CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - To see the power of a father-daughter bond, look no further than Christopher Drake and little Bella. The pair seems to finish each other's sentences as they play with plastic dinosaurs inside Families First Cabarrus County, but the relationship hasn't always been so strong.
Drake's life has drastically changed for the better recently.
"A lot of happiness. I'm anxious about a lot of different things that I'm not used to," he said.
What Drake isn't used to is being Bella's dad 24/7. At the time to the interview, he's only had full custody of her for two weeks.
"We went to court and I guess the judge went through the whole case and you know how court is. Everyone is fighting for one thing, but she just looked back and looked at everything that I've done," he said.
It was a long battle. Drake says he didn't even know Bella existed till her mother, who lived in another state, passed away. He then got a phone call that changed everything.
"I had never seen her. And once I found out, I was there from day one," he said.
But Drake couldn't take her home right away. He'll be the first to admit he has a past, which forced the child into foster care while Drake worked to become a better version of himself.
"There was a lot. Just changing pretty much everything about myself. I had to stop hanging out with everyone I was hanging out with. I had to stop going to the places I was going to," he said.
Andrea King is a "Parent Educator" with Families First that walked him through the process.
"We all have a past. And because he had a past, I think that was a part of the steps taken," she said.
For two years, Drake drove back and forth to Winston Salem to visit Bella in foster care.
"He embraced the services. It was something that he wanted," she said.
Drake says hasn't once missed his old life.
"No. Becuase of my little girl," he said with a smile.
Drake says he's a man who never looked back. But why would you when the reward looks like this?
"It was very rewarding to be there and hear the judge say she's going home with you," King said.
For more information about Families First, visit: https://www.familiesfirstcc.org/.