Two gay dads + twelve adopted kids = fourteen happy family members

The entire Ham family! Photo courtesy of AZ Central.

AZ Central recently featured the wonderful story of Steve and Roger Ham, a gay couple raising 12 adopted children in a state not historically known for positive attitudes toward the ideas of gay marriage OR gay adoption. (In the '90s, Arizona legalized a bill specifically giving married couples adoptive preference over single people, regardless of sexual preference.) Despite these formidable roadblocks, Steve and Roger adopted twelve children out of foster care — and couldn't be happier with their family.

It's 11-year-old Andrew's turn to set the table for dinner, and he deals out 14 paper plates as if they were playing cards.

Marcus, 5, climbs onto a bench and announces, "It smells like pancakes."

His brother, 3-year-old Cooper, counters, "I think it smells like chicken."

"It smells like Ambrose," says Logan, 7, climbing in between Cooper and their sister Ambrose, who's 4. She glares at the laughing boys.

Actually, it smells like spaghetti. A big pot of homemade sauce is bubbling on the stove.

The six littlest children fit on the 9-foot-long bench along one side of the table. Andrew and the four other big kids sit in chairs on the other side. Olivia, the baby of the family, is in a high chair. Daddy sits at one end, Papa at the other.

Steven and Roger Ham are raising 12 children, all adopted from foster care, in Arizona, one of the most unlikely places for two gay men to piece together a family.

Read more about the family at AZ Central's website!

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  1. love this! I love hearing about adoptions out of foster care. These two dads are just awesome and I really do love their story.

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  2. sounds like a great happy family to me! what a great job you are doing at raising a family and adopting foster children!! that is so sweet. i think if you can do a good job raising a child, who cares if you are gay or married… all that matters is if they feel loved.

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  3. This is absolutely incredible. I've been researching foster-adoption recently and think it's definately the way we'll go when we're a bit more financially stable, though it's different in Canada.

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  4. Thank you so much for sharing this story. I just read the entire piece on AZ Central and was simultaneously thrilled at what these guys have done and enraged at the obstacles they faced (and continue to face) in multiple systems skewed against them. I am one half of a straight, married couple who have been through the fost-adopt system once and I know how wrenching and challenging it was for us – I bow down in admiration and respect for this family!!

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  5. I think this is the most incredible story I have read yet on OBM (and that's quite a statement!) Thank you so much for featuring this – what an amazing, amazing family. I'm going to go weep happy tears now…

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  6. So, when are they making a reality tv show about this awesome family? : ) Ima sucker for TLC hehe

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  7. As a gay fostermom, we can't wait to adopt our two girls. Your story is incredible and made me smile, cringe and fall in love. Good job and hats off to you all.

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  8. I want to be part of this family!!! It sounds like a home full of love and wonderful-ness.

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  9. Oh, this is just fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing this story. What an amazing family. I also shed a tear or two.

    Just a quick note to request an edit to the post, though: please consider changing "sexual preference" to "sexual orientation." Just one of those things that sort of makes me bristle a bit. 🙂 I'm pretty sure you didn't intend to endorse the notion that it's a choice.

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    • What is wrong with sexual preference? I am not "out and about" with it, so I don't really talk about the fact that I am bisexual, but part of the reason is because I hate that label. My sexual preference is that I have found more women attractive physically then men (although I find both pretty damn hot given the right person), but I prefer to be in long-term relationships with men. Orientation makes is sound like it is less fluid than it is for a lot of us.

      I read this back to myself and I think it sounds judgmental of your comment, but I do NOT mean it that way at all. I was actually curious about why you didn't like the term sexual preference, because I haven't met anyone yet who dislikes it stated that way.

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      • Not to speak for Lindsay, who I'm sure will answer herself, but in common parlance "preference" is the term used by anti-gay groups/activists to insinuate that sexual attraction is a choice – (i.e., you prefer chocolate over strawberry ice cream, but really it wouldn't be that difficult to suck it up and eat strawberry for the rest of your life, if you just tried) – rather than a biological orientation you don't consciously control. "Preference" carries a lot of baggage for many queer folk especially because of its constant, purposeful use by people agitating against "teh homosexual lifestyle".

        Here's a thread from AfterEllen that has a lot of different explanations and perspectives on what the language connotes and why it matters – it also addresses how language choice reflects bisexual experience. (One commenter says her "orientation is bisexual, but her preference is for lesbians", for example.)

        On an unrelated "i hate the word bisexual" note, I say that my orientation is queer and totally avoid the b-word. Anyway, hope that helped answer your question!

        http://www.afterellen.com/node/35981

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        • Thanks for the response!

          I don't know if I entirely agree, but it is great to see another perspective.

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      • Lillie – I didn't think your comment was judgmental at all. 🙂

        Jenna Rose pretty much covered everything I'd have replied with. The point is, to many, words and images matter.

        Sexual and gender identity (even as you've described your own fluid orientation) is a matter of biology, chemistry, genetics, and – very likely – other natural phenomena we haven't yet identified.

        It's my opinion that implying that there is individual choice regarding sexual and gender orientation only really serves to validate negative bias (even when its use is seemingly benign, as in this post).

        Stephanie – here's a link to GLAAD's media reference guide, specifically related to referencing gay / lesbian / bisexual terms. http://www.glaad.org/reference/lgb

        "Sexual Orientation – The scientifically accurate term for an individual’s enduring physical, (also Orientation) romantic and/or emotional attraction to members of the same and/or opposite sex, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and heterosexual (straight) orientations. Avoid the offensive term “sexual preference,” which is used to suggest that being gay or lesbian is voluntary and therefore “curable.”"

        P.S. I don't often call myself a lesbian, despite being married to a woman. I just call myself damn good wife and mother. Meaning, I totally "get" it. I'm not a big fan of labels, either.

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  10. What a gorgeous family!! I love big families so much and wish we could afford to do it ourselves. We stretched to four kids, but that's all we can manage without giving up eating! Always makes me smile hearing the noise and camaraderie, as well as the fights that a large amount of kids brings. Imagine the joy in that house!!!! Might go punch some numbers and see if I can make 2+2=5

  11. I love this story, it might be the most touching story that I've read on offbeat mama. Most likely because I was raised by a single dad so I really identify with the fact that a family can exist without a female parent. Thanks obm for showing some awesome dads.

  12. Seeing these guys have so much success, even in an area that doesn't seem to want them to succeed, just makes me smile 😀

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