'Guardian angel' cop adopts opioid-addicted baby from homeless mother
Truly touching and bittersweet at the same time.
Crystal meth and opioid addiction have grappled the lives of more than two million Americans, as per a 2014 survey conducted by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Like Crystal Champ, who has been homeless for the past two years and has been battling her addiction to opioids and crystal meth since the time she was a teenager. But as time went by, in the face of all the attempts to 'clean up' and detoxification, she lost the battle numerous times and couldn't do much much about it.
But a miracle in disguise walked into her life in the form of a police officer who chose to do something incredibly moving, that changed Crystal's life forever.
A police officer turned hero
The story goes back to September 23, 2017 when Officer Ryan Holets encountered Crystal Champ, 35, and her partner, Tom Key, behind a convenience store in Albuquerque, New Mexico, who, as the footage revealed, were ready to shoot up heroin.
But it wasn’t just the drugs that Holets observed. He noticed that Crystal was visibly pregnant.
“It’s not every day that I see a sight like that,” Holets told CNN. "And it just made me really sad," he added.
Crystal, on her part, wasn't ready to tackle Holets interrogation. "You're going to kill your baby," Holets is heard saying in the bodycam footage. "Why do you have to be doing that stuff?" It's going to ruin your baby," he scolded Crystal.
Crystal wasn't ready to take all that Holets had to say. On being reprimanded, she broke down in tears after hearing what he had to say.
"I was like how dare you judge me. You have no idea how hard this is," Crystal told CNN. "I know what a horrible person I am and what a horrible situation I'm in."
Whilst talking to Holets, Crystal explained to him how she was desperately looking for someone who would adopt her baby. Her words struck Holet deep, who understood Crystal's situation better than he did before he heard her say that.
"He became a human being instead of a police officer," Crystal revealed.
Sorry I missed yesterday. Ryan Holets is an Albuquerque police officer and father of four. Recently while on patrol he found a pregnant Crystal Champ on the verge of injecting heroin. He and his wife, Rebecca, adopted Crystal's child at birth, naming her Hope. #ComeTogether pic.twitter.com/RSfKcuOIKt— Bryan Looker (@bryan_looker) 4 December 2017
For Holets, the sight of a pregnant woman shooting up drugs wasn't the best sight to encounter. But after hearing her story, all he felt was sympathy. Suddenly, at the bat of an eyelid, an idea came to his mind which changed the course of his life—he decided to adopt Crystal's baby.
“I just felt God telling me, ‘Tell her that you will do it because you can,'” he said when asked about his quick decision to adopt.
Cut to three weeks later and Holets had become the proud father of Crystal's baby, who was born drug-addicted on October 12. But is now recovering and is in a stable condition.
"I’ve gotten tired of seeing so many situations when I want to help, but can’t,” he said. “I was led by God to take the chance. God brought us all together. I really don’t have any other way to explain it," he stated.
Although Holets had adopted at the whim of a moment, he hadn't revealed the news to his wife Rebecca. To his surprise, Rebecca was more than happy to receive the news. Despite having a large brood to take care for—four children and a 10-month-baby at the time, Rebecca believed that it was God's calling to adopt that precipitated their own need for adoption; which they had in mind after their youngest child would have been old enough.
“It’s been in our hearts for a while,” she told CNN.
America's opioid-addicted babies
Hope is a part of a legion of babies who are born addicted to opiates. Clinically recognized as neonatal abstinence syndrome or NAS, it is the term used for babies who are exposed to opioid abuse in the womb itself.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had released a study in 2016 which stated that the number of NAS cases had tripled between 1999 and 2013.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse stated that the number of babies who suffer from opioid withdrawal is born every 25 minutes in the United States, with a host of physiological and developmental issues.
Dr Heather Pratt-Chavez, a pediatrician at the University of New Mexico, who was also involved in Hope's birth specializes in NAS cases and explained how babies usually need several weeks of medical treatment, which entails morphine and methadone, to help the newborn get rid of the drugs in the system.
Many experts state that intensive treatment and early intervention in infant care is essential for ensuring a healthy future for a NAS-inflicted baby. After the initial medical treatment, Dr Pratt-Chavez explained how 'skin-to-skin' touch is crucial in lowering the stress level that facilitates better child growth.
Babies suffering from NAS face lack of sleep, are crankier than normal babies and are also difficult to console and have a difficult time being fed. However, the withdrawal symptoms are just as intense for babies as it is in the case of adults. "I look into their little faces and see their brows furrowed and watch for their faces to relax," Dr. Pratt-Chavez told CNN.
The future for Hope, Holets, and Champ
Although Hope is no longer in the hospital, she is under watch and medical-check up's are a part of her regular routine. Living happily ever after with her new parents, Hope is enjoying the love and care of her new parents now along with her new siblings.
But for Hope's biological mother, the light of hope isn't that bright as Crystal continues consuming drugs and remains homeless. Despite her depravity, she is happy for her daughter who is now a part of a loving and caring family.
"She needs to have a safe environment and a stable life and be able to grow and be nurtured and be safe and secure and all of these things I can't give her right now," said Crystal.
For Rebecca and Holets, the road to complete detoxification would be tough but they're ready to take on whatever comes their way.
"Whatever struggles she has, we'll be there and we'll work through it," said Holets. "And that makes me happy," he conceded.
Watch their story here:
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