An Italian couple who had their daughter taken away when they were deemed unfit to look after her have been fighting to get her back for seven years.
Luigi De Ambrosis, then 70, and his wife Gabriella, then 57, had their 16-month-old daughter taken into foster care after in 2009 after a judge ruled they were incapable of raising her properly.
Gabriella, a librarian, and Luigi, a retired former mayor, had traveled abroad to conceive their daughter through artificial insemination. At the time, they were coined the 'grandparent parents'.
But after neighbours reported the couple for allegedly leaving their little girl alone in the car, the matter was taken to court.
Judges ruled that the couple had been driven by 'a narcissistic need to have a child' and showed 'indifference with regard to the child's perspective', The Telegraph reported.
'They never thought about the fact that their daughter would be orphaned at a very young age, and before that would be forced to care for her elderly parents, just at the time when, as a young adult, she will have most need of their support,' the judges ruled.
The little girl was then adopted by her foster family four years later.
But now, seven years later, the couple have successfully challenged the ruling, only to be told the girl can't be returned to their care because she has built a relationship with her adoptive parents.
'Between the child and the mother there has been no relationship, no contact or shared experience for many years,' a judge wrote in the ruling, according to The Times.
The ruling has caused outrage in Italy, with many questioning why grandparents can look after children, but not elderly parents.
'I have nothing to say — I am not in a physical or mental state to speak,' Mr Deambrosis, now 75, said after the ruling. 'Her room is still ready, this is her house.'