By Ben Walley
This girl gave her soon-to-be dad the best birthday present he could ever wish for – adoption papers.
Vincent VonTobel has looked after 17-year-old stepdaughter Sarah for almost her entire life, after he met her mum Jessica 15 years ago.
As a sign of their close relationship, Jessica asked him to adopt her for his 39th birthday in February. Medic Jessica, 36, filmed the incredibly touching moment.
At first Vincent, a mechanical engineer from Rensselaer, Indiana, appears confused as he unwraps a pen and is then handed a large box.
He tentatively opens the box and turns the documents over.
As soon as he realises what they are, he bursts into tears as Jessica goes over to cuddle him.
The two then share a beautiful minute-long hug.
Jessica said: “Their relationship has been unique since they met. She grew attached to him quickly.
“They had the cutest things in common, such as foods they liked and games they enjoyed playing.
“He took her fishing for the first time in her life, and bought her her first fishing pole and BB gun.
“He was the only person she had ever known as a father figure.
“Even before Vince and I married, he never introduced her as his step-daughter. He always told everyone ‘this is my little girl, Sarah’ and he was always ‘daddy’ to her.
“After I posted the video I received a lot of messages and responses to the video.
“Some people said it made them cry, while others said it was just so beautiful and everyone was so happy for us.”
According to Jessica, Sarah and Vince had always wanted him to adopt her but they were put off by the cost.
However, Sarah was determined that is should happen before her 18th birthday in July.
She gave him a card with heartfelt thanks for all he had done, and then gave him a pen with his name engraved on it.
Then she gave him the adoption papers.
Jessica said: “He is not a man of many tears, so we were all very surprised when he broke down and cried.
“Sarah, being the sweetheart that she is hugged him and said ‘there is no one else that I would rather have as my dad’.”
The family have now filed the adoption papers and expect the process to be complete in the next month.
“The process has gone very quickly. We used an attorney from our home-town.
“They have helped us with every step of the process and it looks as though things will be finished and we will make it official in court in about one month.
“I knew it was something Vince had always wanted but he has done a lot to make sure he gets everything done on his end as quickly as possible.
“That just shows me how much he really wants this to be completed.”
Sarah has never known her biological father, who left the family when she was born.
Together, Vince and Jessica have another daughter, and the couple also fostered and then adopted a three-year-old son.
She now works to help others with fostering and adoption questions.