When Stephen Hart visits his mom and dad, the words mean a little more, and so do the embraces because it's all new. They only met last week.
"I never expected anyone to call me dad, but he has," Steven Dattilio said.
He never expected it because he never knew he had a child. Stephen Hart was adopted when he was two weeks old. Stephen always wanted to know his birth father, but was scared to offend his adoptive family and didn't know if his birth dad would accept him. He found out his dad's name was Steven Dattilio, but never tried to contact him.
"I had a big hole, there was a huge hole," Stephen said.
That hole was filled after what they call a miracle. On 12-12-12, both Steves had doctors' appointments in the same office. When the nurse came out and called "Steve" they both stood up.
"They said Dattilio and my mind exploded," Stephen said.
Stephen watched his father walk by him. His fiancée, Tammy Davis, knew she had to do something.
"I said to my Steve, you go on without me. I'm not letting these people leave here," Tammy said.
Steven Dattilio: She said your son is inside the building.
Reporter Gina Bullard: What did you think?
Steven Dattilio: I thought she was nuts.
Steven waited in that doctor's office to meet his son-- a moment 43 years in the making.
"I could tell right away who he was," Steven said.
"It was like I won the lottery," Stephen said. "It really was."
When we caught up with them Wednesday at Steven's house in South Burlington, it was just the fourth time the families had met, but Steven and Stephen have quickly bonded, finding they have a lot in common. They're both quiet, they both enjoy football and hunting, and they have similar mannerisms.
Steven and his wife Lou Rhea are now mom and dad.
"It's right. It's just right," Lou Rhea said. "It feels like it's supposed to be this way."
The couple never had kids and didn't realize how much they were missing, even keeping the envelopes from their Christmas gifts.
Gina Bullard: Does this mean more than the gifts?
Lou Rhea Dattilio: Yes. I don't even know what they gave, that's just the best.
Gina Bullard: Is this a good Christmas present?
Stephen Hart: The best I've ever had.
Realizing the best gifts can't be found under any tree.
Stephen Hart is so moved by meeting his father, he's changing his name. He will now also be known as Stephen Dattilio.
Friday, May 24 2013 11:30 PM EDT2013-05-25 03:30:10 GMT
A hole in the road closed one of the routes into Canada Friday.State Police say Route 5 in Derby Line is closed near Caswell Avenue because of a hole in the pavement just a couple of feet over the lineMore >>
A hole in the road closed one of the routes into Canada Friday.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:17 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:17:06 GMT
It was a storm that left residents with more damage than they could have ever imagined. "The basement has about 13 inches of water," said Bob Genter of Underhill. And preparing for the aftermath of theMore >>
Flash floods left destruction across the region. And the rain is not over. Heavy downpours left some people trapped in their neighborhoods as emergency crews work to try to clear the roads.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:54 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:54:18 GMT
Vermont State Police say the following roads have been closed due to flooding:UNDERHILL: VERMONT ROUTE 15, CILLEYHILL POKER HILL ROAD NORTH UNDERHILL STATION ROAD PAIGE ROAD DAUDLIN ROAD BROWNS TRACE,More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:20 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:20:50 GMT
As the cleanup gets underway from Thursday night's flash flooding, the focus shifts now to the broader impacts of rising rivers from around the region. All the rain so far and more to come is running intoMore >>
All the rain is running into larger streams and rivers that are moving rapidly toward flood stage.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 12:44 PM EDT2013-05-24 16:44:50 GMT
Heavy rains have caused more flooding problems around our region, and the situation could get worse as the rain continues to fall over the holiday weekend. So far, the impact has mainly been seen in roadMore >>
Heavy rains have caused more flooding problems around our region, and the situation could get worse as the rain continues to fall over the holiday weekend.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 9:51 AM EDT2013-05-24 13:51:55 GMT
Over the river and throught the woods isn't just the way to grandma's house, its the way a lot of people are having to travel just to make it to their front door. Dormant brooks and sleepy streams turnedMore >>
Strong rains Thursday flooded roads in Essex.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:25 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:25:14 GMT
A rainy Vermont City Marathon forecast isn't slowing down runners or organizers. "Well, we're going to make some liquid sunshine out of all of this rain. That's the only choice we've got right now," saidMore >>
The countdown is on to this weekend's Vermont City Marathon and final preps are underway. Those finishing touches are coming in the rain, but organizers say the weather isn't slowing things down.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:35 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:35:15 GMT
The bad weather has forced the postponement of the annual Memorial Day parade in Essex. The parade is held annually on the Saturday morning of the holiday weekend. But after all the rain and flooding damageMore >>
The bad weather has forced the postponement of the annual Memorial Day parade in Essex.More >>