Never did Albuquerque, New Mexico, police officer Ryan Holets expect the compelling story that he shared about adopting the baby of a homeless woman addicted to heroin would have caught the attention of the White House. Sarah Sanders, the then White House spokeswoman, called him along with some others as people who “represent the unbreakable American spirit.”
Officer Holets’s selfless decision ultimately changed his life, the homeless woman’s life, and the life of her baby forever.
It was an honor to present the first ever Outstanding Service to the Community Award to Officer Ryan Holets yesterday, a 6-year officer of @ABQPOLICE. We’re grateful for many heroic acts in our community and this was a special one with Baby Hope: https://t.co/MQ9pcpOkTl #nmpol pic.twitter.com/jaCAw5Lf1H
— Mayor Tim Keller (@MayorKeller) December 12, 2017
On Sept. 23, 2017, after responding to a possible theft at a convenience store, Officer Holets noticed a homeless couple sitting on a patch of grass, CNN reported.
The couple was injecting themselves with some kind of drugs. Officer Holets turned on his body cam and approached them. There, he noticed the woman, Crystal Champ, 35, was pregnant. Champ told him that she was addicted and almost eight months pregnant.
Officer Holets was heartbroken and shocked. “You’re going to kill your baby,” he told Champ. “Why do you have to be doing that stuff? It’s going to ruin your baby.”
Hearing this, Champ broke down in tears. That was, in fact, what she was most concerned about, but she seemed to have no way out as her addiction to heroin and crystal meth took control over her life.
A religious man who values his privacy, he didn’t do it for the attention. He did it because he felt a calling from God. He knew it was the right thing to do.
Champ had been battling heroin and crystal meth addiction ever since she was a teenager. She’d tried many times to get clean, but all attempts had failed.
“I did give up. I just decided this was going to be my life,” Champ told CNN. “It just keeps coming back and ruining my life.”
She had been homeless for more than two years because of her habit. “I know what a horrible person I am and what a horrible situation I’m in.”
When Champ told the officer that she really hoped someone would adopt her baby because she knew she didn’t have the ability to raise the child, Officer Holets’s attitude immediately changed.
— FOX8 WGHP (@myfox8) January 30, 2018
Officer Holets showed Champ a picture of his family—his wife and four children, including a 10-month-old baby.
Then suddenly, perhaps inspired by some force of kindness, the officer offered to adopt her unborn child, even though he has four young children himself. Champ, who was stunned, agreed, and so did the baby’s father, Tom Key.
Officer Holets’s wife, Rebecca, who happened to be nearby, agreed right away as well after he sought her permission.
“We feel God has called us to do that,” Rebecca said. “It’s been on our hearts for a while.”
“I have never made an offer like that to anyone and so I didn't know exactly how to approach the subject with her.”
The baby was born the following month on Oct. 12, 2017, and they named her Hope. Champ hopes that when her daughter grows older, she will know she was given to a loving family because her mother and father love her very much.
“I love you. Goodbye,” Rebecca recalled Champ saying to her baby when they were together for the last time. “And then she turns to me and says ‘Take care of her for me.’ And I said, ‘I will take good care of her and you take good care of yourself.’ It was super emotional.”
Champ and Key both left Albuquerque to check into the Mending Fences rehabilitation center in Florida.
Albuquerque's very own Officer Ryan Holets has been nationally recognized for his generous act of compassion and…
Baby Hope was born addicted to opiates. Officer Holets and his wife know very well she will likely have developmental issues, but they have decided to be there for her through all trials and tribulations regardless.
“Whatever struggles she has, we’ll be there, and we’ll work through it,” Officer Holets said. “And that’s what makes me happy.”
— KOAT.com (@koat7news) December 22, 2017
Officer Holets and his wife are simply admirable for their willingness to give a baby, unrelated to them, a loving home.
“Ryan and Rebecca, you embody the goodness of our nation,” President Trump said to Officer Holets and his wife when they were both invited as special guests at the State of the Union address in January 2018.
We couldn’t agree more!
City Councilors presented @ABQPOLICE Officer Ryan Holets and his wife Rebecca a Proclamation for their adoption of a baby and their support of the mother whom suffers from drug addiction pic.twitter.com/ZktYXaI5LW
— Albuquerque City Council (@ABQCityCouncil) February 6, 2018
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