Sunday, January 4, 2004

Family of five adds four more for holidays

By Perry Schaible
Enquirer contributor

TRENTON - Lately, it seems like Julia Hopkins lives next to her washer and dryer.

The Trenton mother does 12 loads of laundry a week and stops at the grocery every other day as she cooks for nine.

"It's just been such a year of transitions," laughs her husband, David Hopkins.

The Hopkins family of Butler County: Sarah, 9, Jenna, 8, Julia holding Felicia, 5, Macy, 4, sitting on the lap of J.D., 13, David, and Celia, 4, sitting on the lap of Chad, 11.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
On Dec. 9, the former family of five officially became nine when the Hopkinses adopted a group of four siblings from Butler County Children Services.

That's when Chad, 11, Sarah, 9, Felicia, 5, and Celia, 4, joined Hopkins' biological children, J.D., 12, and Jenna, 8. The family also adopted 4-year-old Macy two years ago.

With five girls and two boys, their four-bedroom home can be rambunctious.

"It is loud ... I have to say that. There's always somebody trying to tell you something," Julia said.

No one in the new family would have it any other way, not even J.D., who now shares the bedroom he once slept in alone.

Julia fell in love with the four faces that peered back at her from the Adopt Ohio Web site, a list of adoptable children throughout the state.

"I kind of said it as a joke to David," Julia said. "He said: 'Well, why don't you call (the caseworker) and ask her about it.' "

But, according to Julia, before she could even bring up the kids during a telephone conversation, their caseworker asked: "You wouldn't want to adopt four kids, would you?"

From there, the couple believe fate intervened. The kids started weekend visits in May. By June, they were living with the Hopkinses full time.

Friends tell David and Julia either they're saints or crazy, but either way, they're happy.

"I think we're somewhere in the middle," David, a local pastor, said.

The couple considered adoption after Jenna's birth. Pregnancy had been hard on Julia and they decided if they were to add to their family it would have to be another way.

Six children were placed with the Hopkins family as foster children before Macy's adoption.

"I probably will not seek to adopt again, but if God presents a situation, I'm not going to say no," Julia said. "That's how we got these four kids, God handed them to us and said here take care of these kids."

"I feel like what we're communicating ... is that there are so many things that are more important than just ourselves," David said.

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