Today, nearly HALF of all adults have at least one stepparent in their life— but being a stepparent is a challenging task. When a spouse becomes part of an older family unit, they often feel like they don’t belong. It’s hard to feel inclusive when you’re worried about overstepping boundaries. For many stepparents out there, discipline becomes a challenge.
Joe Iosco from Plainfield, Illinois, has been a stepfather for almost 20 years— and, according to his stepdaughter Lauren, he is one of the best.
“Joe has always been there for me and never been mean,” she said.
“He took me to pumpkin patches and even my little cheerleader games.”
“When your kids are born,” Sally, her mother, added, “you automatically love them. He chose to do for her what he does for his biological daughters.”
Lauren said she’s never had a great relationship with her biological father: “I tried to be a part of his life, but it just never worked out. The last time I went to his house was about five or six years ago.”
Because Joe had started dating Sally when Lauren was only one year old, Joe was pretty much the only father Lauren had ever known.
“He’s been there for everything for me,” she explained.
“I’ve wanted nothing more than to be her dad from Day One,” Joe revealed. Over the years, Joe had tried to adopt Lauren numerous times. However, each time he was blocked by her biological father.
“As the years went by, I not only fell in love with Sally, but I fell in love with Lauren as well,” Joe told ABC News.
Wanting to make the relationship official, Lauren inquired whether Joe could adopt her if she was 18. Upon learning the answer, she began planning a surprise.
Lauren would shortly be graduating from high school and she figured her graduation party would be the perfect place to give Joe his surprise. Family and friends would be attending, and she wanted them to be there for the event.