From Single to Grandfather
Here this young man was, sitting in a hospital room with an underaged girl and her newborn baby. Even though he was only 23 years old, he not only just recently became a father, but also now a grandfather! His extraordinary story of how this happened is incomprehensible, and it’s so inspirational that it’ll leave you in tears….
Growing Up In Australia
This amazing story requires some back story. Tommy grew up in Queensland, Australia. Being in such an exotic locale made him an adventurous person and an avid thrill seeker. Still, even with all the daring things he’d done, Tommy couldn’t have been less prepared for the daunting task that was in front of him….
A Hardworking Student
Tommy attended the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. He had a profound interest in business and economics, as well as track and field. But even with an incredible mind and a steady routine, it still wasn’t enough to prepare him for the young girl who would come in and completely dismantle his life.
A Dedicated Athlete
Though he was part of the Track and Field Team of the University of the Sunshine Coast, Tommy also participated in competitions outside of college. He used to focus on running marathons and racing, but now his days are filled with other responsibilities. Sadly, his athletics had to take a back seat…
This is a photograph of Tommy and his buddy, Grimmy, on Halloween. He is usually seen with a huge smile plastered on his face, and he always brings a positive attitude and an air of silliness and fun into any room. As a grandfather, Tommy uses that same spirit to raise his grandson, even though the child was basically dropped on his doorstep.
He Loves To Travel
Tommy used to have a strong desire for travel and adventure. He spent his vacation days traveling to the United States and other parts of the globe. He and his girlfriend, Olivia, recently went to the Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort in Australia for a romantic couple’s weekend. Of course, this young grandfather had to find a babysitter first!
Olivia Tauro, Tommy’s girlfriend, is a decorated runner and athlete as well. On July 23rd he wrote about their past and current relationship on Facebook: “Only a 1 year anniversary today since “officially” dating this girl but we’ve been best mates for the best part of 8 years.” Olivia isn’t the mother or the grandmother of Tommy’s grandson, which confuses many people who don’t know the story…
His Younger Cousin
Always known as being very involved with his family and friends, Tommy had a 17-year-old cousin named Kiarna Chapman who, sadly, he hadn’t seen since early 2004. He thought of her every now and then, and wondered how she was doing. It wasn’t until 2015 when she finally reached out to him.
The Last Time They Spoke
Tommy knew very little about his cousin’s difficult life. She hardly talked to anyone in his family, and the last time she updated her Facebook page was in May of 2011. She lived in Australia as well, but in Southport. He personally hadn’t spoken to her for over ten years.
It turns out, his cousin Kiarna had been sleeping on the streets of Gold Coast, had no shoes, no phone, and was almost illiterate. “She’s spent more time on the streets than anywhere else, and knows the police better than she knows her own family,” Tommy said of her, once he heard her story. She even posted to her Facebook about being expelled from school, bragging and misspelling many words.
A Cry For Help
Kiarna’s parents were not in the picture and her boyfriend was in jail. She reached out to Tommy via a Facebook message in 2015. She was addicted to drugs, and was wandering the streets with less than a backpack full of clothes. “Not many people know her story. It’s very intense. Nobody deserves the life she’s had,” Tommy said. Kiarna didn’t ask him for anything in particular, she just wanted to talk.
Thinking About Her Hardships
“She could write the book on traumatic experiences,” Tommy said of his cousin after they talked about her life on the streets. He felt incredibly sad and guilty, not knowing all of this time what she was going through. He said she had a “traumatic childhood.” He had to do something to help her…
Deciding How To Help Her
He wanted so desperately to help out his family, and to give his cousin a better life. “Life dealt Kiarna a poor hand, and she’s had to play it best she could,” Tommy said. He not only decided to take her in so that she could have a home, he did something absolutely crazy.
He Adopted Her
So what did Tommy do for his cousin? He legally adopted her. That’s right. She was still a minor and under the age of 18. Now he was legally considered her guardian, making him her non biological “father.” His goal was to make sure she “stayed off the streets and lived a better life.” But then he was in the shock of his life when she informed him of something….
He Thought Everything Would Be Fine…
Before long, Kiarna had plenty of clothes, was showing improvements in her reading and writing, and was motivated to go back to school. She seemed to be adjusting quickly to her new life, and was incredibly grateful for Tommy’s sacrifice. He said she was now away from “drugs, violence, and drama,” and he even bought her a kitten, that she named Simba. But just when he thought everything was fine and she was all settled in…
She Was Pregnant
Kiarna revealed to Tommy that she was pregnant, and that the baby’s father (her boyfriend) was in jail. She’d had always been more on the curvier side, so Tommy didn’t notice or assume immediately that she was with child. Tommy was shocked. He had barely gotten used to the idea of taking care of his cousin when this news was sprung on him. “Happy to say she has a new home, as I’ll be taking care of her from now on,” he wrote on this Facebook post of Kiarna’s childhood pictures. But then when the baby arrived….
The Child Was Coming
Just seven days after Kiarna was adopted, she delivered her child. “All I wanted was to give this little man a better life than I had – a second chance was all I wanted,” she said with tears in her eyes. “Since carrying this gorgeous boy, all of my friends kept telling me that he would be taken away from me.” When Tommy decided what to do with her newborn child, it nearly blew her away….
A Grandfather at 23
Tommy posted a picture to his Facebook page with the caption: “Well… I just filmed a birth and cut the umbilical cord!” He was now a grandfather at just 23 years old, without having a wife or any biological children of his own. But this was hardly where things ended for him….
What He Had To Do
“I’ve spent the last few months working, moving houses, having meetings with different departments, signing forms, being assessed and monitored, chasing funds, setting up her bank accounts, buying baby stuff, furniture, going to hospital/doctor appointments, and getting her settled in,” Tommy explained. He now couldn’t go out and get drinks with his buddies anymore. He had a family to provide for. And his cousin’s life drastically started changing…
How He Is Helping Her
Between working and continuing his athletics, Tommy picked up a second job selling farmer’s produce to cover the cost of a new home and the baby’s nursery. “Glad to finally say she’s now living in a safe, stable, awesome house … with a brand new bed, and brand new life,” he said of his cousin. These are some of the improvements she has made on her own…
How She Is Changing Her Life
On Facebook, Kiarna said she was “the luckiest girl in the world” because of Tommy’s hospitality. “Thank you, Tommy, for everything, and for helping me with my spelling,” she said. This photograph was from her Facebook before she reached out to Tommy, in 2011. “She just passed her learners drivers license test … and also booked braces for her teeth next month,” he said of her improvements. She is also learning how to read, write, and educate herself. So what does Tommy think about being a grandfather?
Being A Grandpa
Tommy admitted he had taken on “the father role as you’d imagine,” but added, “my cousin does 90 percent of the work– and if it’s one or two years of my life I have to put on hold to make sure two lives are going to be saved, it’s nothing at all.” Here is what his girlfriend Olivia had to say about the living situation…
His Girlfriend Is Supportive
Olivia Tauro has been in Tommy’s life for ten years, long before she dated him. She understands he is a kind, loving boyfriend and family member, who would do anything to help someone in need. She supports the unusual situation, and helps raise Kaydan as much as she can. In an interview with Daily Mail Australia, Tommy stated that he was aware he’d done a “really good thing” but “felt guilty getting all this attention.” Why would he feel guilty for a good deed?
How He Feels Guilty
“We’ve had all these messages which has made us realize there are so many other people in this situation, I don’t want people to think it’s a unique thing,” Tommy said about the outpour of love, support, and positive feedback he received after his social media post about Kaydan and Kiarna went viral. He feels bad knowing there are so many other troubled teens out there who need help and who aren’t getting it. There were times of struggle supporting Kiarna and Kaydan financially, so…
Tommy’s older brother Liam set up a GoFundMe page with the goal of $50,000 to help Tommy with his finances, in supporting two extra people other than himself. “I set this page up to give Tommy the kick start that he needs and to try and give this little baby boy the life that his mum never had,” he wrote. People responded with huge donations as well as individual messages to Tommy…
His Instagram Post
Tommy wrote on his Instagram recently to inform his followers and supporters about his life with Kiarna and Kaydan: “There’s still a long way to go, but things are on track and she has the opportunity she deserves. When bad things happen, it’s your family that supports you.. It means noone gets left behind or forgotten. I’ve had my family pull my head out of the gutter before… It was time to pay it forward. Family comes first.” His inspiring message got almost 4,000 shares. He ended his story with a birthday post for Kaydan…
His Birthday Message To Kaydan
“They say the best gifts in life come badly wrapped. When he was born, it all started to make sense. I lost some friends and family along the way…They never saw the bigger picture. All I wanted was to keep this boy safe and happy. I’d pick him every day of the week, 365 days of the year. I may not be your real dad, but I’m your family and I’ll always be here for you. I haven’t seen my real dad for over 13 years. I learned that a father is what a father does… And family is what family does. Happy birthday to the happiest boy in Queensland, the best looking boy in the family, the best anti-depressant that money couldn’t buy, and the future world champion in whatever he chooses to do. I love you kid,” he wrote.