When Steve Fown decided to record a special moment with his stepdaughter — the moment, in fact, when she lost the “step” forever and legally became his daughter — he did so with the idea of preserving for memory a long-awaited moment in both their lives.
He had no idea it would get them on TV.
But on Friday evening, Fown’s short little video will be included on the CBS television series “The Greatest #AtHome Videos,” which shows off various online videos and clips made by local families during the ongoing pandemic.
Hosted by Cedric the Entertainer, the one-hour series will continue to air every Friday through Aug. 14 to “showcase the next generation of viral home videos in the age of social distancing. The specials will celebrate the latest crop of home videos that reflect the creativity, humor and humanity that have emerged from our shared experiences over the past few months.”
Tonight, Fown’s video makes it onto the program, in which Fown recorded the moment when he revealed to his stepdaughter, Bayleigh, that he had at long last been able to formally adopt her.
“This moment meant a lot to Bayleigh and I,” Fown said. “This moment we captured is something we have be waiting and fighting for for a very long time.”
Fown recorded the video back in February after a long process in which he worked hard to surprise his daughter with the reveal, caught on tape.
“The video was the moment that we had given her the finalized adoption papers, that the judge had signed,” Fown said. “She knew it was over and the judge ruled but did not know the ruling. She would ask and we would tell her I’m waiting on the lawyer.”
When the papers finally arrived just days before Valentine’s Day and her birthday shortly after, Fown knew he had to take advantage.
“We received the papers on Feb 11,” Fown said. “I was going to wait until her birthday on the 16th but we had waited so long I couldn’t wait. So on Valentine’s Day I presented her with gifts, like I do the kids every year, and a couple of manila envelopes. One had some pictures and the other had the adoption papers. So recording the video was just to capture that moment she finally got what she had been asking for for years.”
It was an emotional moment for father and daughter and Fown had the idea it would go over well online.
“I had made a TikTok account and we thought it would be cool to share a video of this moment,” Fown said. “I shared it because that moment was the moment when it all became real. All our dreams finally became a reality and every time I watched the video her reaction broke me down and made me happy at the same time.
“It’s a special moment and I wanted to share it with everyone I could. So I made the video and showed it to Bayleigh for approval. She approved so I shared it on every social media account I had and on TikTok it took off.”
Fown was surprised by how much traction the video found online, and how quickly.
“I shared it later at night,” Fown said. “The next morning, about 10 hours later, I woke up and thought I’d look to see how many people viewed our video. It had I think it was around 1.9 million views.”
The video continued to draw attention, and Fown realized he and his daughter had accidentally created a viral sensation.
As it spread, it drew views from all sorts, and that included CBS, which contacted the Fowns about including the short video on their summer program.
Now, the video will air on prime time television, drawing an even bigger audience to this special moment in Steve and Bayleigh’s life.
“We would just like to thank everyone for all the great comments and the support,” Fown said. “It means a lot and we are very grateful and thankful for the opportunity to have this recognition and putting our story out there for even more people to hear about. To know it will be on a TV show on CBS is surreal. I mean it’s just great that our story touched that many people. It’s so amazing.”