2 Gay Dads + 12 Children = One Happy Family

The two dads, twelve children, family? It’s happening in Arizona.

Last month I wrote about a proposed new law in California that would make it legal for children to have three parents. With the definition of “family” expanding to include same-sex parents and kids, grandparents raising kids, three or four adults raising children, and stepparents raising two sets of children, to name just a few, this makes perfect sense.

And now we have this family of 14, two gay dads and twelve adopted children, which has become legal in Arizona. (But only thanks to Washington State.)

Steve and Roger Ham, partners for over 19 years, have been raising 12 kids together in a state that doesn’t allow same-sex couples to marry or adopt, and where conservative lawmakers have tried a half-dozen times to keep single people, including gays and lesbians, from adopting foster children.

The two men took in the first member of their brood in 2003, a boy named Michael. But then it turned out the youngster had five siblings, all living in different foster homes, so they decided to adopt his siblings too.

Since then, 42 foster children have passed through the Hams’ door, with the couple eventually adopting an even dozen. In 2007, Roger changed his last name to Ham so that everyone would have the same last name and to avoid any confusion during pick-up from school or the doctor’s office.

But here’s the problem: Steven adopted 10 of the children in Arizona, but since the state prohibits same-sex adoption as well as the adoption of one same-sex partner’s child by another, Roger could not legally be their father. Two of the kids were adopted in Washington, where same-sex adoption is legal and therefore both Steven and Roger’s names appeared on the birth certificates.

With only one legal parent, children in gay households are not entitled to health and Social Security benefits, inheritance rights or child support from the other parent. That seemed all wrong to the Hams, who both wanted to have legal custody of their children.

Their dream came true last month.

Shelly Kreb, the lawyer who helped them adopt in Washington, offered to facilitate the re-adoption of their 10 other kids for the price of one — $1,500. On July 13, Judge Diane Woolard called to inform them that from now on both Steven’s and Roger’s names would appear on each of their children’s birth certificates.

From azcentral.com:

At 2 p.m. July 13, Steven said, he told his co-workers at Activator Methods, where he is director of customer service and events, that he’d be a few minutes late to a meeting. Then he closed the door to his office.

At home, Roger says, he gathered the children around the dining-room table, put his cellphone on speaker mode and placed it on top of the huge bowl of apples, oranges and bananas. He gave the kids watermelon slices to keep them still and quiet.

“The judge came on the line and said, ‘I’m real excited to be doing this,’ ” Steven recalls.

One by one, each child, leaning toward the phone, identified him- or herself to Clark County Superior Court Judge Diane Woolard. It was over in minutes.

Steven bolted to his meeting 20 minutes late, grinning, and his co-workers stood and applauded.

I don’t know about you, but this story bring tears to my eyes.

As Steven Ham says in the Youtube video below:
“All of our kids have two parents that love them, and most of their friends don’t.” And isn’t that what raising children is all about?

Thanks to a lengthy profile in the The Arizona Republic last year, Steven and Roger Ham were named two of Esquire‘s “Fathers of the Year 2012.” You can watch these awesome dads here:

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Photo Credit: screenshot from Youtube video


Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson5 years ago

i love love LOVE this. thanks so much for posting. kudos to these amazing men

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle5 years ago

Very happy for the whole Ham family. So many kids languish in foster care that it is wonderful when so many can be adopted, be part of a loving, committed family.

Wendy Schroeder
Wendy Schroeder5 years ago

They are better people than anyone who calls themselves pro-life. They are taking care of children who are alive. Once the child is out of the womb, the "pro-life" people could care less about the child.

Michelle C.
Michelle C5 years ago

Beautiful! It is better for kids to be in a loving home than tossed around a system and put out at 18.

Michelle C.
Michelle C5 years ago

Beautiful! It is better for the kids to be in a loving home than tossed around a system and put out at 18.

Michelle C.
Michelle C5 years ago

Beautiful!! It is better for the kids to have a stable, loving home than tossed around a system and put out at 18!!

Sally S.
Sally S5 years ago

If those kids are lucky enough to have found a loving, caring family then who cares what sex the 'parents' are?! I wish them all the very best of luck. Thanks for sharing the story, it's good to hear something positive once in a while.

Allan Yorkowitz
.5 years ago

A dozen children...statistically these children will out perform their counterparts in a straight relationship.

Lisa Schroder
Lisa Schröder5 years ago

Love is all you need.

Kynthia R.
Kynthia Rosgeal5 years ago

The idea of a reality show around this makes me gag.BUT, I am so happy all those kids found a loving home. I am thrilled with what the two men went through to get their names on the birth certificate and I hope this at least helps others realize how important this really is.

I just dislike reality tv.