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Kelly Fondow of Oak Park has two daughters, separated by 14 years and changing times. Fondow was a college student with a 1-year-old daughter, Grace, when she realized she was ready to come out as a lesbian.
“The interesting thing was, there was just not a whole lot of gay families, certainly not in their early 20s like me,” Fondow says of that time in the early 1990s.
Kelly Fondow and RoiAnn Phillips with Grace, 19, and Eva, 5.
She decided the best way to raise her child was to be open about who they were as a family. “It was my responsibility to be out and open and pave the way for her, so that if someone was going to have a reaction, they’d have that reaction with me first,” she says.
Now 19, Grace became a big sister when Fondow and her partner RoiAnn Phillips adopted Eva, now 5, from Guatemala.
“There was a big difference between when Grace was this age and Eva. What Eva has as an advantage is that there are other kids in her class with same-sex parents,” Fondow says. “Grace was a bit of a groundbreaker and she knew that.”