On September 23, 2017, Ryan Holets — an Albuquerque police officer and father of four — encountered a homeless couple sitting behind a convenience store.
With his body cam rolling, Officer Ryan approached the pair and realized they were just about to inject heroin. The officer took a closer look and discovered something even more troubling… the woman was also heavily pregnant.
“You’re going to kill your baby,” he told her.
The woman, Crystal Champ, instantly broke down in tears. She told Ryan she’s been homeless for two years and struggling with drug addiction since she was a teenager. Despite her numerous attempts to get clean, she always loses the battle against opioids.
But then Crystal said something about her unborn baby — and it changed the officer’s life forever.
Crystal Champ, 35, is homeless. She sleeps in a tent in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Ryan Holets is an Albuquerque police officer and father of four.
On September 23, 2017, Ryan encountered Crystal and her partner sitting on the grass behind a convenience store.
Never in his wildest dreams did he expect the encounter to change his life forever.
The pair was just about to inject heroin when Ryan approached them.
But then, Ryan noticed Crystal was between seven and eight months pregnant.
He scolded her, saying, “You’re going to kill your baby.”
Crystal instantly broke down in tears. “You have no idea how hard this is,” Crystal recounted to CNN. “I know what a horrible person I am and what a horrible situation I’m in.”
Crystal proceeded to share her heartbreaking story with the officer.
Crystal has been struggling with drug addiction since she was a teenager, and she’s been homeless for the past two years.
Every time she tried to quit using and detox, she would lose her battle and relapse.
The heavily pregnant woman told Ryan she was desperate to find someone who would adopt her unborn baby.
“He became a human being instead of a police officer,” Crystal told CNN.
Suddenly, Ryan felt nothing but sadness and sympathy for Crystal. He’d grown tired of seeing so many situations in which he wanted to do more to help, but couldn’t.
That’s when he got an idea.
The officer asked Crystal if he could adopt her unborn baby. He knew he could provide a safe and loving home.
“I just felt God telling me, ‘Tell her that you will do it because you can,’” he told CNN.
But Ryan quickly made the decision before telling his wife Rebecca. To his surprise, Rebecca was ready and willing to adopt the newborn.
Though the couple already had four kids, they’d been thinking about eventually adopting a baby.
Three weeks later, Ryan and Rebecca arrived at the hospital for the delivery — and they became parents to Crystal’s baby, who they named Hope.
Hope was born addicted to drugs.
Babies exposed to opioid abuse in the womb suffer from neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).
In 2016, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the number of NAS cases tripled between 1999 and 2013.
Hope went through withdrawal and detox and is now in stable condition.
When she’s older, Ryan and Rebecca plan to tell Hope her birth story.
They’d eventually like to find a place for her birth mother in their lives.
The police officer and pregnant homeless addict agree that it’s some kind of fate that brought them together.
“There needs to be more people like Ryan and his wife and their family in this world,” Crystal says.
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