Inclusion: Family finds support in Cedar Valley

November 2, 2012 at 11:37 am

from The Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier.

CEDAR FALL, Iowa — During the first Cedar Valley Pride Fest in August, Brenda Fite and Jennifer Waldron were among hundreds who listened to Zach Wahls talk about growing up with two moms.

…Fite and Waldron think highly of Wahls, but hope their 2-year-old son, Lloyd, won’t have to follow in his footsteps.

“When Lloyd is Zach’s age now, I hope this won’t even be an issue,” Fite said.

The couple have made a life in the Cedar Valley and say that despite the ongoing debate about same-sex marriage, the community as a whole has welcomed their family.

When Fite, an independent software programmer, and Waldron, an associate professor at the University of Northern Iowa, were married in 2009, their neighbors were congratulatory. Those same neighbors now look after Lloyd on occasion. The couple attend St. Timothy’s United Methodist Church, and their lives in the Cedar Valley are filled with supportive family and friends.

“There are a lot of allies in the community,” Waldron noted. “People speak out in support. We’re really doing well. Most of our experiences are civil dialogues and respectful conversations.”

…Additionally, Fite and Waldron would like to be the married parents of Lloyd wherever they go. Although their marriage is legal in Iowa, it’s not recognized in Ohio, where Fite’s parents live.

“My parents travel here and they’re still married. We’d like to travel to Ohio and still be married. We’re not asking for special rights, just equal rights,” she said.

When they do travel, the family carries copies of all of their legal documents, including proof of Lloyd’s birth and adoption. Fite is Lloyd’s biological mother, and through a long and harried process, Lloyd was legally adopted by Waldron.

“There were four months of Jen not having a legal right to Lloyd,” Fite said. “If something had happened to me, who was going to speak for Lloyd?”

Although Fite and Waldron have had some involvement with Why Marriage Matters, a joint campaign effort of One Iowa and Freedom to Marry, the couple say they are not activists. They will, however, not shy away from telling their family’s story.

“It’s important that there are voices,” Waldron said. “Those voices have made it easier for us to live our quiet lives.”

That quiet life plays out in the landscape of their home. Toys litter the corner of the living room, where Lloyd is quick to show off his dump truck and Fite is quick to translate what he’s saying. A toddler swing hangs from a tree branch in the front yard. Daisy, a 7-year-old rescue dog and the newest addition to the family, is, for now, skittish around newcomers.

“With our family structure, most people are willing to get to know us even if they aren’t quite sure,” Waldron said.

The couple say they’re like any other parents, with the same worries, routines and responsibilities.

Read the full article from The Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier.

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Entry filed under: News.

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