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Nov 14, 2012 6:34 PM by Jenise Fernandez

Military Father Meets Daughter for the First Time

Most fathers are in the delivery room when their child is born, but for military families, that's a luxury they don't always have. After being deployed for eight months, a Kaplan father meets his baby girl for the first time. The family found a creative way to make sure daddy didn't miss a moment.

Andrea Duhon was seven months pregnant when she got the news no military wife wants to hear. Her husband Hank was to deploy in March, Andrea was due a month later.

"We were distraught. We were told he couldn't stay behind," said Andrea.
"It was very disappointing we were angry at first," said Hank.

Not wanting Hank to miss a moment of Jaci's growth, Andrea chronicled every step in a video, rewriting the lyrics to "Call Me Maybe." She took pictures of Jaci, recorded her crawling for the first time, and would put Jaci on the phone so Hank could talk to her.

Hank's navy ship, on a peace-keeping tour, traveling around the world didn't have Skype capabilities, so texting was the only way he could be part of his daughter's birth. It would be seven months on November 4th when they'd meet for the first time. Andrea says Jaci was confused, but once Hank started talking it all clicked.

"She put her arms around me and smiled really big. And the more I talked she kept smiling. It was exciting," said Hank.

Hank no longer has to watch Jaci grow through photos and video.

"Every morning she stands at the edge of her crib waiting for me to pick her up. She's all smiles. She's such a happy baby," he said.

So far, the Youtube video has received more than 9,000 views. The Duhon family currently lives in Virginia Beach. Hank will return to duty later this month, but he'll be able to come home every night and spend time with Jaci.



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