Heroes come in all shapes and sizes as shown by this single dad who, in a truly heartwarming tale of love and affection, decided to adopt and care for a little girl with Down syndrome after multiple families rejected her.
There are countless children in orphanages and foster care around the world, waiting to find their final homes. Unfortunately, there are not enough people interested in adopting to take all the children in the system.
All too often, children will not only remain in foster care until they age out, they are also left to navigate the adult world without any family at their side. This looked like the case for a little girl named Alba, who was born with Down syndrome and rejected by her birth mother and over 20 foster families. 
Not all heroes wear capes
Little Alba’s fortunes changed dramatically in 2017 when Luca Trapanese, a man in Italy, took on the responsibility of becoming her father when she was only 13 days old. At this time, she had already been abandoned by her biological mother and passed up by other potential families who wanted nothing to do with her problems.
However, the heartwarming story of Trapanese’s journey to adopting baby Alba has gone viral and captivated the hearts of thousands across the internet for several reasons. The most controversial one was that social services initially refused to grant Trapanese custody because he was a single, homosexual man.
Unfortunately, the process of adopting children in Italy is very complicated for single parents and homosexuals. Eventually, they caved into his requests and decided to make an exception in his case. Trapanese explained that his case was noteworthy during a radio interview because it “destroys stereotypes about fatherhood, religion, and family.” 
Trapanese, who had worked in several care centers for people with special needs, had always wanted to become a father. This was why he decided to push forward with the adoption of Alba, despite not having a partner.
The 41-year-old published a book in which he recounts his journey to becoming Alba’s adoptive father. According to the BBC, Alba is a determined young child who can be stubborn on occasion. She loves to play and dance, and enjoys the company of other people. 
Caring for a child with Down syndrome
One of the significant reasons why Alba was passed up by so many families was because she was born with Down syndrome. This genetic condition occurs as a result of abnormal cell division during conception that results in an extra chromosome 21.
This condition affects a person’s physical growth, cognitive ability, and may cause a range of developmental issues as they grow older. Children born with Down syndrome also have a higher risk of developing some health problems. 
Parenting a child with Down syndrome can be difficult, but it helps to know how you can support your child during their most difficult times and also take care of yourself. Here are a few ideas:
- Build a support network.
You don’t have to do it all alone since you can solicit help from your friends and family to take part in caregiving. This can give you some time for yourself away from caregiving to read a book, walk, hang with friends, or just take a much-needed break for a while.
- Talk about your challenges with others.
Most of the time, people in your support group want to help you out, but don’t always know how. You can try making simple requests that can give them ideas of what they can do. For instance, you can ask a friend to help make a healthy dinner and help with other chores.
- Keep a list of things you need.
Keeping a list of things you need to be done will help you easily delegate duties. So, next time someone says, “just let me know how I can help,” you’ll be ready.
- Find time for friends.
Although yourchild may take up some of your time, it is essential to keep some time aside for yourself. Even if this is just a few moments of hanging with friends after the kids go to bed, it can help you decompress and recharge after a long week. 
- Go easy on yourself.
Everyone needs a break, and that includes you. You can consider seeing a therapist who can help you work through your feelings and give you tools to manage your daily stressors.
- Take care of your health.
You can only take care of a child with Down syndrome if you are okay yourself. Remember to eat well and exercise regularly, even when you don’t feel like it.
- “Single Dad Adopts Girl With Down Syndrome Who Was Denied By Twenty Families“, A Post.
- “This Single Dad Adopted A Little Girl with Down Syndrome Who Was Rejected by Her Mom and 20 Adoptive Families“, Inner Strenght.
- “Single dad adopts girl with Down syndrome rejected by 20 families“, Newsner. September 2019.
- “What to know about Down syndrome“, Medical News Today. December 2017.
- “Parenting a Child With Down Syndrome“, WebMD.