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A Marine who has been a father figure in his stepdaughter’s lives for almost a decade surprised them with a military-style adoption announcement.
Adalynn Baldwin, 15, and sister Lainey, 13, from Jacksonville, North Carolina, first came into Gunnery Sergeant Michael’s life in 2013, when he started dating their mom, Ashley.
They all played significant roles during big moments in their lives – including when Michael was promoted to gunnery sergeant with the girls placing the pin on him, promoting him to the next rank.
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That moment meant a promotion warrant being read out by a fellow Marine – the act Michael then used to theme his adoption request.
He printed a warrant of adoption to present to the girls, who started the adoption process in 2022, and after receiving confirmation the adoption had been finalized, planned a surprise for January 7, 2023.
As the girls approached their house, they were met by a waiting Michael, along with friends and family.
A warrant reading was then given to Adalynn and Lainey, which ended with them opening a box to discover a bracelet with a family tree charm on it: a signifier of the final step in the adoption process.
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The girls also chose to change their surnames to Michael’s, which meant a lot to him and mom Ashley.
Ashley, who runs a design business called LT BARE Designs, said: “My husband was very emotional.
“They had the choice to have their last name changed and they both chose to – I think that meant a lot to him.
“The moment where it really got real was when both the girls looked inside the blue box that he handed them, which had a bracelet with a family tree charm on it.
“That’s when they realized it was actually final – I don’t think there was a dry eye.”
Story via T&T Creative Media