Aubrey J. Parker (left) and her wife, Ellen, already know how they’ll be dressing their young children, Owen and Alec, for the June 25th Pride Parade.
“They both will be in some nice rainbow gear,” said Aubrey, a divorce and family law attorney at Beermann LLP.
Aubrey said the parade is a representation that “everybody is included.” She and her wife Ellen, the Chief Resident of Pediatrics at Loyola University Medical Center, have marched in the parade before with their church: Church of the Three Crosses. However, this is the first time they’ll have both children – Alec, a girl, is 4 months old; Owen, is a 2-year-old boy – with them.
The Parkers met at Creighton University in 2005, when Aubrey’s last name was Parlet and Ellen’s last name was Klocker. They stayed together while Aubrey attended law school in Chicago and Ellen was in medical school in Nebraska. They obtained a civil union in Illinois in 2012 and were married in Iowa in 2013.
The couple decided to merge their last names to Parker so their future children “wouldn’t have two last names or a hyphenated last name,” Aubrey said.
The same sperm donor was used to conceive both of their children. They don’t know what the sperm donor looks like, but they do know he had a good grade point average in high school and college and has excellent handwriting after they saw a letter he had written explaining why he wanted to become a sperm donor.
Aubrey gave birth to Owen (bottom) on May 14, 2015; Ellen, after a 45-hour labor, delivered Alec on Jan. 26, 2017. Two hours later the family closed on their house in Oak Park, IL. With both Parkers in the hospital, one of Aubrey’s firm’s attorneys, Stefania Pialis, acted as power of attorney at the closing.
“We both wanted to experience being pregnant,” Aubrey said. “And we thought it would be interesting to have our children to be genetically related.”
Ellen said she thought the biggest issue she and Aubrey would face when starting a family would be the stigma of being same-sex parents, but she’s been pleasantly proven wrong.
“Happily, I can report that the biggest challenge we face as parents now is being a doctor and a lawyer couple parenting two kids under 2,” Ellen said. “And Aubrey is marvelous at juggling it all.”
Law firm partner James B. Pritikin, (center) who was the best man at Aubrey’s wedding, said Aubrey’s family represents America’s diversity.
“Today’s practice, especially family law, needs to recognize the changing American family and its diversity, and that means diversity in its own ranks,” Pritikin said. “Aubrey was my law clerk while attending law school. I recognized her legal skills as well as her place in the LGBTQ community and how well a fit she was for our law firm.”
Aubrey handles many LGBTQ cases from adoption to estate planning measures and prenuptial agreements. Law firm partner Beth F. McCormack said Aubrey has “a unique ability to help couples navigate difficult conversations when it comes to everything from setting up a parenting plan to separating their assets.”
“Aubrey, as a mother of two children with her wife, has been invaluable to the firm in that her unique perspective allows us to more emphatically meet our clients’ needs,” McCormack said.
When Owen was 4 months old, his moms bought him a shirt that read ‘hatched by two chicks’ with a picture of two animated chickens on it. Aubrey said Alec, in addition to her rainbow gear, might be wearing that shirt to the Pride Parade.
“While we may not stay the whole time – as it will interfere with nap times and cranky kids at some point – we want them to be a part of it and see that everyone is equal, important and loved,” Aubrey said.