"This is the big deal box," 17-year-old Farah Leanord said in an emotional video posted to YouTube Monday. "This is the big shebang."
She then handed the "big deal box" to her stepdad, Vince VonTobel, who was opening birthday presents in the chair next to her. Seconds after he made it through her wrapping, glitter, and tissue paper, it became clear why this present was such a big deal.
VonTobel opened the adoption papers that had been hiding in the wrapping, took one look, and burst into tears.
Leanord got up from her seat to give VonTobel a hug. "I love you so much and there's nobody else that I'd want to be my dad except for you," she said in the video.
VonTobel has been in a relationship with Leanord's mom for 15 years, since Leanord was two, according to the description on the YouTube video.
"I've always thought of you as my dad, not my stepdad," Leanord said in the video.
Leanord had the idea to ask VonTobel to adopt her a few weeks before his birthday, her mom told Caters News Agency, who posted the video. She knew it was something VonTobel wanted, too, but was not prepared for his reaction.
"He is honestly pretty strong both physically and emotionally," Leanord's mom, Jessica, told Inside Edition. "I didn’t realize until he broke how significant and important it was to him. It was like everything in our family was complete."
VonTobel and Leanord certainly didn't need legal papers to feel like a true father and daughter pair — they clearly already considered each other family — but officially adopting Leanord means that VonTobel is officially agrees to be fully responsible for her. Even if it changes nothing about how their family functions, the adoption is an amazing gesture.
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