Human Interest

Little girl asks stepdad to adopt her: ‘You are my forever home’


Last fall, Leonardo Avila had a surprise waiting for him on home plate when he pulled into Veteran’s Park one night. His stepdaughter, Alessandra, held up a sign that read, “Papi, you are my forever home. Will you adopt me?” Moved to tears, Avila immediately said yes, and earlier this month, the adoption was made official. The emotional moment was caught on video.

Avila told CBS42 that he has had a bond with Alessandra since she was a baby and he first started dating her mother, Angela. He said, “The first time I held her [Alessandra], she legitimately felt comfortable with me. It came naturally, like she just fell into my arms; it’s like she belonged there all along.”

READ: Empty nesters adopt five siblings: ‘It was important that we kept them together’

After a month of paperwork, the father and daughter now share a last name. Alessandra said, “It feels good, but it also feels normal.”

Avila posted on Facebook the day after the adoption was finalized to share his perspective. He wrote, “A little over 7 years, I was introduced to this lovely little girl. I was so nervous because I wanted prove to so many people, including myself, that I can be a good father. There was no book on ‘How to be a great step dad’ that I could of [sic] picked up and read, so I focused on just being a great dad.”


As he tried to provide for Alessandra and be a father to her, Avila says he longed to have his role legally acknowledged, but did not think it would happen. He continued, “Thank the good Lord for such an unbelievable blessing, and one I never thought I deserved.”

Addressing his daughter, he wrote, “Alessandra, sweetheart, thank you so much for sticking with me and choosing me to be your earthly father. I can’t believe this day has come, but it has. I love you so much and you are my entire world.” He added, “You have been nothing short of perfect, and I hope and pray that I can live up to your expectations.”

The abortion industry has perpetuated a myth that children must be “wanted” in order to be born. The Avilas’ moving adoption story shows that children deserve parents who love them, regardless of whether or not they are biologically related. In this case, Alessandra’s dad had wanted to be legally recognized as her father, but did not think it was possible. It took the determination of an 8-year-old who had the courage to ask him to make this forever family official.

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