On his wedding day, a besotted groom from Detroit, Michigan, delivered vows to not one but three special ladies in his life. Moments before tying the knot, he turned to his bride’s two young daughters, whom he has known for years, and surprised them with a life-changing question: “Can I adopt you?”
Dontez Williams, 33, married 26-year-old Myshella Burton on Aug. 13. The newlywed told The Epoch Times that his wife’s girls—Abigail, 9, and Natalie, 8—knew he was “the one” for their mom even before she did, upon meeting him seven years ago.
His plan to propose adoption was only finalized the day before the wedding.
“We did rehearsal the day before,” Dontez explained. “I pulled our officiant to the side and I told her, ‘Hey, I want to write some vows for my daughters. And she said, ‘Does anybody know about this?'”
It’s a surprise, Dontez replied.
Having written vows for his Detroit-native wife in advance, Dontez, who was originally from Cleveland wrote his proposal to the girls on the morning of the wedding day. At the altar, Abigail and Natalie were stunned when their stepdad flipped the script.
“They were looking like, ‘We didn’t rehearse this, what’s going on?'” Dontez recalled. “My wife, she didn’t know what was going on. … Everybody was emotional, crying, and it was a lot of love in the room.”
In footage of the moving moment shared on Instagram—as parts one and two—Abigail and Natalie are seen visibly emotional as Dontez works through tears to make his speech. “Although they are not biologically mine, blood could not make us any closer,” he captioned the touching post.
In an excerpt from Dontez’s adoption proposal, he addresses the girls:
“When I first came into your lives the very first day, you both enjoyed my company so much that you told me you loved me. From that moment, I felt I was destined to be there for you both. … You both help me become a better version of me. I know you both look at me as a father figure, and you both call me Dad, but I want to make it official and ask: Can I adopt you?”
The girls’ emotional response, said Dontez, brought the trio closer. The soon-to-be legal father is grateful that his videos have touched people’s hearts and received such positivity.
A mental health case manager at Starfish Family Services for kids aged 6 to 18, Dontez met Myshella, who works in obstetrics at a birthing center, on the dating website Plenty of Fish and went on their first date in 2015. They got engaged in 2018 when Dontez set up his “perfect” proposal with the help of friends at Detroit’s Metro Beach, with rose petals, candles, and a romantic dinner.
However, before asking Myshella to marry him, Dontez asked the girls’ permission. “They were happy; they said yes,” he told The Epoch Times.
Dontez also revealed that the kids were really excited about the wedding and began counting days to it.
Dontez says he was raised by his mother yet his father was present in his life, so he raised him too. With 13 brothers and sisters on his father’s side, Dontez also grew up with an uncle and cousins around the same age and thinks of himself as always having been family-oriented.
As for the girls, Dontez says Abigail was smitten with him from the get-go, her eyes “lighting up” at their second meeting on her second birthday. Meanwhile, Natalie was more standoffish. “But once Natalie did get close to me, she became more of a Daddy’s girl,” Dontez reflected. “She became the one that wrapped me around her finger.”
Over the years, Dontez has built a strong bond with the girls. With their biological father out of the picture since 2015, Abigail and Natalie started calling Dontez “Dad,” and the loving Dontez adopted his role with gusto.
Owing to their differences, Dontez has learned how to parent his soon-to-be daughters differently but concedes that he can be a soft touch. The girls will share more feminine concerns with their mom, while he’s the one who fields the gift requests.
“They’re always asking me,” he joked. “But I do feel like I want to be protective. … If someone’s messing with them, they come to me.”
In the months and weeks leading up to the wedding, Myshella started sharing videos with her fiancé of children asking their stepparents to adopt them, unknowingly lending support to his secret plan. But as Abigail and Natalie were younger, Dontez was determined that he would be the one to do the asking.
When the girls said yes, their family was truly complete. “I felt like it was destiny,” he said.
Watch the touching video:
(Courtesy of Dontez Williams)