Gay Dad Family Stories

Nuno Costa, Out Competitive CrossFit Athlete, Expecting a Baby

Nuno Costa, just one of a handful of competitive LGBTQ athletes within CrossFit, recently announced he's about to become a dad via surrogacy.

Nuno Costa, 41, is no stranger to facing his fears. For years, he struggled with an addiction to drugs and alcohol. He's been sober since 2007 and credits CrossFit — the "functional fitness" phenomenon — for helping give his life new purpose. As one of the only openly gay male CrossFit athletes competing in the top levels of the sport, Nuno has long been an inspiration to LGBTQ athletes. And he's also really good at it — Nuno is one of the few athletes who has competed in nine out of the 11 past CrossFit Games, as either an individual or team competitor, every year since they started in 2012.


In addition to his achievements as a competitor, Nuno also works as a CrossFit coach, travels the world teaching seminars, and runs a successful health and wellness business that helps people achieve their fitness goals with individualized planning devised in consultation with Nuno himself.

Despite surmounting great challenges to achieve this success, however, Nuno admits that there's another fear he's put off facing until more recently — fatherhood. "It's always been in the back of my mind," Nuno said. As a single man, he found himself quickly steering the conversation towards the topic of children while dating. "I wanted to know, are you interested in having kids?" Nuno laughed. "I don't want to waste my time!"

Nuno Costa, 41, at a baby shower thrown for him by his friends.

Eventually, Nuno realized that he didn't need that "perfect someone" to come along in order to start his family. "I got sick of waiting," he said. Though the prospect of becoming a dad on his own was intimidating, he realized he owed it to himself — and his clients — to move forward. "A big part of what I do as a coach is inspire people to redefine what's possible in their lives," Nuno said. "I have to practice what I preach."

Another fear holding him back was the finances involved with pursuing fatherhood solo. He was interested in surrogacy, but the price tag, which can stretch upwards of $150,000 for many gay men, was daunting. When his mother passed away several years ago, Nuno inherited a house in Portugal, where he is originally from. He used the money to buy a couple of properties in San Diego, California, where he now lives and works. Ultimately, these investments paid off, providing him with the money he'd need to cover a surrogacy journey.

In the summer of 2017, he signed with Surrogacy Alternatives, a local agency based in San Diego, to start the process — and with his baby due on February 15th, he hasn't looked back since. Over the last nine months, Nuno has kept the pregnancy close to his chest, telling only close friends and family. But this past month, he announced his news by way of an Instagram post to his broader community.

"I have always wanted a family and known I would do it some day. In my 20s when I was coming to terms with my sexuality, not knowing whether I could ever have my own 'family' was one of the hardest things for me to accept," he wrote. "Yes I am doing this as a single gay parent, but I know I have tons of support not only here in San Diego but from friends and family all over the world."

With his impending fatherhood, Nuno decided to take the year off from competing in CrossFit this year — one of the few years he will have sat out the Games since they began. He's also taken the time to repair an old injury in his shoulder, a tear in his labrum. Missing out on competition this year will be tough for the athlete, he admits. "I love competing," Nuno said. "It's what fuels me, and gives me purpose."

He said he is not retiring from competitive CrossFit, but whether or not he plans to compete in 2021 is still up in the air. Whether on the competition floor, in business, or as a new dad, however, you can expect to see Nuno chasing down his fears and living life to the fullest.

Nuno Costa Coaching (NCC) on Instagram: “Life as I know it is about to change real soon. I may seem confident here, but the reality is that I’m super nervous yet really excited.…”


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Gay Dad Family Stories

Love, Kids, and a Sixteenth Century French Château

A 400-year-old castle provides a charming backdrop to this modern family's life.

Ready to be enamored and exhausted? Meet Papá, Daddy, and their three lovable boys. This typical family's day-to-day is probably the closest we can get to a literal fairy tale, sans the leather-bound book. Their lives revolve around work, school, Wednesday soccer practices, and maintaining the sixteenth century French château they call home.

Yes, a 400-something-year-old castle is the backdrop to this modern family's life. The husbands acquired the château two years ago, and promptly moved in with their three newly-adopted sons to furnish the countless bedrooms and paint the walls rainbow with their own memories.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

The Inuit Custom Adoption Program Helped These Dads Form Their Family

After learning about the Inuit Custom Adoption Program from family, Keith and Kevin knew it was the way they wanted to become dads.

Keith Willey, 49, and his husband Kevin Kablutsiak, 42, who live in Ottawa, Canada, first met online in 2010. The couple had their first date soon afterwards in a coffee house and, "haven't looked back since," said Keith. They married on May 22nd, 2016.

Keith, who works as a Policy Advisor with the Canadian Federal Government, and Kevin, who works as the Director of Communications with the Canadian National Inuit Organization (ITK), always knew they wanted kids together, and talked about it early on in their relationship. Still, as gay men, they weren't sure that option would ever be available to them.

"I grew up in the UK in the 1970s so I assumed it would be impossible to have children," said Keith. "I always assumed that I would have to lead a life sort of in the shadows and in secret. Attitudes were so different in the 70s to how they are now that I simply believe that we thought it would be impossible to have a child."

The option materialized for the couple, however, when Kevin's sister, pregnant at the time, approached the two men about adopting her baby through the Inuit adoption process. They knew they couldn't pass up the opportunity.

"Kevin is Inuk and adoption, particularly inter-family adoption, is common in Inuit culture," said Keith.

The Inuit Custom Adoption Process was originally used in the small Inuit societies in the arctic, Kevin explained. It's primarily (though not exclusively) intended as a path for adoption within families. The process is legally recognized by the Canadian legal system.

As Kevin went on to explain, Inuit custom adoption was traditional used to support survival within, what were until quite recently, people living a nomadic lifestyle. It is, in essence, a deeply loving and selfless tradition of giving the gift of life to a carefully selected couple, most often with the guidance of elders (usually the matriarch within a family). If a couple couldn't conceive, for instance, others would sometimes offer their help. Similarly, if a couple lost a child, the grieving parents might be given a baby to help ease the ache of their loss. While most Inuit parents have zero intention of custom adopting their children to other families, adoption continues to be an established method in Inuit regions.

Through this process, and with everyone's agreement, the two men legally adopted Kevin's sister and her husband's child from birth. They named her Abbie. "Kevin's sister and her husband came to stay with us in Ottawa prior to the birth so Abbie was in our care from the moment she was born," said Keith. "She got to come home with us the day after the birth with the legal process taking around 11 months to complete from start to finish."


As far as their parenting styles, the couple say they've drawn on each of their pasts. "Both Kevin and I had somewhat difficult childhoods and have spent a lot of time working through and dealing with childhood trauma," Keith said. "As a result, we are better parents and we continue to look after ourselves and each other as we continue to grow in parenthood."

Though the couple come from different cultures, they said they've had no difficulty developing a parenting approach that works for them both. "I don't think either of us raise Abbie in the same parenting style that we experienced," Keith said, "We both talked and agreed on our approach before Abbie was born and we work well together as a parenting couple."

The result is a parenting style that incorporates some elements of both of their backgrounds, Keith said. "Inuit culture tends to shower children in love and we certainly do that," said Kevin. From English-style parenting, the couple have also borrowed the tendency of English parents to be "pretty obsessive," Keith said, about routines, such as scheduling meals, naps and bedtimes.

Though life was good before Abbie joined the family, "now it's fantastic!" Keith said. "I feel like being a parent was what I was put on this earth to be." Because neither man ever expected to become fathers, moreover, both say they look at parenthood as a privilege rather than a right — a helpful perspective they suggest to other gay men considering fatherhood. "Parenthood is an amazing gift," Keith said, "But remember it's about them, not you — and they deserve the best start in life we can give them."

Though fatherhood came to them somewhat unexpectedly, Keith and Kevin say they couldn't be happier with the way things turned out. "When I reflect on our life together, and where we both came from, it is incredible to me that we are now married, content, and parents to our wonderful panik," Keith said, using the Inuktitut word for daughter. "We are totally blessed."


Gay Dad Family Stories

This Family Is 'Flying High' with Acceptance

Dads Kai and Nir, who work as flight service managers, recently spoke to their son's class — in full uniform of course.

Meet Daddy Kai, Daddy Nir, and their two beautiful kids! These loving fathers are flight service managers who live in Israel, but are often busy flying around the world. When they were recently invited to their son's preschool to talk about their careers, they knew they had to come in full uniform and — of course — bring some safety equipment. Daddy Kai shared the experience with us.

"The kids are already used to our son having two dads and a mom. We are the only 'queer' family in his preschool and everybody, parents and children, are really accepting," says Kai. "The children also call us like our sons call us: 'Daddy Kai and Daddy Nir'."

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Politics

Gestational Surrogacy Legalized in New York State

The Child-Parent Security Act, which legalizes commercial surrogacy in New York State, was included in the 2020 New York State Budget signed by Governor Cuomo

Yesterday, a years-long battle about the state of compensated gestational surrogacy came to an end in New York when the Governor signed into a law the Child-Parent Security Act in the 2020 as part of the state budget.

The effort stalled last year after opponents, including several Democrats, successfully argued that the bill didn't go far enough to protect women who serve as surrogates — even though it included a surrogate "bill of rights," the first of its kind in the country, aimed at ensuring protections.

"Millions of New Yorkers need assistance building their families — people struggling with infertility, cancer survivors impacted by treatment, and members of the LGBTQ+ community," the Family Equality Council said in a statement about the victory. "For many, surrogacy is a critically important option. For others, it is the only option. Passage of the Child-Parent Security Act is a massive step forward in providing paths to parenthood for New Yorkers who use reproductive technology, and creates a 'surrogate's bill of rights' that will set a new standard for protecting surrogates nationwide."

Opponents, led by Senator Liz Krueger, had once again attempted to torpedo legalization efforts this year by introducing a second bill that would legalize surrogacy in New York, but also make it the most restrictive state in the country to do so. "A bill that complicates the legal proceedings for the parents and potentially allows them to lose their genetic child is truly unfortunate," said Sam Hyde, President of Circle Surrogacy, referencing to the bill's 8-day waiting period. He also took issue with the bills underlying assumptions about why women decide to serve as a surrogate. The added restrictions imply that "they're entering into these arrangements without full forethought and consideration of the intended parents that they're partnering with," he said.

The bill was sponsored by State Senator Brad Hoylman, an out gay man who became a father via surrogacy, and Assemblymember Amy Paulin, who has been public with her experiences with infertility.

"My husband and I had our two daughters through surrogacy," Holyman told Gay City News. "But we had to travel 3,000 miles away to California in order to do it. As a gay dad, I'm thrilled parents like us and people struggling with infertility will finally have the chance to create their own families through surrogacy here in New York."

"This law will [give intended parents] the opportunity to have a family in New York and not travel around the country, incurring exorbitant costs simply because they want to be parents," Paulin said for her part. It will "bring New York law in line with the needs of modern families."


Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Just Like Dad: Ways My Kids and I Are Alike

Joseph Sadusky recounts the ways he and his adopted sons are cut from the same cloth.

Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of excerpts from Joseph Sadusky's new book, Magic Lessons: Celebratory and Cautionary Tales about Life as a (Single, Gay, Transracially Adoptive) Dad. The book contains many stories about my life as a dad, as well as lessons learned, and we're excited to share several excerpts from the the book over the course of the next few months. Read previous installments here!

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Expert Advice

4 Tips for Single Gay Dads Raising Daughters

Here are some ways to create a safe space for your daughter to discover who she is, with you by her side.

There's nothing quite like father-daughter relationships, and when it comes to single dads, your little girl likely holds a very special place in your heart. From the moment she's born, it's as if you can see every moment of her life in front of you, from her first steps to walking her down the aisle at her wedding. You'll be the first man she'll know and talk to, and you'll be her biggest example of what a loving man looks like. She'll come to you for advice on how to navigate challenges, be independent, treat others and grow into herself.

Your relationship with your daughter may be shaped by your personal history, whether you've been through a difficult divorce or breakup, you've transitioned out of a straight relationship, or you made the courageous decision to pursue surrogacy on your own. Whatever your situation is, studies have shown that children with involved fathers excel more in school and have fewer behavioral issues in adolescence.

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Change the World

After Suffering a Violent Homophobic Attack, This Gay Dad Turned to Advocacy

After Rene suffered a brutal homophobic attack that left him hospitalized, he and his family have turned to advocacy to heal

Guest post written by Rene and Nejc

We are Rene (35) and Nejc (29) and we come from Slovenia, Europe. I was an avid athlete, a Judoist, but now I am an LGBT activist and Nejc is a writer, who published a gay autobiography called Prepovedano. He was also a participant in a reality show in Slovenia (Bar) and he is an LGBT activist too. Nejc and I met by a mere coincidence on Facebook, and already after the first phone call we realized that we are made for each other. Nejc and I have been together as couple almost one year. We think we have been joined by some energy, as we have both experienced a lot of bad things with previous relationships and now we wish to create and shape our common path.

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