The celebrity couple graced Parents magazine’s first digital cover. Their blended family consists of four kids, sons Zaire, 21, and Xavier, 9, and daughter Zaya, 16, from Wade’s previous relationship, and Kaavia, 4, their youngest child. During the pair’s interview with the publication, they discussed various topics regarding their parenting style, goals for their kids and family, and creating a safe place for their children to be their authentic selves. Part of ensuring this happens is raising their family in a place with a supportive community, which is why they moved their family across the country from Florida to California.
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In recent years, the Florida government has passed some laws that weren’t inclusive to all the residents of the state. Two examples are the limitations put in place that stop gender-affirming healthcare for transgender minors, which impacted transgender adults, and when the state Board of Education banned critical race theory to be taught in schools, which tells a skewed version of American history leaving out pivotal facts. Due to these reasons among others, the former Miami Heat player and Bring It On actress decided to relocate.
“When you have the kind of rhetoric that is being espoused in Florida and adopted into law, that’s not an option if my child isn’t safe there,” Union said about their decision. “We have family and friends who don’t have the privilege of moving. So we are going to be fighting till we are out of breath to protect all kids who are oppressed. That is our responsibility as people with large platforms and as people who folks trust, and they trust us because we say the hard thing.”
This transition was the beginning of a brand new start for their family unit that has been one of the best decisions they’ve made thus far since their daughter Zaya, who is a part of the transgender community, has been welcomed and accepted by her peers.
“There are a lot of reasons we decided California was best for our family and finding a community for Zaya was a big part of that. We felt that California was a place that would allow her to blossom and grow. She’s going to be a junior in high school now and she’s been able to be accepted and become her here,” Wade said.
It’s important to keep open communication between themselves and their children. The lovebirds discussed what they’ve learned over the years through trial and error along with ways they try to have effective conversations with their kids.
“When I was going through my custody battle, I had to take a lot of courses and do therapy with my kids. Along the way, I learned the power of empowering your children,” Wade said. “Zaya has been living with us since she was three, and my daughter can walk down a runway in Paris for the first time with all the confidence in the world because we’ve been cheering for her since then. Even now, I’ll lay across her bed and listen to her talk about the community she’s part of for two to three hours.”
“If Kaavia is having one of those moments when she goes straight to tears, we take a beat and have her explain why she’s feeling that way. When I was growing up you didn’t have time to explain, it was simply ‘no, get out of my face.’ With the older kids, the best way to reach them is to use my personal experience. It’s helped with the trust and respect in our household,” he added.
They shared one of the biggest lessons they’ve learned on their parenting journey is the power of pivoting beliefs. Certain systems that people were raised to believe when it comes to disciplining, assisting and encouraging their kids can evolve and change over time, which is something the Wades have fully embraced regardless of anyone’s opinion.
“You don’t have to stick to the old program. It’s okay to have screwed up. If you have multiple kids, every kid is going to get a different version of you. We’re going to make mistakes, and we can acknowledge that and be accountable for that without losing their respect,” Union said.