Well I was not planning on ugly crying today, but here we are...
In a heartwarming an affectionate turn of events, a single father in Italy took on the responsibility of fatherhood when he came across a 30-day-old baby girl with down syndrome who had not only been rejected by her own family, but by 20 other foster families as well.
Despite little Alba being rejected by so many other families, it still wasn't easy for 41-year-old Luca Trapanese to adopt her in 2017 due to the fact that he was a single, homosexual man. Both factors put him at the bottom of the list for being able to adopt.
"Alba was never my second choice because she has a condition, I wanted her to be my daughter."
Trapanese, who worked in centers for people with special needs, later said during an interview that his case was noteworthy because it “destroys stereotypes about fatherhood, religion, and family.”
While the idea of caring for a child with special needs is quite daunting to many, Luca opened his heart and home for Alba without a moment's hesitation. He knew just how challenging it was to live with an illness, having become aware of it pretty early on in life when his best friend was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Luca told BBC News, "When I was 14, my best friend Diego discovered he had terminal cancer. When I found out about it, I decided to never leave his side. I went to the hospital with him, I helped him with his homework, and I would just always be there for him when he needed me."
"I am proud to be her dad."
"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 to the very end." He continued, "Even though we were just kids at the time, we were both very aware of the tragic situation. Diego was my best friend and I would do anything to help him. 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."
Volunteering with the church and helping those in need, Luca soon realized that this was what he wanted to do with his life. At the age of 25, he joined a seminary and spent 2 years studying to become a Catholic priest. However, his plan took a major deviation when he met a guy and fell head over heels in love with him. Luca doesn't regret leaving with the seminary as he spent 11 beautiful years with his partner, with whom he even founded his own charity in Naples, working with people with disabilities. They also often spoke about starting a family of their own by adopting a child and were in agreement that they'd only adopt a disabled child.
Luca and his partner split up eventually, but he still held on to the desire to be a father.
"In July 2017, I got a phone call from the Tribunal. They said they had a baby girl for me. Her name was Alba and she was 30 days old. She had Down's Syndrome and she had been abandoned by her biological mother. She had also been rejected by more than 20 families," he recounted.
"I struggled to contain my joy. I immediately said yes. I rushed to the hospital to pick her up. She was in a teeny tiny cradle all by herself. When I first held her in my arms, I was overcome with joy. I felt she was my daughter straight away. It was the first time I held a newborn baby. Before that moment, I have always been scared but when I first held Alba, I knew I was ready to be her dad," Luca said.
He added that Alba completely changed his life and truly taught him what happiness is. "I am proud to be her dad," he concluded, "Alba was never my second choice because she has a condition, I wanted her to be my daughter. Being a single dad is hard but I have friends whose partners work all day and they're struggling as well. I think that being a parent is hard, full stop. I can see a future for myself now. I'll spend the rest of my life with the child I love and we'll do so many amazing things together."