A 17-year-old hands her stepdad a box; when he realizes what it is, he sobs uncontrollably

Are you a stepparent? What would you do if you’re stepchild did this for you?

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  • Vincent VonTobel has raised Sarah Leonard since she was two-years-old and has treated her like his own daughter.

  • "He has been fantastic to her - he never treated her as a stepchild," Sarah's mom, Jessica VonTobel, told InsideEdition.com. "Then he proposed to me. He said he loved us so much and he wanted to marry me and take care of us forever."

  • After marrying Sarah's mother, Vince became her stepdad, but never adopted her. Fifteen years later, 17-year-old Sarah planned to change that with the contents of a decorated box.

  • It was Vince's 39th birthday. His family gathered around him and filmed him opening his gifts. Sitting next to him in a large armchair, Sarah anxiously held "the big shebang" box.

  • Sarah had given him a new pen with his name engraved on it. Then, she handed him the box.

  • Vince calmly unwrapped it. When he removed the lid, the box was stuffed with white tissue paper.

  • "Yeah, that's all I got you, so..." Sarah joked.

  • Then Vince saw the paper that would change their lives - adoption papers to officially become Sarah's father after all these years.

  • With a slight chuckle, Vince's eyes brimmed with tears and he uncontrollably sobbed with joy.

  • "He is honestly pretty strong both physically and emotionally. I didn't realize until he broke how significant and important it was to him," Jessica said. "It was like everything in our family was complete."

  • Getting up from her seat next to him, Sarah rose to comfort her soon-to-be father.

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  • "I love you so much and there is nobody else that I would want to be my dad except for you," Sarah said in the video.

  • Vince and Sarah shared a long, full embrace as father and daughter

  • Many fathers and mothers wait an excruciatingly long amount of time to adopt their beloved stepchildren or children in general.

  • "I really do hope that it inspires people to become aware of adoption," Jessica said.

  • To see the sweet moment for yourself, check out the video below.


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Kristina Tieken is a staff writer for FamilyShare, public relations specialist with a love for the fine arts, food and exercise. She enjoys watching movies and spending time with her husband and family.

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