What Matters
Source: What Matters

Boy Whose Father Was Killed Approaches Stepdad and Asks: 'Will You Be My Dad Forever?'

Ayesha Muhammad
Apr 01, 2022
01:00 P.M.
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After losing his father and father figure early on in life, a boy was devastated and yearned to have a dad who would love and care for him forever. One day, the youngster's dreams came true when a kind stranger walked into his life.


Growing up in a stable environment with loving parents is every child's dream. Sadly, many kids spend their childhood devoid of parental love or reeling from the loss of one of their parents.

Healing from such a heartwrenching loss is easier said than done, and tragically enough, a young boy experienced something similar in life. Please keep reading to discover how he picked himself up and a parent figure who changed his perspective toward life. 

[Left] Connor holds the sign, "I will always have my father in heaven. Will you be my dad forever?" ; [Right] Connor shares an emotional hug with his stepdad, Jonathan. | Source: What Matters



It was 2007, and Anna Snyder was a high school senior when she discovered that she was pregnant. For four years, she had been dating her high school sweetheart, Justin Rye, but was still scared and didn't know what to do. 

Despite her pregnancy, she graduated high school and welcomed her son, Wilson Connor Rye, on October 15, 2007. Anna and Justin's lives changed entirely after becoming parents.



Shortly afterward, they got engaged and bought a house together. The teen parents began calling their adorable son "Connor," for short, and gradually settled down into their new life. But their picture-perfect story met with a tragic end when, on August 10, 2008, Justin was shot and killed at a party. 

Like Connor, another young boy, Tyler, planned the perfect surprise to ask his stepdad, Don Gause, to adopt him in 2017.

Anna and Connor's lives drastically changed after losing Justin. The Prattville, Alabama, resident later learned that Justin lost his life while standing up for a friend who was being bullied at the party. 



The boy that shot Justin was imprisoned for 21 years, but nothing could ever make up for the unbearable loss that Anna and her son suffered. She was left as a single mother to fend for herself and Connor. Anna recalled: 

"I questioned God, I yelled in anger, ‘Why me?’ I was angry with the boy who killed him, and I laid at night crying myself to sleep. However, my amazing family and friends picked up my broken heart and helped put it back together."



Anna was fortunate to have a supportive family, and her father, Jimmy, quickly stepped up and became a father figure to her son. Connor was too young to fathom what happened to his father, and Anna worried for her sweet boy. 

She knew that her son would ask questions about his dad when he was older. But seeing Connor bond with his grandfather relieved Anna until one fateful day, three years later, an unspeakable tragedy struck their world.



On January 3, 2011, Connor's grandfather, who he lovingly called "Pawpaw," had a tree stand accident. He fell out of a 20-foot tree stand, suffered a neck injury, and died. This time, Connor and Anna were both left without a father.

However, Connor was far more impacted by the loss than his mother because he looked up to his grandfather and had lost a best friend. Life went by, and Anna became much more concerned for her son.



In February 2012, she met a man, Jonathan. The two began dating, and Anna instantly developed feelings for him. After a long time, she finally felt happy and loved, but what pleased her the most was how Jonathan bonded with Connor. 

The duo became best buddies, and unlike men from her past, Jonathan said he would never replace Justin, but instead, he would try to be a good father. 



Anna knew from the beginning that Jonathan would be her husband one day. Her dream came true when she and Jonathan tied the knot on August 12, 2012, at an intimate church ceremony.

Four years ago, in August, Anna lost the love of her life, and four years later, she found a renewed chance at life. In January 2019, Connor walked up to her with a special request — he wished to ask Jonathan to adopt him and be his "forever dad." 



Anna became emotional and asked Connor why he wanted to do that, to which he replied, "To make it official." Connor then told his mom he wished to surprise Jonathan. The doting mom had seen Jonathan step up and embrace Connor as his son. She recounted: 

"This man has helped kiss every wound, dried every tear, and is always cheering him on. I am forever grateful for this selfless and amazing man for treating Connor as his own."



On March 6, 2019, Anna and Connor took Jonathan to their barn to click some family pictures. After taking a few photographs, Connor disappeared as a part of the plan where Jonathan's family joined him. 

After a while, Anna asked Jonathan to close his eyes and follow Connor. Once he opened his eyes, he saw a huge sign that read: "I will always have my father in heaven. Will you be my dad forever?" 



Jonathan broke down, turned to Connor, and asked, "Son, did you want to do this?" "Yes. Will you be my dad forever?" responded Connor. "Of course, son. I already am," replied Jonathan and wrapped his arms around Connor. 

There was no dry eye in the house as the father and son embraced each other. Anna and Jonathan adopted three more children, Robert, Brenden, and Clara-Maire, and became a beautiful blended family. We're glad that Connor finally found a father figure in Jonathan.



Like Connor, Tyler, another young boy, planned the perfect surprise to ask his stepdad, Don Gause, to adopt him in 2017. Tyler, 11, prepared an emotional speech for the momentous occasion. His biological mom, Marcia Gause, shared:

"Tyler was one and a half when Don came into his life, they have always had the relationship of father and son. He is very wise for such a young person and has said before that God sent him the Daddy that was really meant for him."

Marcia and Tyler planned the surprise like a baby shower and placed an "it's a boy" bag in front of Don. The 47-year-old man had no idea what was happening until Tyler began reading his speech, after which he had an emotional breakdown. 



The duo hugged and cried tears of joy, after which Don told Tyler that he was ready to be his forever dad. What do you think about these incredibly heart-touching adoption stories? Please share them with your family and friend. 

Here's another story that you might like, and it's about a stepdaughter interrupting a wedding ceremony with a letter for her stepdad, asking him to adopt her. Click here to read the whole story. 


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