February 21



A reflection by John Lietzau

After being married nine years, my wife Beverly and I decided to have a foster child come into our home. As foster parents, we were required to attempt to reunify our six and-a-half year old foster child Mercedes with her birth parents.  It was heartbreaking to bring Mercedes to scheduled supervised visits with her birth mother who only showed up once out of 24 visits. During this time Beverly and I decided we wanted to adopt Mercedes and so we let Catholic charities know about our decision.

Mercedes attended a Chicago Public School and was in weekly therapy for about two years before we brought her before a judge to answer some legal questions to formalize the adoption.  Once that took place Mercedes became Mercedes Lietzau at the age of nine.

After leaving the courthouse we went out to lunch to celebrate.  I noticed that Mercedes was not eating her lunch so I asked her if she wanted to put it in a to-go container and she said yes. She kept staring out the window at a street preacher who I happened to know from my experiences as a clinical counselor. I asked Mercedes if she wanted to give her lunch to the street preacher and she said yes.   I told her that I would come with her and we went outside and I stood behind her and she handed her lunch to the street preacher. I was so amazed that her first act as our daughter was showing her gratitude by generously giving away her own lunch to a homeless Street Preacher! Since that moment our family has been “Riding On the Wings of Blessing!”


adoption, dads with daughters, fatherhood

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