Cheaper by the Dozen? The Brady Brunch and Jolie-Pitt families are small compared to same-sex couple Steven and Roger Ham’s brood in Arizona. Two men can’t be married or adopt kids together in Arizona, but the Hams managed to adopt a dozen, against many odds, for which they were spotlighted on national television.
Who Are These Saints?
For ten years, Steven Ham, 44, Director of Customer Service and Events at Activator Methods, and Roger Ham, 48, school bus driver, have taken in 42 foster kids. Then, they started adopting. The first boy was adopted in 2003.
Legally, he belonged to Steven because Arizona doesn’t allow for a same-sex partner to adopt a partner’s children. In 2007, Roger legally changed his name to Ham. 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. (If a gay couple splits up, only the legal parent has custody rights.)
Arizona’s Statistics on Adoption
However, Arizona ranks first in country for timeliness of adoptions from foster care: 47% of children getting adopted within 2 years, as opposed to 36% in rest of country. Typically, a third of 2,100 kids on average in the state foster care who have a case plan for adoption would be adopted by single parents in Arizona. Heterosexual couples get preference.
The Ham children, ages infant to 15 ½, were adopted in Arizona. Two of the children are from Washington which has legal same-sex marriage. Shelly Kreb, a lawyer who helped the couple adopt in Washington, offered to facilitate re-adoption of the 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 birth certificates.
Rewarded in more ways than One
Besides having a warm, healthy family that runs smoothly with the kid-assigned chores, the Hams received an award from Arizona Association for Foster and Adoptive Parents, signed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer in 2009. This award was given” for not only providing a secure, loving, and stable home for their kids, but for working so had to keep siblings together in a system that often forces them apart.”