It took 19 months but Josh Gordon has FINALLY acknowledged in court that he IS the father of a little girl named Emma ... and he seems to be making an effort to be a part of her life.
Gordon has been involved in a paternity case with Christina Lockhart since last year -- a Cleveland area woman who's reportedly on welfare and had been seeking child support from Gordon.
Lockhart got a DNA test back in September that showed the troubled NFL star is the dad ... but Gordon finally acknowledged it in court on Wednesday.
The good news ... Gordon says he wants to be involved in Emma's life and has been granted "reasonable parenting time with the child as agreed upon by the parties."
A hearing has been called for April -- when the two sides are could begin hashing out a child support agreement.
Gordon's had a rough year -- his NFL comeback stalled when he entered rehab again in October.
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