PALM HARBOR, Fla. -- A Pinellas County Marine surprised his stepdaughter with adoption papers hidden inside a backpack.
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 the adoption papers inside.
"I waited until you turned 12 so I love you. You know you're my daughter. I love you with all my heart and if you want to do this then you have to sign," said Drew Yocum in the cell phone video.
"Yeah, I want to sign," responded Ariane before she ran to get a pencil.
Ashley and Drew Yocum married in 2010. Drew has been in his stepdaughter's life since she was 2 years old.
Drew served 8 years in the United States Marine Corps. 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," said Drew Yocum.
"I served almost 8 years in the Marine Corps and deployed to Afghanistan. The girls have been around supporting me through everything I've done in my career," he added.
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," said Ashely.
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," said Ariane.