BROOKLYN — The fight took several years, but Pei Xia Liu is thankful her 4-year-old daughter, Angelina–born in 2017 by in vitro fertilization–has formally been named as the biological child of slain NYPD Detective, Wenjian Liu.
“The legacy of my late husband Detective Wenjian Liu has been recognized,” the widow told PIX11 News on the steps of her Brooklyn home on Monday.
Over the weekend, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a law that looked at the special circumstances of Angelina’s birth.
“The case of Angelina and Wenjian Liu is an extraordinary one for which special considerations are necessary,” Hochul said in a statement. “I am proud to ensure that Angelina Liu receives the benefits she is entitled to.”
Several years ago, Liu’s widow launched an appeal to have her daughter afforded the same benefits available to children of other officers slain in the line of duty, but it wasn’t easy. She tried to get survivor benefits from Social Security, but she was rejected twice with the same argument.
“Angellina Liu is not entitled to child’s benefits because the facts we have do not show that she meets the definition of child under state or federal law,” the Social Security Administration wrote to the widow.
The mother took her case to local politicians, including state senator Andrew Gounardes, who noted “In this case, New York State law is just woefully out of date.”
When Wenjian Liu and his police partner, Rafael Ramos, were assassinated in their patrol car on December 20th, 2014, doctors at Woodhull Hospital asked Liu’s widow if she wanted them to harvest her husband’s sperm and freeze it, so she could later have the option to have his baby. Pei Xia Liu, who had only married Wenjian three months before, immediately said yes.
Liu, at age 33, was the first Chinese-born police officer killed in the line of duty. He was the only child of his parents, who lived with him and his bride in Brooklyn.
After a painful round of fertility treatments, in vitro fertilization worked for Pei Xia Liu the first time–and she became pregnant in late 2016.
Angelina Liu was born on July 25, 2017.
The baby’s arrival brought joy to Pei Xia Liu and also Wenjian Liu’s parents, who doted on their only grandchild.
Angelina Liu started pre-K in September at a local Catholic school, and she smiled as she told her mother she’s made five friends.
Her playroom was deliberately placed in the memorial den where her father’s tributes are kept. Mother and daughter start their mornings there every day, and Angelina pointed out her father’s picture, mounted to a plaque on the wall, next to a photo of his partner, Rafael Ramos.
Pei Xia Liu is grateful for all the support she’s received from the police unions and local politicians during her fight.
“No words can express my deepest and most heartfelt thanks to DEA President Paul DiGiacomo and attorney Sean Patrick Riordan of the Detectives Endowment Association, who advocated for this historic legislation,” Pei Xia Liu wrote in a follow-up statement to PIX11 News. “I am especially thankful to Senator Gounardes and Senator Abbate for tirelessly advancing and passing this truly ground-breaking law. And I thank our Governor, Kathy Hochul, for signing this history-making law.”
As the mother snuggled on the front stoop with her daughter, she repeated her gratitude for having Angelina.
“She’s the most beautiful, caring child that every mother could ask for,” Pei Xia Liu told PIX11 News. “Every time I look at her, she reminds me of my husband.”
The widow then added, “Most important to me, she is recognized by the state legally.”