Steven and Roger Ham and the 12
children they are raising in Arizona are officially a family.
The Hams, who are not married, met in
1993 in Reno and fell in love on their first date. Eight years later
they decided to adopt what was supposed to be their only child,
But Michael continually worried about
his four younger siblings, who still were in foster care, so the men
rounded up Elizabeth, Andrew and the twins, Jackson and Madison.
“It was heart-wrenching to see this
little 5-year-old with these big adult concerns,” Steven told The
Arizona Republic last year.
“It broke our hearts,” Roger added.
The dads are considered full parents in
two adoptions from Washington state. The other ten children were
adopted in Arizona and legally belong only to Steven, because the
state does not allow gay couples to jointly adopt a child or a gay
spouse to adopt a partner's child.
With only one legal parent, the
children are not entitled to health and Social Security benefits,
inheritance rights or child support from the other parent.
The cost to re-adopt the children in a
state such as Washington where they would be allowed to adopt
together was cost prohibitive, about $1,500 for each child.
According to the Tucson
Citizen, Shelly Krebs, an attorney in Vancouver, Washington,
offered to handle the 10 adoptions for the price of 1.
“The world is not always about time
and money,” she told the paper.
The recently finalized adoptions mean
the Hams are officially a family.
“Now you can actually say, it's
really my dads,” 17-year-old Vanessa, the oldest, said.