Daniel Donaldson and his family members left the decision to their teenage foster daughter whether she wanted to be legally adopted or not.
After 524 days passed, the young woman named Alecia planned a birthday surprise to make her decision official, ABC News reported Monday.
Donaldson, a youth sports coach in Haleyville, Alabama, stepped into the role of mentor and friend to the 14-year-old once he coached her in 2019.
When he learned of her foster care experience, their family did not think twice before taking her into their home.
In the months leading up to his birthday, Alecia asked his wife, Tiffany, if they could make it official. When Donaldson’s birthday rolled around, Tiffany, their three kids, and Alecia blindfolded the coach and prepared for the moment while holding signs about the request.
“This man here started out as just my coach, but he stepped up when he didn’t have to,” the first few signs read. “He is now not only my coach, my encourager, my protector, my provider, but now the man I call Daddy.”
“I have been part of this family for 524 days but today for his birthday, I want to ask him if we can make it official. He has no clue that I’m about to ask him to adopt me!” the signs continued.
When Donaldson removed his blindfold and turned around to read Alecia’s “Will you adopt me?” sign, he immediately went over to hug her.
Alecia told ABC News it was a moment she would never forget.
“I will always remember that day and the hug he gave me,” she explained, adding, “When he hugged me I felt so happy and safe.”
YouTube users expressed their joy at the touching scene and one person said, “She officially makes that family complete by being the daughter they didn’t have.”
“Father figures make my heart melt. I’m so happy for her! What a stand up guy!” another commented.