Rising above yourself

The writer Fabrizio Trotti was born in Italy and lives now in Finland. He was recognized as a Father of the Year (Vuoden Isä) in November 2020 among two others. This is the first time an adoptive father is nominated. The award is given by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in Finland since year 2006 and the idea is to promote active fatherhood and to acknowledge the importance of fathers.

Kirjoittaja Fabrizio Trotti on Suomessa asuva italialaisisä, joka palkittiin yhtenä Vuoden Isistä 2020. Tämä on ensimmäinen kerta, kun adoptioisyys nousi esiin. Sosiaali- ja terveysministeriö on jakanut tätä palkintoa vuodesta 2006 lähtien ja sen tarkoituksena on edistää aktiivista isyyttä ja nostaa esiin isän roolin merkitystä.
Voit lukea suomenkielisen jutun palkinnosta STM:n tiedotteesta (aukeaa eri välilehdelle)  ja palkittujen isien haastattelun Ylen verkkosivuilta (aukeaa eri välilehdelle).

Since I was a teenager, I always wanted a big family with many kids, perhaps because I do not have siblings. That has not changed. I don’t think I was prepared for fatherhood, perhaps you never can. I see fatherhood now as having to get in touch with your own vulnerability, your fears, and limitations. Being a parent is not so much about raising kids as it is about rising above yourself. The two things go hand in hand, and I certainly had underestimated the latter.

I get support from talking to other fathers and sharing experiences. In this, communities such as Adoptioperheet are extremely valuable. I had a chance to meet other fathers who have adopted, or are adopting. When you start talking about your experience, you find a lot of similarities and right away you feel less alone. I am also part of a small group of Italian fathers in Finland and we try to meet once a month to share a good time.

My family

perhe istuu penkillä, vanhemmat antavat suukon toisilleen, lapset syleissäänMe and my wife Paola have a daughter, a son adopted from India and we are a support family for a lovely 12-year-old girl. I love all three kids immensely, and the way I am father to them is fairly similar.

With our daughter I had the opportunity to care for her from day one, actually even before she was born. Our relationship developed around me being part of her life, in every possible way.

Our son joined our family when he was 20 months old, so there is a part of his life where I was not there, physically and emotionally. This is important, because when we met and we started living as a family, he did not know me, he did not know what type of father I would be, he did not even know what “father” meant. Nowadays, I can perhaps appreciate how much of a shock it was for him, and how much that will impact his life. Anyway, our relationship has developed more slowly. Most of the challenges I had were due to me wanting it to go faster and I could not fully understand how difficult it was (and still is) for him.

Four years ago we met our tukityttö, the girl we act as a support family for. We felt clearly since the very beginning that the time spent with her would be a blessing to our family. She is such an exceptional, creative, strong girl! Our relationship has developed slowly but steadily, as we only spend limited time together, usually every other weekend. I believe it is important for her to know that I will be there for her when she needs it, no matter what.

Role models

I have been joking that my role models as father are fictional characters – Phil Dunphy from tv-show Modern Family and a touch of Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation. I like how Phil is openly vulnerable and caring. Ron is too, even though he adds that thick layer of sarcasm and gravity, that is very much me.

My father surely taught me a lot, particularly in terms of honesty and presence. He was very much involved in my life, he has taken me to football practices for years, he was interested in what I was doing, and he has shown me the importance of constantly learning and developing. These are all learnings I uphold in my parenting.

Seeing your kids being able to do something today they were not able to do yesterday. Seeing them grow and become their own person, different from yourself. It is perfectly amazing. And if there is one thing that I wish to pass on to all of my children, it is kindness. Towards themselves and towards others.


Sharing thoughts and feelings with someone with similar experiences as yours feels good. A peer understands your day-to-day-life and what you are going through. That is why our members see peer support as an important resource. In case you are looking for an English-Speaking community, please check the Adoptive Families in Finland -group on Facebook (link to the group).

Please check our page Ryhmät ja tapaamiset where you can find different groups all around Finland. Information about webinars and other digital services can be found on our page verkkopalvelut. As most of our content is not available in English, do not hesitate to contact our office for assistance.