Woman changes last name to honor stepfather who raised her since she was 3 years old

Candace Terry will now be known as Candace Terry Raven.

— -- One woman's gift to her stepfather brought tears to his eyes -- she's changing her last name to honor him.

Candace Terry was raised by her stepfather, Vincent Raven. Terry's mother, Terri Raven, met the ordained preacher at a grocery store in 1997. Three months later, they were engaged to be married after Raven, 46, proposed on Valentine's Day to his now-wife of 20 years at church.

The two had an immediate connection, Terry told ABC News.

"I just clung to him," Terry recalled of when she met him at just 3 years old. "I would sit on his lap and joke and have fun. That’s how he knew that [my mom] Terri was the one. I just kind of lit up his life."

Vincent Raven agreed, telling ABC News, "I love Candace and I know she loves me. She is mine. I’ve raised her since she was 3 and now she’s 24. Blood is thicker than water, but I think love is thicker than anything else."

"My dad has been there and the fact that he didn’t have to do that means a lot," Terry said. "He didn’t have to step in and treat me like his own."

"It was so unexpected because ... I’ve never really pressed the issue to changing her name legally to Raven. I mentioned it to her one time when she was 13 or 14 because I didn’t want her to feel excluded. I wanted her to feel included."

Vincent Raven continued, getting choked up, "For her to think that much of me to have my name -- I’m getting teary-eyed about it now -- it's very touching."