MARILYN HAGERTY: Adoption Day brings out the best — in everyoneJoyce Dumont of rural Dunseith, N.D., says she feels like the old lady who lived in a shoe. You know, the one who had so many children she didn’t know what to do.
By: Marilyn Hagerty, Grand Forks Herald
Joyce Dumont of rural Dunseith, N.D., says she feels like the old lady who lived in a shoe. You know, the one who had so many children she didn’t know what to do.
Joyce has had 69 children living in her home over the years. And she has adopted 13 of them. She also had six children of her own. And this month, she adopted a grandson during the Adoption Day celebration at the Grand Forks County Court House. She already had adopted his two younger sisters.
They needed a home. They needed love. And they needed to be together, she said. When she asked her 75-year-old second husband, Francis Dumont, about the adoptions, he said, “Sure.”
Joyce is 76 and just recently retired from her job as a licensed practical nurse at the Dunseith Community Nursing Home. Her husband is a part-time bus driver for the same home. You might think at their age they would like to kick back and enjoy some peace and quiet. Instead, they thrive on making a home for children.
House of joy
And the Christmas tree goes up early — around Thanksgiving time — at their country home. It almost reaches the ceiling of their great big living room. And with five bedrooms, there is a place for those who will be home for Christmas. This year it will include two who have served in Afghanistan and Kosovo. They are Jorden and Gorden Fandrick.
Her house has lots of add-ons. “When you drive up, some think it seems like a school,” Joyce said. “We think it is nice for the children to live in the country. You can let them go outside and get fresh air.
“Lots will come home for Christmas,” she said.
Social workers smile and say the Dumont house is a happy place. Joyce often makes Indian tacos.
When the Dumonts went in to the hearing on National Adoption Day to finalize the adoption of Adam Shane Fandrick, 8, they were beaming with joy. With them were his younger sisters who had been adopted earlier: Hennessey, 7, and Shaniel, 6. The Dumonts have cared for all three of the children since they were infants.
“You can’t put them in a foster home,” said Joyce. “No way.”
And the children were excited and smiling as they went into the courtroom for their hearing. They were represented by attorney Rob Ackre of Cando, N.D., who brought his own children — Raquelle, 12, and Cade, 9 — in to watch to joyful proceedings.
District Judge Karen Braaten, who presided over the adoption, said it was an honor. She told the children that she, too, is a grandmother.
Seven children were formally adopted during the annual Adoption Day proceedings Nov. 19 at the Grand Forks County Courthouse. There were games and face painting for the children and a balloon release following the ceremonies.
Speakers included District Judge Joel Medd, who was chosen as a 2011 Angels in Adoption national award winner and was honored recently in a state meeting at Bismarck.
He said the adoptive parents have “already taken the child to the doctor, wiped the runny nose, bought clothes and given hugs and love. We judges finalize the paperwork and make it legal.
“It strikes me that adoptive parents remember what happened at the adoption hearings for years,” he said. “They remind me sometimes 20 years later — at a hockey game or somewhere — and say, ‘You did our adoption 20 years ago.’”
Medd said, “They remember just what I said. If I noticed on the report the child likes animals, I might tell them I have a dog myself that I sometimes bring up to work.
“It’s different in criminal court,” he said. “The defendants don’t recall that much of what I tell them. They don’t remember to report in to jail. They often forget to pay the fines.”
Among others attending the Adoption Day proceedings here were the two adopted children of Beth and Brad Seeba: Brianna, 14, and Bryna, 6. Brianna was adopted when she was 8 after living in foster care. Bryna came to the Seeba home right from the hospital — five days old.
These children are proud of their adoption and like to attend the annual ceremony. Theirs is a happy home where the Christmas tree went up before Thanksgiving.
Along with adopting children, the Seebas have had 30 children in their home off and on. Now they do foster care on an emergency basis. “They all need help — all those kids,” Brad Seeba said.
And surrounded by children, Joyce Dumont believes adoptive parents are the ones who are blessed. “You don’t have to be rich to adopt children. What they need is love.”
Reach Hagerty at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (701) 772-1055.