Usa mom of the year is a 'noble woman, modern-day pioneer'

Bonnie Card is called "Mom" by at least 40 children.

"We have 10 `homemade,' 12 adopted and 18 foster children, but there were never more than 13 at home at any one time," said Sister Card, who recently was named "USA Mom of the Year for 1991."Sister Card, a member of the Manila 6th Ward, Manila Utah Stake, is described by her sixth daughter Robin Campbell, as "the most noble woman I have ever known."

In the nominating letter submitted by her daughter to "Mom of the Year" officials, Sister Card was praised for being a modern-day pioneer.

"Because of her keen intellect and intuitive nature, she is sought out by many for guidance and inspiration," her daughter wrote. "She has been an example to her children, always loving, sometimes firm, sometimes mischievous, and always teaching."

Sister Card's teaching is not limited to the home. She also is Relief Society spiritual living teacher in her ward. Through the years she has served in numerous callings in the Church and finds joy in saying she is a Golden Gleaner, the highest award for young women in the old YWMIA program. She has also served in the PTA, as her political party's voting delegate and in many other volunteer capacities.

Sister Card said: "That award [USA Mom of the Year] is just like a big dream. It is really quite an honor. You could have put all the finalists' names in a bowl and drawn one out - all the moms were worthy."

According to the judges, Sister Card not only met the qualifications for community service, but she also impressed them with her nurturing so many children, many of them minority children.

Sister Card said that after their third child was born, she and her husband, Aaron, had strong feelings that they should reach out to orphaned children and help them.

"The feelings persisted but the doors were closed as we tried to adopt," she said. "In the meantime we were having a big family by birth."

The Cards said: "We believe in following those special feelings. Persistent feelings to do good are something to follow and heed - that's how the Lord uses us as His instruments."

"There are many ways the Lord needs us to serve," Sister Card said. The way for Brother and Sister Card to help children came when they were called to serve three years as teaching missionaries to American Samoa.

"That was during the 1960s," Sister Card said. "It took 16 years but we were able to adopt a newborn Samoan girl." Two years later they adopted a Navajo baby.

Subsequently, the Cards have adopted children from throughout the world: Polynesian, Korean, East Indian, Central American, Mexican and African/American. A few have physical or mental handicaps, but all are loved.

The most cherished moments in the Cards' lives have come when their family has been dressed in white and seated in the temple to have another child sealed to them.

"Those times when we are in the temple with our children are the closest to heaven I have felt," Sister Card said.

Only two of the children were adopted as infants; the others came to the Cards' home as older children. With seven different races, different backgrounds, cultures and problems, the Cards were constantly seeking ways to bring the family together.

Just as Brigham Young held morning devotionals with his family, when the Cards first married they decided to emulate that tradition. Holding devotionals became a key in uniting the family.

They would gather the growing family every morning at 6:30 for hymns, scripture reading and family prayer. Sister Card specifically would choose hymns and scriptures that carried the same theme.

"For example, on Sunday we would sing a song like "I Need Thee Every Hour," and then we would read or recite scriptures encouraging us to seek the Lord and to draw near unto Him," Sister Card said.

The Cards also held family council once a week, and their home-evenings were centered around activities including gardening, games and outings.

"We found the devotionals meshing all the cultures in our family,"Sister Card related. "At night, we'd eat our meals together, have family prayer, say a scripture and sing a song."

It wasn't always easy for the Cards. Brother Card is a retired school teacher and worked 19 years as a seminary teacher and assistant administrator with the Church Educational System in Utah.

"I feel that it was destiny to get these children. We love them all," Sister Card said.

Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed