PALM HARBOR, Fla. —A Florida Marine surprised his stepdaughter with the birthday gift of a lifetime.
Ashley Yocum recorded the moment on video. Her husband, Drew, gave his stepdaughter, Ariane, a new backpack and told her it was for volleyball.
A few seconds later, Ariane found adoption papers inside.
Ashley and Drew Yocum married in 2010 while Drew was serving in the Marine Corps. Drew has been in his stepdaughter's life since she was 2 years old. Drew served eight years in the Marines before retiring in 2018.
"In my eyes, I don't see her any other way. That's my kid. That's my child, that's my daughter. There's no difference to me except for papers," Yocum said. "I served almost eight years in the Marine Corps and deployed to Afghanistan. The girls have been around supporting me through everything I've done in my career."
The adoption should be finalized in December.
"I got lucky, I guess. He's so good to her and I'm just really lucky and blessed," Ashely said.
The backpack already has Ariane's new last name stitched into it.
"He's always there for me, always believes in me and pushes me," Ariane said.
This story was originally published by Julie Salomone on WFTS in Tampa, Florida.