A single father has revealed the joy his adopted daughter with Down’s syndrome has brought to his life, after she was rejected by 20 other families.
Luca Trapanese, 41, from Naples, Italy, who adopted his daughter, Alba, when she was just 13-days-old has gained thousands of followers on Instagram from sharing their lives together.
‘When I first held her in my arms, I was overcome with joy. I felt she was my daughter straight away,’ he told Bored Panda about the moment they first met, after Alba’s mother gave her up because she had Down’s syndrome.
Luca claims that as a single gay ma, he was told by social services that he would only be able to adopt a child with special needs or behavioural issues. But having volunteered and worked with people with disabilities since his teens, he was not deterred.
He said: ‘She brought me happiness and a sense of fulfillment. I am proud to be her dad. I wanted her to be my daughter.’
Luca Trapanese, 41, from Italy, has gained thousands of followers across social media from documenting his life with his adopted daughter Alba (pictured together at home with their cat Giorgio)
Luca (pictured with Alba at the beach in July) who has volunteered to help those with disabilities since the age of 14, claims he was told as a single, homosexual man he could only adopt a child with health or behavioral problems
The 41-year-old believes his experience of working with people who have disabilities gave him the right knowledge and experience to adopt Alba, the pair pictured playing together at home earlier this month
The singleton had always wanted to be a father but was aware that social services in Italy don’t usually grant custody to single, homosexual men.
He went through a lengthy process before becoming a proud father who is now challenging the perception of parenting as a single dad.
He continued: ‘Since I was 14 years old, I have volunteered and worked with the disabled so I felt I had the right knowledge and experience to do it.’
Luca spent his teens visiting his best friend Diego in hospital, helping him with his homework as he battled terminal cancer.
‘His parents had to work so most of the time it was just the two of us. I stayed with him all throughout this terribly, sad, painful experience right up until the very end,’ he told the BBC.
Luca adopted Alba (pictured being fed for one of the first times) when she was just 13-days old, she was given up for adoption by her mother because she has Down’s Syndrome
He continued: ‘Diego’s death left me with a profound awareness of what living with an illness meant, that’s why I started volunteering with a church in Naples to help critically ill people and kids with disabilities.’
After training in a Catholic seminary at around the age of 25, Luca fell in love with a man who he spent 11 years dating.
The pair founded their own charity to help people with disabilities and often spoke of adopting their own child.
He said: ‘Unfortunately a few years ago we broke up. I moved into a house by myself and it was really challenging because I still wanted to become a father, but at the time in Italy it wasn’t possible for a single parent to adopt.
‘Then things changed and at the beginning of 2017 I was able to apply for adoption, I was told I would only be given a child with problems.’
He wrote on his application form that he was happy to adopt a child regardless of their health conditions and was paired with Alba in July.
Luca revealed he’s proud to be Alba’s father and adopting her has given him a sense of fulfillment. Pictured: The pair at home together brushing Alba’s teeth before bedtime
Luca spent the first few days with Alba alone, but admits he was frightened to hold a newborn baby before they connected.
‘It was the first time I held a newborn baby. Before that moment, I had always been scared. But, when I first held Alba, I knew I was ready to be her dad,’ he added.
He then organised a party to introduce her to friends, family and those involved with his charity.
‘My two mothers did end up telling me I was holding her the wrong way and even now they keep finding something to criticize me about,’ he said.
‘They’re two amazing grandmothers and they’re very caring, they love looking after Alba and I’m glad they’re both in our lives.’
The 41-year-old revealed Alba has a strong personality and loves being around people.
Alba (pictured on holiday with Luca) was rejected by 20 potential adoptive families because she has Down’s Syndrome
WHAT IS DOWN’S SYNDROME?
Down’s syndrome is a genetic condition that typically causes some degree of learning disability and certain physical characteristics.
- Floppiness at birth
- Eyes that slant down and out
- A small mouth
- A flat back of head
Screening tests can uncover Down’s syndrome during pregnancy but are not completely accurate.
It is caused by an extra chromosome in a baby’s cell due to a genetic change in the sperm or egg.
The risk increases according to the age of the mother.
A 20-year-old woman has around a one in 1,500 chance of having a baby with Down’s syndrome.
Women in their 40s have a one in 100 chance.
There is no evidence women can reduce their risk.
Down’s syndrome does not have a cure.
Treatment focuses on supporting the patient’s development.
People with Down’s syndrome are more at risk of health complications such as heart disorders, hearing problems, thyroid issues and recurrent infections.
Source: NHS Choices
Luca (pictured on a day out with Alba) knew that Alba was his daughter the moment he held her, in July 2017
Luca (pictured with Alba as a baby) revealed that his life now revolves around his daughter and he’s gained a new sense of fulfilment
Luca has used social media (pictured) to raise awareness of the challenges children with disabilities experience in the care system
The 41-year-old has published a book recounting his life with Alba.
Luca now boast over 130,000 followers on Instagram, receiving a flood of praise from those who’ve been inspired by his selfless love.
Recently one wrote: ‘You’re an inspiration to man kind!! Honestly there should be more men like you’
Another said: ‘I love your unconditional love, you are an example of humanity’
A third added: ‘You’re an AMAZING man!! God will bless you for giving this chance to such a beautiful baby girl! #FatherOfTheYear’
The 41-year-old (pictured together at the National Museum of Capodimonte) has gained a legion of followers on social media since he began documenting his life with Alba
A stream of responses on Luca’s recent Instagram posts are from those praising him for adopting Alba and being a good example to other men