A heartwarming surprise left a Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, man in tears, as the young woman he helped to raise since the age of five presented him with adoption papers for Christmas.
Makayla Dabney’s stepdad received a one-of-a-kind Christmas present this year. It was delivered in an envelope, inside a box, inside a box, inside a box, inside a box, inside a box, inside a box. As he picked his way through the packaging, he found candy and pocket change.
“You’re sweet as the candy you can’t have,” Dabney grinned. The only hint she gave him was that the gift was “very expensive — but totally worth it!” On his way into the layers of wrapping, surrounded by the boisterous hum of excited children, Dabney reminded him of paternal memories, asking him who she wanted when she was sick. “This guy,” her stepdad responded, pointing at himself.
Dabney will join the roughly 135,000 children adopted into American families every year from amongst the nearly half-million waiting to find a home. While there are no official statistics, experts estimate that as many as 36 couples are waiting to adopt for every individual child put up for adoption.
The difficulty of doing so has created an unfortunate barrier that strands children in the system for years at a time. Tens of thousands of young men and women “age out” of the system each year, becoming adults without ever finding parents.
Tears welled in Makayla’s “new” father’s eyes as he realized what was contained within the envelope. Makayla had even changed her surname to his own. Once both of them were crying, a smiling Makayla looked toward her mom, holding the camera and recording the event: “You can stop now.” But it looks like, for this family, a new chapter is just getting started.
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