to be Jesus for her.”
Now living in North Carolina, Joy and Stephan loved their daughters, but both felt it was time to turn to domestic adoption, “hoping to have a baby” in their home again.
Time and time again, the promise of an adoption fell through. “The four of us found ourselves huddled on the floor crying some raw tears,” Joy says. The family resolved that if they got what they wanted, they would praise God, and if they didn’t, they would praise Him, too. Every step they took brought them to a deeper reliance in Jesus.
The Boutins began working with Christian Adoption Services (CAS) in 2012 and were introduced to a children’s summer hosting program with the Philippines. It was a program with older children and was international, not domestic. Instead of hosting a child, Joy and Stephan soon were working to adopt 12-year-old Aaron.
“Aaron’s story is laced with countless miracles,” Joy says. “Abandoned as an infant and known only as ‘baby boy,’ Christ moved mountains providing all the resources and preparing our new son for his new family.”
Now a Boutin, Aaron was thrilled in 2014 when he learned of the
possibility of the family adopting three Filipino brothers. He loved his new sisters, but from the first day, he hoped for the addition of a brother. The team at CAS needed a response from the Boutins quickly. They were being asked to adopt three boys ages 17, 11, and 10.
“It was December,” Stephan recalls, “the pastor’s sermon the very next day was based on the hymn ‘O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.’
The boys names are Em, Eman, and Emmanuel—God with us! We knew at that moment they were ours.”
There were six children now living in the Boutin home. Days were hectic, and rewarding.
“A few months after doubling our family, we learned of a baby girl named Asher Nicole,” Joy says.
Asher was born with hydranencephaly, diabetes insipidus, and cerebral palsy. She was missing the lobes of her brain and only had a brain stem. Doctors gave her two days to live at birth.
“We listed the reasons why we could not adopt Asher,” Stephan confides. “But we knew we could not let her die without a family.”
Asher came home on May 15, 2015.
“I wish I could describe how very much we needed Asher in our lives,” Joy says. “God used her life in our family to bring healing to our older children, comfort to my mom as she died of cancer, and
purpose for my dad to live again after she died. Oh, how God used this special little life to transform each us.”
Asher “ran to the arms of Jesus” on May 17, 2019.
The grief was almost overwhelming. Joy and Stephan had now
lost two children—children who could never be replaced.
Then God “rocked” their world. Zay’den Isaiah was born with Down Syndrome, a heart defect, and GI track issues. CAS reached out to the Boutins for placement in July 2021.
“At this time, with all that we have experienced, we are always
going to say ‘yes’ for a child,” Joy asserts. “No child is unadoptable.”
Zay’den became the ninth Boutin.
Joy and Stephan Boutin will be sharing their story in person at the
following CAS sponsored “Tree Benefit Banquets” in 2022: Myrtle Beach on February 10, Charlotte on March 10, and Apex on March 28. Guests can register online at christianadopt.org.
Written by Jim Edminson, Editor of Charity & Children