Today I sat down to write a letter and send some pictures to Liliana's "biological connections". This might seem weird to some people, but Chris and I want to honor her biological roots as much as we can. We know that while we are totally excited to see her take her first steps and hear her say "dada" and "mama" to us, there are 2 other people who aren't able to experience this. So, as much as we can, we try to send photos or videos just to reaffirm that they indeed did make a loving choice for this little girl.
So, today's letter was to Daniel, who is actually in prison. A few months ago he wrote a letter to Liliana. He told her that he knows he has made bad choices in his life, but the one good choice he made was to give her a home and a family that he couldn't give her himself. He did NOT want her to grow up like he did and he knew he couldn't offer her what she needed from behind bars. He wanted her to know that he did this out of love for her and that he will always love her.
Now I have to admit, if I met this guy on the street somewhere, I would probably be scared, checking my purse every 5 seconds, walking briskly, and praying in tongues under my breath. But instead, through Liliana, I can have compassion, pray for him and write encouraging letters.
A few weeks before we found out about Liliana, I was stuck on this one verse in the Bible from the book of Matthew. It says,
"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me....whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."
These verses kept replaying over and over in my mind and I wanted to see how I could apply them in my life. I believe that there's an aspect of Jesus in each category and so I didn't want to miss a chance to experience Him in new ways. I could connect with each category, except the prisoner one. I don't really know people in prison and frankly this was the category with the most judgments and misconceptions. So, lo and behold comes Liliana and she happens to be connected biologically to someone in this category.
I can say that I am seeing a side of Jesus through Daniel that I hadn't seen before our paths crossed. I am seeing that under his tough gang exterior is a tender hearted guy created in the image of God. He goes by his gang name, not Daniel, but every letter I write is intentionally addressed "Daniel". Daniel was a man of God who stood up against what everyone else was doing because of his devotion to God. I just hope one day that this Daniel can do the same. But for now, I just hope he likes the cute pictures he'll be getting in the mail. :-)