Meet the Hams.
The Arizona Republic on Sunday profiled Steven and Roger Ham, a gay couple of 18 years who are raising 12 adopted children, ages 2 to 16 — in a state that prohibits gay couple adoptions.
In Arizona, two men can’t be married, they can not adopt children together, nor can a same-sex partner to adopt a partner’s children. And this year, Arizona passed legislation that gives heterosexual couples a preference over single adults when placing children in adoptive homes.
Steven called a number of Valley adoption agencies to find out whether they considered same-sex couples for placement.
“Honestly, if I needed to lie and say I was a single parent, I would have,” Steven says. But he didn’t have to. Of the half-dozen agencies he contacted, only two showed any hesitation.
That is because although the Legislature has produced bills that would have kept single people from becoming foster or adoptive parents, prohibited same-sex marriage and given preference to married couples in adoptions, those who work with children who need homes — social workers, agencies, the courts — do not take issue with those same conditions. They are more concerned about the thousands of children taken from homes each year, who then bounce among foster homes and group homes in alarming numbers.
Ten of the Hams’ children are adopted from Arizona, two from Washington state.
Both dads’ names appear on the birth certificates as parents of the two children from Washington, which allows same sex couple adoptions. But legally, the 10 children adopted in Arizona belong only to Steven.
In 2009, the Hams received an award from the Arizona Association for Foster and Adoptive Parents, signed by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, for not only providing a secure, loving and stable home for their children but for working so hard to keep siblings together in a system that often forces them apart.