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Roy Moore family, Lansing area


Posted By: Errin Wilker (email)
Date: 6/11/2017 at 22:23:28

Lansing Pair Adopts Family
By Jim Shaffer

Seven-year-old Billy Moore still remembers—and used to cry sometimes—about his days without parents.

But Billy doesn't cry anymore.

Now he's part of a family. A family like any other in every way but one, and that one difference — people around here will tell you — doesn't count.

Billy is one of the four adopted children of Burnice and Roy Moore, and like Teresa, Leland and Sara, are the products of broken bi-racial homes.

At 42, Roy Moore was past the usually accepted age for applicants for adoption at area adoption homes. He and his wife, Burnice, had been married for 13 years, and both wanted children. What to do?

A story in the "Witness," the diocesan paper for the Archdiocese of Dubuque, supplied the answer with a suggestion that childless couples should look into the possibility of adopting bi-racial children. Mr. and Mrs. Moore did just that.

"Sure we had a few worries about the idea at first," Mrs. Moore said. "Not for our sake, but for the children."

"I've been in enough places in the world and met a lot of people, and in doing so rid myself of prejudice," her husband added. "But we certainly know that a lot of prejudice exists."

"The children have been subjected to a little name calling, and they don't quite understand why. Neither do I."

The visits Moore made around the world came during his days in World War II when he was serving aboard merchant ships.

His travels took him to widely separated points such as Egypt, Brazil, England, Africa, and Iceland, all a long ways from his home in New Albin.

It was there that he met his wife who moved to New Albin from North Dakota after finishing high school there. She later became a public health nurse and it was during those years that she thinks she got a good insight into racial problems and bias.

"In our opinion, people are missing a lot by not adopting bi-racial children," Roy Moore says.

"We thought we knew a lot about kids until we had some ourselves. Quite apparently it isn't the same until you have children of your own."

After applying for adoption in early 1961, the Moores had to wait until the first member of their family arrived.

"We didn't have any idea how long it would take," Moore said. "But one day we got a call asking us if we would like a little girl. We said yes and were on our way to pick up Sara who was then about six weeks old.

"We hadn't expected to get a baby," Mrs. Moore said, "and weren't really prepared very well. I borrowed a bassinet, but we had to stop and pick up some baby clothes in Dubuque before we could get Sara."

It was at Catholic Charities that the Moores picked up their new charge, and it was through that agency that the other three children were placed in their home.

Catholic Charities, under the direction of Rev. Thomas Rhomberg, handles adoption of the children placed in its care from the northeast quarter of Iowa.

Billy, now 7, Teresa, 6, and Leland, 5, are all from the same family. Two other younger children of the family are still wards of Catholic Charities and are awaiting adoption themselves.

"After we had Sara for about a year," Moore said, "Teresa and Leland joined us. We understand Billy cried a lot when Teresa and Leland left to come live with us. He thought he would never see them again.

"When we picked him up some months later, he cried again when he saw his brother and sister. He was so happy."

The Moores say Billy has been the hardest to adjust to his "new life." He still remembers the days at the orphanage and some experiences before that," Mrs. Moore said. "It's been hard on him."

Except for Sara, whom they named, the other children kept their first names when they came to live with the Moores. They were given new middle names, and all quickly picked up the Moore name as their own.

"They were calling us Mommy and Daddy on the way home to the farm," Moore said. "They really are our children."

The Moore family lives on a 600-acre farm that Roy farms part-time with his brother, Jim. In the morning, Roy takes care of farm chores, while in the afternoon and evening, he tends to his insurance business that takes him throughout Northeast Iowa, Southeast Minnesota, and Western Wisconsin.

Some of these people he meets in his business hours come home with him to meet his new family. "I want the children to meet a lot of people and to know you can make your living in a lot of different ways," Moore says. "We want them to meet other bi-racial children, too."

I wasn't exposed to anyone but farmers when I grew up, Moore continued. "Certainly I have nothing against farmers, but I want the children to meet everyone, and everyone to meet the children. We are very proud of them."

Source: Telegraph-Herald, Dubuque, IA, hand-dated 1964 - the photo on the top below, accompanied this article, there was no photo caption

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6 Adoptees Are Racial Mixture
By Robert C. Gehl

"To sum it up it has been real rewarding to us to be able to get these children.”

Roy Moore, 52, sat in the large and comfortable living room of his modern farm home atop a ridge six miles northwest of Lansing and cuddled with affectionate fatherliness a handsome and sleeping Negro child.

His wife, Carol, sitting nearby, watched the couple’s other five children scampering about in play or other activities and occasionally joined her husband in the conversation about the family’s life.

It seemed remarkable that this warm and closely-knit family comes from such diverse origins and environments and lives together so harmoniously.

Not really remarkable, however, but unusual in that all members of the family appeared so “turned-on” in their parental and brother-sister relationships.

Because, you see, Roy and Carol Moore are rearing six children who are adopted and bi-racial or racially mixed.

And the couple have no children of their own.

The relationship of the parents was unusual, too, in the beginning of the family story.

Roy Moore first married Burnice Meyer in 1949 and farmed near New Albin until 1959, when they moved to the present farm.

Roy and Burnice read an article in the Dubuque Catholic Diocese paper that an organization named the Open Door Society was seeking parents for homeless bi-racial children which the society was attempting to have adopted.

They contacted the society in April and had their first adopted child by October.

Moore explains that it takes about 15 months to adopt a child, who usually spends about 12 months in his new home before the adoption is legal.

They got Sarah, now 9, in 1961, Tammy, 13, and Leland, 12, in 1962, followed by Bill, 13, a bit later.

Tammy, Leland and Bill, by the way, are a mixture of Spanish-American and Negro and are brothers and sisters.

Fate stepped into the picture when Burnice died in 1968 from cancer and left the family motherless.

Not for long, however, as her sister, Carol, took over later that same year and married Roy, and the family again had a mother.

Roy and Carol kept the tradition going and adopted John, now 2-1/2, and Maria, now 1-1/2, in 1968 and 1970.

Will they adopt more children?

Carol said, “I always thought I’d like a set of twins,” and has an eye out for just such a combination at a Spanish-American community in Pueblo, Colo.

Roy wondered aloud about the idea but because of his age readily conceded: “We could manage.”

The children of school age attend classes in Lansing.

The Moores get together with other families in the area who have also adopted racially mixed children.

“We go lots of places, too,” Roy said. “We are accepted, but we do think that twice we had to wait longer than usual to be served in restaurants in two area cities.”

He adds, however, “Perhaps we are too sensitive about it.”

Roy was born and reared in the New Albin area. Carol was born in North Dakota, but grew up near New Albin. Roy served in the Navy in World War II.

The couple farms 300 acres, of which 180 are cropland and the remained pastureland.

The children are all from medium-sized or large cities and all come from Iowa. One was obtained from a hospital and the rest from foster homes.

The purpose of the Open Door Society, according to Roy, is to place bi-racial children in homes and to promote better understanding about the racial problem.

“I think the program goes a long way to promote better understanding,” he said.

“I think the kids make the best ambassadors,” he adds.

He thinks the general community reaction is different when a Negro family moves into it than when white parents in a family in the community adopt Negro or bi-racial children.

"The kids get along well together, although they have their little squabbles just like kids in any family,” Carol said laughingly.

“We are proud of the kids and they are good kids,” Roy said. “We think we are very fortunate.”

Source: La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, WI, 01 Aug. 1971 - the photo on the right (see below) accompanied this article

Caption of the 1971 family photo:
ALL ARE ADOPTED — This is the Roy Moore family of rural Lansing. At rear, from left, are Tammy, Sarah, Leland, John, (held by Roy) and Maria, held by Carol. Bill kneels with the family dog.
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