Lifestyle & Human Interest

Age 8 Girl Asks Marine Stepdad to Officially Adopt Her in Emotional Video


For many families, relatives are determined not only by blood, but by heartfelt connection. Parents don’t have to be biologically related to their kids to be world-class moms and dads, and many times, stepmoms and stepdads are just called “mom” and “dad” — because that’s what they are.

But at some point, many kids decide they want to make the title official on paper, too. In 2018, one young girl named Alessandra decided that the man who’d stood in as her father for seven years deserved to be her legal father, too.

Angela, Alessandra’s mom, was surprised at her daughter’s request, but Alessandra was insistent. All that was left to do was to figure out how to ask Leonardo Avila that all-important question.

In September of 2018, Alessandra and a few others set the scene at a Shelby County baseball field. The girl stood on home base holding a sign that made her request clear: “Papi, you are my forever home. Will you adopt me?”

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Leonardo was ushered onto the field while he covered his face with a baseball glove, and when he uncovered his eyes and saw his daughter asking him to be her dad, he lost it and started crying on the field.

On Jan. 10, the adoption was made official, and a day later Leonardo posted on Facebook to share their story with the world.

“Before anyone ask, YES this will be a long post…” he posted on Jan. 11. “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 picked up and read, so I focused on just being a great dad.”

“I did my very best to build our foundation on the word of God and, at times, it was very difficult,” he admitted. “I wanted this sweet angel to have a wonderful life, a stable home, food on the table, and God in her heart.”

“I couldn’t tell y’all how many days I prayed and prayed and prayed, just wanting to be her legal father. Yes, me being there for her is the most important thing but I wanted the paperwork to say it. Well…… after more than 7 long years…… I am very proud to say….. she is mine.”

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“Yesterday afternoon, January 10, 2019, I adopted Alessandra!!!!! I can’t tell y’all how ecstatic and emotional I am about this. So many emotions run through my mind trying to image when this day would finally come.”

“Thank the good Lord for such an unbelievable blessing, and one I never thought I deserved. 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.”

“I will do my best to maintain the right image of what a good father is suppose to do, and what a good husband is suppose to be. You have been nothing short of perfect, and I hope and pray that I can live up to your expectations. I love you honey!!!! #ForeverMyGirl.”

Leonardo has given God the glory for this development, making it clear who was ultimately responsible for bringing this family together.

“I’m so thankful,” he told CBS news. “I can’t be any more thankful. I always give the glory to God.”

“In case family and friends missed it!!” the couple posted to their joint Facebook account on Jan. 15. “All the glory be to God for this transition ? All of our prayer have been answered and we couldn’t be happier at this moment. Thank so much to all of you who have supported us through this journey. Your prayers, kind words, and love mean so much to us ???❤️❤️❤️”

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