Brenda says when you see her family at One Love, it's like the United Nations - multiracial and multicultural. “I am fondly referred to as the pasty white one,” she jokes.
Brenda’s wife Mahnaz was born in the UK, raised in Canada and became a citizen of the US in 2015. Brenda lived in Texas for most of her life prior to moving to Richmond in 2012. They love exploring Maymont and Short Pump Towne Center. It doesn’t hurt that Richmond is the perfect location with close proximity to mountains, DC and the beach.
As a same-sex couple, they decided to have an open adoption and see the birth mom and her family twice each year. Sadly, Brenda and Mahnaz’s families have disowned them for their sexuality and adopting African American children. That has led to tons of chosen family including chosen grandparents for their sons and all friends are referred to as aunts and uncles.
“We also have a daughter from another mother, meaning, we had a foreign exchange student from Iceland that lived with us for two years, and now comes home to visit us at least twice a year,” Brenda says. “Her family has become our family, therefore we have extended chosen family in Iceland with whom we visit every year.”
For Brenda and Mahnaz, family has many meanings. “First, it is a soft place to fall. We support each other and hold each other up in good times and hard times. It means completeness, warmth and security. It means solidarity, trust and love. It's predictable and unexpected at the same time,” Brenda says.
“It's having s’mores around the fire, scaring each other at Halloween and laughing hysterically. It's someone farting in the car and no one claiming it. It's a place for trying on your dreams and an even safer place when you fail. Finally, it's being valued for who you are and full of memories to last a lifetime.”