Single gay man ‘overcome with joy’ after adopting baby with Down’s syndrome who was rejected 20 times
A gay Italian man has written a book detailing his journey to becoming a single parent to a daughter with Down’s Syndrome.
Luca Trapanese adopted his daughter having spent much of his life caring for people with disabilities.
After watching his best friend die of cancer aged 14, Trapanese was left “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 kid with disabilities,” he told the BBC.
At 25, Trapanese decided to become a Catholic priest. But after two years at a seminary, he fell “head over heels in love” with another man.
“Leaving the seminary wasn’t a difficult decision for me,” he said.
“My friends and family were very supportive and they totally understood my choice.”
Luca had planned to adopt with his partner.
Trapanese went on to found a charity with his partner, supporting people living with disabilities.
He became so committed to one of his service-users that he allowed himself to be adopted by the man’s mother, so that when she died he would have somebody he could legally call family.
Often, Trapanese and his partner spoke about adopting a child of their own, and agreed that they would only adopt a child with a disability.
But after 11 years together, they decided to separate. Following the split Trapanese still harboured dreams of becoming a father, but found it difficult under Italy’s discriminatory adoption laws, which only allow single parents to adopt under certain strict circumstances.
“I was told that I’d only be given a child with an illness, a severe disability or with behavioural problems,” he explained.
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“I was absolutely OK with that.”
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In July 2017, Trapanese got the call to say that he had been matched with a 30-day-old baby girl with Down’s syndrome, named Alba. She had been abandoned by her birth mother and rejected by 20 potential families.
“When I first held her in my arms, I was overcome with joy,” he said.
“I felt she was my daughter straight away.”
Now, Trapanese shares his life with Alba on Instagram, where he has 134,000 followers.
He told the BBC that despite being seen as a trailblazer for LGBT+ families, he never set out to be a role model.
“I think mine and Alba’s story shatters so many stereotypes about fatherhood, religion and family. But I didn’t mean it to be that way – this is nothing but our life story.”