PLAINFIELD, Ill. -- For many, turning 18 marks a newfound freedom from parents. But for recent high school graduate Lauren Hernandez, 18 will be the year she legally gained another parent.
At her graduation party, the teenager surprised her mother's longtime boyfriend, Joe Iosco, with a heartfelt gift: adoption papers.
"I was only with my biological father every other weekend, but I was with Joe almost every day," Hernandez told ABC News of her relationship with Iosco.
Her mother, Sally Hernandez, has been dating Iosco since her daughter was 1 year old.
"He did things for me and he took me places," Lauren Hernandez added.
"As the years went by, I not only fell in love with Sally, but I fell in love with Lauren as well," Iosco said of the bond the two developed.
Finally, Hernandez decided to make it official.
In a video from her graduation party that has gone viral, the teenager presented Iosco with a gift.
First, a framed poem brings him to tears. But when he discovers an envelope with adoption papers moments later, he struggles to keep it together.
"I'm asking Joe to adopt me," Lauren announces to family and friends in the video. Iosco, overwhelmed with joy, crumples to the ground. Between tears, he manages to get out a "yes."
The happy news prompted guests to begin cheering.
"In the end, she chose me," Iosco told ABC News. "And there's no better gift than that."