The Butler Family
Serving as Carroll County mayor is a large fraction of Joseph Butler’s life. When he isn’t welcoming new businesses into the community or meeting with constituents about the future of fiber internet in the county, Butler spends his time meeting the needs of his wife, Megan, and their five children. Baseball, diapers and creating traditions make up everyday life for the blended Butler family.
Butler said the couple’s faith played the most important role in deciding to grow their family through adoption.
“We’ve always been set on adoption. Our faith tells us that all Christians are called to take care of the orphans. We always knew we wanted to grow our family and we feel called by God to do that through adoption,” Butler shared.
The couple’s five children, Easton, Joie, Harry Lee, Judah and Harlon, range in age from 16 years to 20 months old. Lee and Judah are 20-month-old twin boys and the most-recent additions to their family. The couple adopted the siblings and were there in the hospital the day the twins were born. Joie joined the family six years ago and Joseph and Megan were there in the hospital the day she was brought into the world.
The Adoption Process
Once they made up their minds about growing their family, the couple reached out to a faith-based adoption agency that works with families in Tennessee and Kentucky. What followed was a series of home visits and psychological, combined with fiscal background checks. Butler said the agency wanted to ensure the couple was fiscally and emotionally sound and children placed in their care had a safe, sound and stable home. The “mountains of paperwork” got the ball rolling for agency providers who walked them through the entire process. They provided guidance even post-adoption. The legal process for one adoption can extend six months or more. The process can even present its own challenges. Butler spoke of a time when the couple had what seemed as if it was going to be a very smooth process with one adoption and plans changed within the last month. That setback eventually led them to an Arizona hospital and the addition of Joie to their family. Butler said the process can feel like a roller coaster ride sometimes with the highs and lows.
“You learn a lot about yourself, your mind and your heart,” he added.
The couple maintains a relationship with biological family members of their adopted children. As Butler shared, they are considered extended members of their family. He said they love his wife Megan and she keeps in contact with them throughout the children’s lives.
“What they chose to do was the best decision for them at the time. We see it as they were giving us gifts. When they (the children) grow up, we want them to know their family members,” Butler said.
The Butlers even adopted their three canine family members – two from the Carroll County Humane Society and another from Goofy Foot Dog Rescue.
Harry Lee and Judah – Twin Boys, 20 Months Old
Butler said while the boys are identical twins, for each of their similarities, they have unique personalities.
Harry Lee is the more serious and reserved of the brothers. He is the more analytical and cautious one of the pair. Judah is the silly and outspoken brother. He tends to be more social than his brother.
Joie – 6 Years Old
Butler described Joie as the “emotional princess” of the family. As the only female sibling, Joie is special to everybody and well-loved. She is the strong-willed child with big emotions. Butler said she lets everyone know when she is happy and when she is not.
Harlon – 10 Years Old
Harlon is described as the adventurous sibling, always curious and a lover of the outdoors. He enjoys hunting and fishing, testing boundaries and seeking out his next big adventure. Butler shared he sees a lot of his wife’s personality in Harlon. It was Harlon who chose the pet snake for the family.
Easton – 16 Years Old
Easton is the big brother to all, but not just in age; his personality is one that takes care of everybody around him. Butler said he has a great friend group, which is reflective of his nurturing and welcoming personality.
“I am very proud of the young man Harlon is becoming,” Butler said.
Balancing Work and Home Life
Both Butlers are servants in their community. Megan is a stylist at Urban Hair Salon as well as a local photographer. Butler has served as Carroll County Mayor since Sept. 1, 2018. He was re-elected to a second term in August of this year. Juggling careers and five children has its own set of challenges, but adequate time is the biggest. Butler said fortunately their close relatives live near and lend helping hands when needed.
“We all have an opportunity to be as busy as we want to be. What matters is prioritizing what’s important. We have a lot of opportunities to focus on what’s important to us – that’s our faith and family,” Butler shared. Whether it is helping with homework, attending ballgames, reading books to the little ones before bedtime or spending time with his spouse, Butler said the days are full, but they all share time together and he wants each to know they are a priority to him.
The Holiday Season
“We very much focus on why this season is so special. We celebrate Jesus through worshiping Him and giving to one another,” Butler said. His favorite tradition revolves around the five children. He and his wife allot a certain amount of money for each child to spend on each of their siblings. It is solely the children’s idea of what to gift one another. Watching their siblings open presents from each other has become the Butlers’ favorite holiday tradition.
“We eat it up watching them get excited to see their siblings open up their presents. It is that spirit of giving that is one of my favorite parts of celebrating Christmas,” Butler said, adding the kids get more excited about giving the gifts than opening their own presents. Megan is always there with her camera in hand to capture those precious moments.
“We have a wonderful archive of photos as presents are being opened,” he said. Although they may have different ideas of what cookies to leave for Santa or what the elves should be doing, all of the siblings share the same spirit of giving.
Service Above Self
Butler was born and raised in Huntingdon. Serving as the leader of the community that shaped him in his formative years remains one of his greatest joys.
“I am so thankful for this position. This community has been so good to us and we hope to spend our lives giving back. Carroll County is one of the safest places to raise a family. It has been my greatest honor to serve as mayor of a community I cherish,” Butler shared.