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Bride and Groom Stand at the Altar - Then He Asks Her to Step Aside for Someone Else
Groom Gives Stepdaughter a Ring at His Wedding and Promises to Love Her
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Bride and Groom Stand at the Altar - Then He Asks Her to Step Aside for Someone Else

Families come in all different forms.

Family doesn’t always have to mean a blood relationship.

So often in life, it’s our chosen family that stands by us when things get really hard. That chosen family can be friends, an adopted relative, or, like in the case of this heartwarming story, a stepparent.

A Chance Encounter

two silver rings

In 2007, a woman named Janna gave birth to a little girl named Jayda. She raised her as a single mom, and the pair were a team, reports Little Things. Then one day, while Janna was shoveling snow in her driveway following a storm, a man named Clifton pulled up. He asked her if she wanted some help, and the pair hit it off immediately.

Not only did Clifton and Janna become close, but Clifton also fell in love with Jayda. Fast forward to 2013, and on Christmas Eve, Jayda asked if she could start calling Clifton “Daddy.” Shortly after that sweet moment, Clifton worked up the courage to propose to Janna.

“It takes a great man to love a child that is not biologically his the way he does,” Janna said.

Sadly, three years later, Jayda’s biological father passed away of natural causes. It was a hard time for the family, so they decided to take a trip to Clearwater, Florida, to relax and reconnect. There, Clifton spent a whole day with his soon-to-be stepdaughter and even took her to a jewelry store.

“The sand and ocean water tend to take all worries and pain away,” Janna explained.

The Wedding Day Arrives

By the time this family was ready to make it official with vows and a big party, they had already experienced years of bonding and love. Still, Janna was shocked as she and Clifton stood at the altar and he asked her to step aside. Then, Clifton did the unexpected and asked Jayda to come forward.

“My heart dropped!” Janna recalled. “The only people he told about this were the best man, the pastor, the DJ, and the photographer. It was at that point that I realized this wonderful man is 10 times the man I thought he was.”

It turned out Clifton had vows he wanted to share with his daughter, too. He spoke heartfelt words of love and commitment, and everyone teared up. Then, just as Jayda turned to leave, Clifton stopped her and asked his best man for a ring. He then presented Jayda with a 14-karat white gold diamond ring — one he’d procured at the jewelry store in Florida.

“He was more nervous over the vows to her than he was to me,” Janna added. “He always knew that I was a package deal, and Jayda was always my number one. Now, she is both of our number ones, and I couldn't be happier to say that.”

Family Is What You Make It

For those of us who grew up without a traditional family or who have had hard times with the one we had, it can be easy to think about “regular” experiences or relationships that we feel as though we may have missed out on. However, this story and others like it remind us that at the end of the day, family is what we make it.

There are all kinds of reasons to end a relationship with a blood relation, and many people out there have lost family members or grew up without a traditional family unit. That’s why it’s important for everyone to create their own family situation that works for them.

Whether that means embracing friendships that have become so familiar they feel like family, accepting a new family member into your life through adoption or marriage, or some other chosen family, these bonds are the relationships we cherish most in life. So why not appreciate and celebrate them while we can?

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