For his 60th birthday, Dave Skaggs received a present that moved him to tears: his stepson, Joel Glenn, presented him with adoption papers.

Dave entered Joel’s life when he was just ten years old. The early years were not always pleasant. Joel didn’t behave well with Dave during the first few years. Over the years, though, he grew to love and respect Dave. Joel is now 40 and married to Pamela Skaggs. He and his wife had been discussing the adoption for a while. The couple realized Dave’s birthday would be the perfect occasion. The adoption papers were given alongside a heartfelt card which read,

“You have been my dad, daddy, father, best man, best friend for 30 years now. You came into my life when I needed a dad the most. By your teaching and example, you have taught me what a real man is. By loving my mom, you have taught me how to love my wife. By sacrificing and standing beside me no matter what life threw at us, you showed me how to be a father to my own kids. I have such great memories of you throughout the years of us having fun together, and you always made me be able to make the hard but correct decisions. When I was young I didn’t recognize who you were. Over the years, because of your honesty, integrity, work ethic, and unconditional love, I have come to see you are the man that I respect, and you’re my hero. I love you, Dad.”

Meaningful stepparent adoptions are happening every day. The process can be an emotional one and ties families together in love for a lifetime.