By Luke Kenton
This is the adorable moment a devoted deaf stepdad is surprised with not one, but two adoption requests from his adoring stepdaughter and stepson.
During a family gathering in Salem, Virginia, USA, Hank Blankenship is midway through his dinner, when his wife, Deidre, who is also deaf, asks him to take a seat in the middle of the room.
Turning around suspiciously in his seat, believing his family is about to play a prank on him, Hank, who has been a stepfather to Deidre’s two children, Alexander and Cassidy, for 13 years, has no idea of the surprise about to transpire.
But everything becomes a little clearer when now-15-year old Cassidy reveals a sign with the words, ‘Anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad’, instantly reducing Hank to tears.
Quickly after, Hank and Deidre’s biological children, Savannah and Trey, step forward wearing matching t-shirts, emphasising to their dad, ‘We want a whole brother and sister, not halves,’ raising the suspicions of the 34-year old.
Opening what seems to be his final gift, the signs and signals put forward to the honorary father-of-four all fall into clarity, as Hank is handed a series of adoption papers, outlining Cassidy’s desire to be legally recognised as his daughter.
Deidre, who helped her daughter organise the surprise, said: “Since coming into their lives 13 years ago, Hank has loved both Cassidy and my son, Alex, as his own.
“Not only has he worked so hard to provide for us, he has been relentless in ensuring that they walk the right path, teaching them about respect and trustworthiness.
“The children adore him and were even instrumental in encouraging him to marry me.
“Alex and Cassidy have become estranged from their biological father due to a number of complicated reasons, but with Hank around they never lacked the fatherly figure they’d always wanted.”
The video was shot in November last year, but only recently uploaded to social media.
Just as Hank manages to gather his emotions during a lengthy embrace with Cassidy, it seems the surprises are all but over.
Emerging from the periphery of the frame, 21-year old Alex, who is currently enrolled in the military, also hands beloved Hank an additional set of adoption papers, requesting to adopt him too.
Deidre said: “Hank has been there for both Alex and Cassidy for the majority of their lives; the selflessness he’s show over the last 13 years makes him incredibly deserving of this surprise.
“You can see how much it meant to him, too – Hank almost never cries, but, on this day, he was so emotional.
“It just goes to show, though people may look at deaf people and deem us incapable of doing things that those who can hear can do, they are wrong.
“I know other deaf people who have been denied the ability to adopt because of their hearing complications.
“But the incredible job Hank has done acts as a contradiction to this, proving you don’t have to be able to hear to be an amazing father.
“The only problem was that the legal costs were incredible expensive – around $1500 – and we just don’t have that kind of money.
“Thankfully, Jeremy Baldwin, founder of ‘Spreading Hope For Humanity,’ stumbled across our GoFundMe page and incredibly generously donated $1000.
“We couldn’t have done it without him.
“We now feel so close as a family and are so excited for our future together.”
Cassidy and Alex were legally confirmed as Hank’s children on March 4th, 2017.
To learn more about the work that Spreading Hope for Humanity do, please visit HERE.