SHELBY COUNTY, Ala (WIAT) — The bond between Leonardo Avila and his daughter Alessandra is stronger than steel.
“It’s always been peanut butter and jelly,” Avila said.
The Avila family said their friends are always surprised to hear that Leonardo and Alessandra are not biologically related.
“He’s been her Dad since she was 7 1/2 to 8 months old, like he knew her then and when we moved to North Carolina he snapped into that daddy role,” Angela Avila, Alessandra’s mom, said.
“The first time I held her and she legitamitely felt comfortable with me, it just came natural,” Leonardo Avila said. “She fell in my arms and it was like she belonged there all along.”
8-year-old Alessandra wanted to make it official, so she asked her mom for approval.
“She was like I want Papi to adopt me and she was really firm so I said ok,” Angela said.
They planned it out on the baseball field and when Leonardo looked at home plate at Veterans Park one night, the most important question was right in front of him.
“It was shocking because it was completely unexpected. I had no idea at the time as I was walking with the glove over my face — I didn’t know what to expect,” Leonardo said.
He answered yes to her proposal without hesitation.
“I could see he was happy and I could see his tears,” Alessandra Avila said.
“We’ve always had this kind of bond, we’re daddy and daughter but its best friends always, i tell her she’s my best friend and she says youre my best friend too,” Leonardo said.
Last week, these two best friends offically became father and daughter by a judge.
“It just feels good but also feels normal,” Alessandra said.
“It’s like a huge sigh of relief. I’m just so thankful and I couldn’t be more thanksful and I always give it to the glory of God,” Leonardo said.