See Our HUGE Christmas Surprise for a Single Guy Who Adopted His 3 Young Nephews at Just 21 Years Old

by Rachael Ray Show Staff 3:00 AM, November 27, 2007

Aired November 27, 2007

For many, being 20 years old means living your most carefree life. (Oh, college, how we miss you!)

But Joey DeMocko's path was a little bit different.

Before his 21st birthday, Joey was faced with an enormous decision — whether or not he should adopt his twin sister's three young sons, who, due to unfortunate circumstances, were taken away by social services and scheduled to be placed in foster care.

MORE: Once You Find Out Why This Man Performs on Subway Platforms, Your Heart Will Melt

But Joey knew what it was like to grow up without a father, and he didn't want that for his nephews. So he made the choice to fight for custody — and he won.

"I couldn't see my family ripped apart," he says.

For the past four years, Joey's been both a full-time caregiver and father to his sister's sons, George, Anthony and Chris, who has special needs because he suffers from spina bifida.

But, with the help of three of his best friends — Hector, Nicole and Jill, whom he calls his "guardian angels" — he's been able to make it through.

MORE: 12-Year-Old Throws Birthday Parties for Kids in Homeless Shelter

"Without them," Joey tearfully admits, "I would not be able to have the family that I have now. I don't know where I would be."

Well, when Rachael heard this story, she sent her buddy Valerie Bertinelli (video above!) to spend some time with Joey and his family, and that's when she found out just how tight Joey's budget is — and how hard it could be to give the boys something special for Christmas.

That's when Valerie presented a few surprises for Joey: a $3000 shopping spree to Toys "R" Us and Sears courtesy of American Express gift cards, $1,000 American Express gift cards for Hector, Jill and Nicole, for being so selfless for their friend, and one more AMAZING in-studio gift that literally left Joey speechless!

Watch the reveal -- and Joey’s incredible reaction in the video below!

MORE: A Pint-Sized Chef With a Huge Heart Cooks to Raise Money for a Friend