Luca Trapanese who adopted a Down Syndrome child, as a single dad

Written by Erika Petrie

July 15, 2020

This is a truly heart-warming story…Luca Trapanese a young single man in Naples, Italy, years ago set up his own centre for disabled adults and children, a home from home where people with disabilities abandoned by their own families or in need of respite care can seek refuge, take part in activities with others their age, and just generally feel wanted, cared for and loved.

Then he realised that his desire to be a dad was growing stronger as a result, so he applied to foster a child, knowing that as a single dad he was not allowed to adopt under Italian law. Through fostering in 2017, he came into contact with Alba for the first time, a down syndrome baby who initially spent the Summer with him. Subsequently, he was told that he might be able to apply for a special adoption, on the basis of Alba being considered disabled, if and only if another family wasn’t found. So here came the agonising wait over the next month that followed, waiting to find out if he could apply for this special adoption or not. Eventually, after Alba was rejected by some twenty or so families on the grounds of being ‘different’, Luca was told he would be able to adopt her and so began his life as a dad.

He tells the moving story of how he picked her up from the hospital and how his life literally changed overnight, with a new born baby, who at once became the most important being in his existence. His positive take on this whole story is very interesting because he says that Alba’s real mother must have loved her so much to have been able to make the choice of abandoning her in the hope that another family would be able to offer her a better life than she could. He also goes on to say how grateful he will always be to her because she has given him the greatest gift of a daughter, who is a true bundle of joy.

His take is that Down Syndrome is not an illness, but merely a different way of being and perceiving the world and that the joyous way in which Alba embraces the world around her enables him to see the world through different eyes. Like many who really know what these down syndrome children are capable of, he believes that the world would be a better place if there were more people with an extra chromosome 21! He says that Alba at four years of age is already her own unique little character very sweet and cheerful, but also very determined and headstrong to get her own way!

This remains a truly beautiful story because this man, a single dad has made the choice to adopt a ‘differently able’ child against all odds, with his desire for parenthood and his mentality for inclusion of all children on the basis that they all have something special to offer. His tenacity has rewarded him with the greatest gift and he is thankful to all the families who rejected Alba because in his words ‘they don’t know what they are missing’ and this has allowed him to be truly blessed with Alba at the centre of his life. Is there truly a love story greater than this?

Luca with his new daughter Alba



    This story made me happy, made me cry and angered me. So often you hear of about individuals remaining in the system (or being aborted) for being “different”. Luca is a special human being. As a single parent to a child with Down syndrome, I have always advocated not just for my son, but for Father’s rights and for fathers to “step up” and be present in the lives of their children. Thank you, Luca, for showing us what it means to be a good human being and loving and nurturing parent, regardless of gender.

    • Erika Petrie

      Yes, very true Aurelio. I went through the same emotions considering this story. Thank heavens for people like Luca and single dads like yourself too who are willing to make the difference!


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