Two gay men who are raising 12 children adopted from foster care have been named two of Esquire’s Fathers of the Year. While the headline on this story is slightly off-putting, the piece from AZ Central is really kind of cute.
Steven and Roger Ham live in Phoenix, AZ, where marriage equality is illegal and adoption by same-sex couples is restricted. But they have finalized adoption proceedings for 12 kids, six of whom were “separated siblings the Hams fought to reunite.” Together they have taken in more than 30 foster kids, and they have worked their tails off to make the best lives possible for those they adopted:
While strangers recognize the Hams as a family, the legal documents that bind the family create challenges.
Arizona does not allow same-sex couples to marry or adopt, or for a same-sex partner to adopt a partner’s children. So legally, the 10 children adopted in Arizona were legally bound only to Steven.
The two other children, Isabel, 14, and Logan, 8, had been adopted in Washington, which allows same-sex couples to adopt, so both dads’ names appear on their birth certificates.
Because they can’t co-adopt in Arizona, Roger legally changed his last name to Ham in 2007, so everyone would have the same name and there was less explaining to do when he picked up the kids from school or took them to the doctor.
Years ago, an attorney drew up papers that, in case something happened to either dad, guardianship of the children goes to the other. Medical releases ensure that either dad can take the kids to urgent care, and paperwork filed at school means either can pick the kids up.
One day I want to be as great a parent as these two people. Read the story. It’ll make you smile.