Police officer adopts a homeless mother's opioid-addicted newborn

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (CNN) - Police officers will often tell you there's no such thing as a routine call when you're patrolling the streets.

But when Albuquerque police officer Ryan Holets responded to a possible theft at a nearby convenience store, it had all the hallmarks of a mundane assignment he could quickly clear from the call log.

It didn't turn out that way.

As Ryan left the convenience store on September 23, he noticed out of the corner of his eye a couple sitting on the grass against a cement wall. It appeared the man and woman were shooting up heroin in broad daylight behind the convenience store.

Ryan turned on his body camera and approached the couple but he wasn't prepared for what he saw. The woman was in the middle of injecting a needle into her companion's arm. Then he noticed the woman was pregnant.

"It's not every day I see a sight like that and it just made me really sad," he told CNN.

Crystal Champ, 35, looked slightly dazed and agitated in the body camera footage as you hear Ryan begin to scold her. She told the officer that she was almost 8 months pregnant and addicted.

"You're going to kill your baby," Ryan is heard saying on the bodycam footage. "Why do you have to be doing that stuff?" It's going to ruin your baby."

In the video, Champ is seen breaking down in tears after hearing this. She told CNN the officer's words cut deeply because, even though she's pro-choice, the idea of having an abortion was never an option for her.

"I was like how dare you judge me. You have no idea how hard this is," Champ told CNN. "I know what a horrible person I am and what a horrible situation I'm in."

'He became a human being instead of a police officer'

In the body camera footage, Ryan questions Champ and her companion for almost 11 minutes. He focused on Champ and tried to figure out whether she fully understood the danger drug use was inflicting on her unborn child.

In the course of the conversation, Champ emotionally told Ryan that she desperately hoped someone would adopt her baby. Champ says the words triggered a change in the officer's demeanor.

"He became a human being instead of a police officer," Champ said.

Ryan made the call to not charge the couple with drug possession but he couldn't shake the voice in his mind telling him that this was his chance to help and truly make a difference.

Ryan showed Champ a picture of his wife and four children, including a 10-month old baby and in that moment offered to adopt her baby.

"I was led by God to take the chance," Ryan said. "God brought us all together. I really don't have any other way to explain it."

Champ was stunned and says she looked at him to "make sure his eyes were genuine and that I could see his soul." She realized instantly, her prayers had been answered.

But there was one problem, Ryan offered to adopt Champ's baby but had not told his wife about it.

Rebecca Holets was just a few miles away at a going-away party for a friend. Ryan jumped in his police car and drove over to the party to break the news.

The couple had discussed adopting a child in the future but were waiting for their youngest child to grow a little older. When Ryan delivered the shocking news at the party, Rebecca never hesitated.

The Holets say they see many in the world around them who desperately need stability. They know they can't help every child, but Rebecca knew she could take on the challenge of raising another baby.

Three weeks later, Crystal Champ gave birth and Ryan Holets and his wife agreed to adopt the baby. They named her “Hope.”

Hope suffered through withdrawals during weeks of medical treatment, but she’s gaining weight and doing well.

“I am so thankful and blessed and humbled that we are allowed to have Hope in our family,” Holets said.

For Officer Ryan Holets, it’s proof that even in the darkest moments, you never know when love and hope will reveal itself.

For the full story, visit CNN.com


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