Rev Kev enjoys melting-pot family


Jenna Black

Reverend Kevin Hopkins with his wife Joni and two adopted daughters, Selci and Divya. Image by Jenna Black.

Story by Julia Sanders, Writer

Each Thursday morning during the academic year, Campus Minister Reverend Kevin Hopkins stands outside Osbourne Chapel, greeting everyone with a handshake and a smile. As the clock strikes 11, Hopkins, or “Rev Kev” as students refer to him, rings the cowbell and the weekly service begins. Following worship, he delivers a message of encouragement to the congregation and then invites everyone to lunch, where he devotes his time to having conversations with as many people as possible.

Displayed all over Rev Kev’s office and often mentioned in his chapel message is his family. He and his wife Joni have six children, four of whom are adopted.

Rev Kev and Joni adopted their first child, African-American son Jordan, 23 years ago.

“When we [my wife and I] were first married we felt a calling in our hearts to adopt and didn’t know if we would be able to have biological children, so we started the adoption process,” Hopkins said. “Once we started the adoption process, we had an adoption within three months.”

After Jordan was adopted as an infant, the Hopkins’ added two biological children, Marshall and Kedzie.

When their desire to adopt again grew, Rev Kev and his wife began looking at international adoption, which involves a much larger amount of paperwork and is a much lengthier process. The process to bring their three girls home from India took a few years.

When Nayva, now 21, Selci, 17, and Divya, 16, first came to the United States they spoke no English. However, through immersion in American culture, they picked up the English language within months of their arrival. Although the Hopkins’ family does not incorporate a lot of Indian culture into their everyday life, Rev Kev does intend to take the girls back to India someday.

Rev Kev said he finds his diverse family to be a “real blessing and a real challenge all at the same time.” It has exposed him and his wife to a “variety of issues and stigmas” like second-hand racism, which they might not have faced if not for their multi-racial family.

“In my own family, this melting pot of cultures and races has been amazing for me to see through the years,” Hopkins said.

Susan England, who is the departmental assistant for the student affairs office, said Rev Kev and his wife “exude the love and pride they have in each of their kids.”

After working with Rev Kev all of last year, England has gained great respect for him.

“Rev Kev does an amazing job of being a father first, but still enjoys taking quite a bit of time to be involved in extra activities on campus like games and events,” England said. “It is obvious that he thoroughly enjoys sharing about his children and family and does so with great pride.”

Rev Kev’s experience being the father in such a diverse family has helped him in his job as the campus minster, according to senior Madison Haefke.

“His experience with having such a big family has helped him be a good campus minster because everyone has a different story, and having that kind of diversity within his own family has made him really open and receptive,” Haefke said. “It has made him just a good leader and father figure for us, as students, to talk to.”

Rev Kev appreciates the diversity on campus because it reminds him of the diversity in his own family.

He said that seeing his family grow and adapt with each new situation is the most rewarding part of his life.

“In my family, seeing the different ethnicities, races and cultures grow up together has been humbling, overwhelming, exciting and challenging all at the same time,” Hopkins said.