One look at Naples, Italy native Luca Trapanese's Instagram will instantly warm even the coldest heart with picture after picture of the joyful single dad and his beautiful daughter Alba, who has Down's Syndrome. This is what a family is.
Trapanese had been wanting to build a family for years, but when he and his partner of over a decade split, that dream seemed farther away than ever. That's when he met Alba.
In 2017 he was called by an adoption agency and told that he had finally been matched with a child, 30-day-old Alba, a baby girl born with Down's Syndrome who had been rejected by 20 other prospective adoptive families. Trapanese fell in love instantly.
"When I first held her in my arms, I was overcome with joy," he told the BBC. "I felt she was my daughter straight away."
Italy has some of the strictest adoption policies in Europe: surrogacy is illegal in the country, earlier this year a court ruled that gay parents cannot be listed as co-parents on birth certificates, and same-sex marriage has not been legalized. Single parents are only allowed to adopt on a case-by-case basis. All of this made the dream of starting a family more daunting for Trapanese, but he refused to give up.
"I was told that I'd only be given a child with an illness, a severe disability, or with behavioural problems," he said. "I was absolutely OK with that."
After his best friend died of cancer at age 14, Trapanese started volunteering at a church helping critically ill people and disabled children. It became a lifelong passion for him after his initial dreams of becoming a priest When he fell in love with another man, that goal of joining the clergy was dashed and Trapanese and his partner founded a charity supporting disabled people.
Now, Trapanese and his daughter Alba are living happy lives that you can follow by checking out his Instagram, where he regularly posts some of the most adorable photos you'll ever see to his over 130,000 followers. We can't wait to see these pictures for years to come.