The author of this article was child number 23.
The author: Mrs. Dumont Reared Kids Over Six Decades; 'I'm Child No. 23'
DUNSEITH, N.D.—Few mothers are likely to get more cards, flowers and phone calls this Sunday than Joyce Dumont.
Mrs. Dumont, 77 years old, a Native American of the Chippewa tribe, is at the root of a family tree so tangled that it seems more like a forest. By her reckoning, she has had 69 kids—including six through childbirth, five stepchildren, 11 who were adopted, several dozen foster children and a few who simply moved in when they had no better place to go.
Her latest three were adopted by Mrs. Dumont and her husband, Buddy, also 77, over the past few years. They range in age from 7 to 10. "They're really rambunctious," she told a recent visitor to her home near the Canadian border, where a washing machine chugged and a chubby Chihuahua named Peewee scoured the floor for Cheerios.
Social workers say Mrs. Dumont is exceptional in terms of the number of children she has nurtured over six decades. Chuck Johnson, president of the National Council for Adoption, a nonprofit group in Alexandria, Va., knows of people who have fostered scores of children but said such cases are rare.
"Everybody knew they could count on Joyce," said Andrea Olson, who arranges adoptions through the AASK Adoption Program in Grand Forks, N.D.
In a poor rural area of central North Dakota, social workers regularly called on her to take foster children; she volunteered to shelter others after hearing they were in trouble. Some just showed up. A high-school buddy of one of Mrs. Dumont's stepsons was invited for a sleepover in the late 1970s—and ended up staying two years.For me, this puts the oil boom into perspective and why I don't have a lot of time for whiners elsewhere. Especially when they complain about "their small fortunes."
I've been in a Santo and Johnny mood all day; this seems a nice video to go with this story.