When you’re young, time can’t seem to fly by fast enough. There are so many milestones to reach, and the closer you get to adulthood, the more you celebrate each of those milestones.
Eighteen-year-old Lauren Hernandez had everyone over to her house to celebrate her graduation. She had made it through high school and was on to the next stage of her life.
There was one thing she had to do before she moved on, however. She handed a box to her mother’s boyfriend, Joe Iosco, and told him to open it.
The box was stuffed with towels, but then Iosco pulled out a framed piece of paper. It was a poem written by Lauren, from daughter to father.
One of the onlookers told him to read it out loud, to which he replied, “no.” He was clearly emotional and gave Lauren a long hug after finishing.
That wasn’t all that was in the box, however. She told him to dig deeper, and he found an envelope.
Inside were official adoption papers, which would make Lauren his daughter. When he understood what the papers meant, Iosco sank to the ground and put his head in his arms to hide his emotion.
“He was shocked,” Sally Hernandez, Lauren’s mom, told Inside Edition. “This meant the world to him, and it’s almost like his wish had come true.”
Lauren bent down and embraced her father. For this family, it has been a long road to adoption.
Since Lauren’s biological father had visitation rights, adoption was impossible. Now that Lauren is 18, however, she could petition for adoption on her own.
“When you have kids of your own, you automatically love them. He wasn’t there for Lauren’s birth, but he’s loved her the same way he loves our little girls,” Sally Hernandez said.
“He chose to stay. He chose to stick around.”
Although the adoption papers make it official, Iosco has been Lauren’s dad for a long time. He paid for her school tuition and took her on vacations with the family.
“She called him her dad for years and years and years,” Sally said. “To her, he would have always been her dad, no matter what.”
But despite the unofficial status, this father was clearly touched by the prospect of officially becoming Lauren’s father as well.
All the best to this loving family! We hope the bond between Lauren and her dad continues to flourish throughout both their lives.
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