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Methodist Minister and His Wife Adopt Children of All Races

(Life Magazine – November 12, 1951)

Ten years ago, like many childless couples, Carl and Helen Doss began their family by adopting a boy. When they went back to the agency for more, they were told they would have to wait – unless they would accept an “unadoptable’ child, i.e., usually one of mixed racial parentage. 

Carl Doss, a Methodist minister, and his wife Helen considered the idea carefully and today they have an international family consisting of: Donald, 10, first child to be adopted, who is English-Scottish-German; Laura, 6, Chinese-Japanese; Elaine, 6, Japanese-French-Irish; Teddy, 6, Filipino-Spanish; Diane, 5, Chinese-Hawaiian-German-Indian-French-Irish; Susan, 5, French-English-Swiss (“unadoptable” because of a disfiguring birthmark which has disappeared through treatment); Rita, 5, Mexican-Indian; Timmy, 4, Japanese-Mexican; and Alex, 2, Korean-Chinese-Japanese.

Carl Doss, 37, a successful painting contractor who turned to the ministry 10 years ago, gets $250 a month, plus a house, from his two small churches. Shrewd management keeps all the Dosses well fed and healthy. A vegetable garden and chickens supply one third of their food. Carl buys sacks of dried milk wholesale which, mixed with canned and fresh milk, cuts the cost to 8¢ a quart for their daily minimum requirement of 12 quarts. In the nightly ritual of bathing, the kids are dunked in an assembly line. Carl pops them into the soapy tub; they swish through the suds and emerge at the other end to be dried by Helen. This Christmas the tenth and final Doss child, a Mexican boy, is expected to join them in Boonville, Calif. Even with all her children to tuck in every night, Helen is completing a book with the unsurprising title of The More the Merrier. [Book is named Family Nobody Wanted]

One Comment

  1. Marshall Newman October 24, 2019

    The eldest son, Don Doss, worked at El Rancho Navarro, my parent’s summer camp in Philo, for a couple of years in the early 1960s. I think he later had a business in Petaluma. A fine and decent person, as I recall.

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