NEW YORK — It was the first time we ever saw Xiu Yan Li smile.
“Really happy, really happy,” she told PIX11 on the stoop of her family home in Gravesend, Brooklyn.
Xiu Yan Li was talking about the birth of her first grandchild, a baby girl named Angelina, delivered by her late son’s widow.
The miracle of modern science allowed it to happen.
On December 20, 2014, her only child — NYPD Officer Wenjian Liu — was assassinated with his partner, Rafael Ramos, in their patrol car.
The two cops were stationed at the corner of Myrtle and Tompkins Avenues.
At the hospital, doctors asked Liu’s widow, Pei Xia Chen — known as Sanny — if she wanted to have her husband’s semen frozen.
She said yes.
This would open the door for artificial insemination at a future date.
Sanny and her 32-year-old husband, Wenjian, had only been married three months, before the murders.
The couple had honeymooned in their native China and lived with Wenjian’s parents on West 6th Street in Gravesend.
Two days after the assassinations, Sanny and Wenjian’s weeping mom and dad had stood outside the house and paid tribute to the slain partners.
“This is a difficult time for both our families,” Sanny sobbed, as Wenjian’s mother and father wiped their tears with tissues. “But we will stand together and get through this together.”
Sanny and Wenjian’s parents were true to their word.
Wenjian Liu had often finished an NYPD shift and then rushed into Manhattan to help his father, Wei Tang Liu, with his duties at a factory job.
Now, Pei Xia Chen wanted to do something for his devastated parents.
The mortgage for the family home was paid off by the Steven Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.
Sanny quietly started the process of trying to conceive a grandchild for the grieving parents — a baby from the man she’d called her “soulmate.”
The NYPD said that Sanny Liu had a dream the night her husband died, after his sperm was frozen.
She saw an image of Wenjian Liu wearing a white robe and handing her a child, a girl.
Angelina Liu came into the world at New York Presbyterian Hospital on Monday, July 24, about 4:30 a.m.
Her name is derived from “angel” — because the family believes Wenjian, her father, is now an angel.
When PIX11 asked Xiu Yan Li who her granddaughter looks like, she quickly replied “Daddy!”— explaining that the newborn girl has eyes like her late dad, and a head that’s shaped like Wenjian’s.
But the proud grandmother added, “The bottom part of the face is Mommy.”