A family with two moms

March 25, 2013

Chicago, Illinois

By Jim Young

Ava and Jaidon have two moms. Theresa Volpe is “mommy” and her partner Mercedes Santos is “mama”.


They have been together for over 20 years. They met each other while working for the same publishing company in Chicago in 1992. Theresa says that Mercedes is the person she was meant to spend her life with, she just happens to be another woman.

In 2002, they decided to find an anonymous donor so they could have their own biological children. First came Ava, now a quiet and insightful 8-year-old talented musician, and then her brother Jaidon, an energetic and playful four year old.

Theresa and Mercedes are part of a lawsuit to get same-sex marriage legalized in Illinois. There are nine U.S. states that recognize same-sex marriage, and Illinois currently has legislation waiting to be voted on in the House after the Illinois State Senate approved a bill to legalize same-sex marriage on Valentine’s Day this year.

After Illinois legalized civil unions on June 1, 2011, Theresa and Mercedes were one of 30 couples who had their ceremony in Millennium Park, but felt it was just the first step to their ultimate goal – to be legally recognized as married.

Two years ago their son Jaidon was hospitalized. Theresa wasn’t allowed to see her son because the hospital did not have a policy for two mothers, and Mercedes was already in the room with him.
Asked if they felt they had become “activists” Theresa says, yes, maybe but they were doing this all for their children – they needed to know that these are their rights. Theresa and Mercedes wanted them to be a part of the process and to be treated fairly.

When preparing to testify before an Illinois Senate Executive Committee hearing, Theresa told Ava to be prepared that there was probably going to be people saying bad things about “families like ours”.

Although they may not meet some people’s definition of a traditional family, they are definitely a family.


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Poor girl, will never feel the real love, of a real family! She even doesn’t understand the perversity of those two women, naming themselves ” moms”. This young lady, may be will never understand the sacred name ” Mother”

Posted by Igno | Report as abusive

Disgusting! These children are a victim of two people’s perverted sexual appetite.

Posted by kamizee | Report as abusive

I think the children are profoundly lucky to have parents who have been together for 20 years. Most “straight” homes can’t say the same thing these days – especially with over a 50% divorce rate. Most have a mother, a step-mother or step-father or both. Lots have fathers who rarely see their children, or maybe only on weekends. Lots have fathers/mothers who are so far behind on their child support payments that the mother/father can barely make ends meet.

These children are anything but “victims”, and they clearly feel the “real love” of a “real family.”

Posted by JL4 | Report as abusive

I don’t dislike gays, but I am sick of the constant gay lifestyle promotion in the media which is way beyond propaganda. Even overt propaganda and self promotion has its limits.

Posted by americanguy | Report as abusive

Another sad attempt by a minority trying to redefine nature and thousands of years of human history in order to make themselves ‘feel good.

Reuters needs reminding as well: we all have ONE mother and ONE father. They are of the opposite sex. Anyone can get married, as long as you marry someone of the opposite sex. The way it has always been, rightly so.

The REAL story is why Reuters and other old media spend so much time on this fringe issue.

Posted by BobC2012 | Report as abusive

Igno: Change is hard. Always has been and always will be. Same sex marriage is a toughie because we’d always been taught that it’s wrong. No one will be able to convince you to accept it. That can only come from within. Since it IS happening and is becoming increasingly accepted, I would urge you to try to focus on the fact that this is a product of love, not hate.

If you really think about it, we live in a world where war and killing is much easier to accept than two people of the same sex loving each other. Don’t you find that odd? I do. Even if you don’t believe in same sex marriage, supposing you had the choice of one of the following: ridding the world of war or ridding the world of homosexuality. Which would you choose? One involves love, sex, and a person being who they are. The other, of course, involves killing and hatred. I would hope you’d choose doing away with war. And yet war seems to be much more acceptable than two people loving each other who happen to be the same sex.

The point is, not everything we grow up believing is right. If two people want to get married, they should be allowed to. The most important thing for the children is that they are loved intensely and are well-raised. There is no reason to assume that this priority can’t come from two parents of the same sex.

americanguy: It’s not propaganda. It’s actual news. We are currently experiencing a very fundamental social change: the acceptance and legalization of same sex marriage. The news media would be sorely remiss if they weren’t reporting on this. It’s news, big news.

Posted by flashrooster | Report as abusive

Leviticus 18:22-26

King James Version (KJV)

22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

23 Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.

24 Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you:

25 And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.

26 Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you:

Posted by Honesty555 | Report as abusive

Flash, people try to change society, frequently for the worse. It is just wrong in this case, and not worth spending time on.

It is just sad really. It will never be marriage. Time to move on.

Posted by BobC2012 | Report as abusive

Wow. What an amazing couple. I hope they finally win the rights they are fighting for. It’s so sad that in America, we still have groups that do not have equal rights. I hope Illinois finally puts this issue to rest and finally starts to tackle the real problems.
It’s so sad to see these anonymous stains on humanity trying to put these women down in the comments. It always amazes me how easily religion is used as a destructive weapon instead of a tool for progress.

Posted by FoodGeekBear | Report as abusive

What a beautiful family! In a world so full of tragedy and heartbreak, it’s lovely to see a feature on a stable, loving home! All my prayers and good thoughts go toward Illinois legalizing their civil union as a fully recognized and supported marriage.

Posted by FotoCub | Report as abusive

Are these people against this trolling? or are they just stupid?…

Posted by kissecat | Report as abusive

I have known Theresa for 31 years. She has always been and is a person of high morals and strong character. I have observed these two wonderful parents love and care for their two beautiful children. They are role models of commited and loving spouses and parents. I wish all the best for them and their children. I wish for the innocent childrens’ sakes, people will stop posting evil comments. I may be good to remind those standing in judgement that some day we all will be judged on how we treated others.

Posted by P-Barbie | Report as abusive

The sick minds of religious fundamentalists never fails to turn my stomach. They must believe in evil – for they are evil. They must believe in hatred – because they are so filled with hatred.

The last thing to occur to their tiny, bewildered minds would be love, fellowship, a celebration of life.

They helped me to pick out which Reuters tale of life in America to blog about, tonight. A new family, their children and their love. Folks who follow the link back here can wander down and glimpse the failed culture rooted in the Dark Ages.

Posted by Eideard | Report as abusive