Ryan Holets is an Albuquerque police officer who responded to what seemed like a routine investigation of a robbery at a convenience store when he came upon a heartbreaking scene that would change his life forever.
CNN reported that as part of his investigation, Holets walked around to the back of the store and found a young woman and a man getting ready to shoot heroin.
He approached them and started asking about the drugs, when he stopped and focused his attention on the woman. He asked her if she was pregnant and she nodded in response.Screenshot/CNN
Holets asked her how far along she was and she responded that she was seven or eight months pregnant.
Oh my gosh. Why are you going to be doing that stuff? It’s going to ruin your baby. You’re going to kill your baby.”
The woman can be seen on Holets’s body camera, crying and overcome with emotion. The woman’s name was Crystal Champ, and she was addicted to heroin and crystal meth. When Holets first confronted her, she felt judged by him.
“How dare you judge me. You have no idea how hard this is. I know what a horrible person I am and I know what a horrible situation I’m in.”
Champ’s addiction problems started as a teenager, and she had been homeless for over two years. She told CNN how her addiction took over her life. She made multiple attempts to get clean but failed.Ed Lavandera/Facebook
“I did give up. I just decided this was going to be my life. It just keeps coming back and ruining my life.”
After Holets’s confrontation, Champ admitted that she was desperate for her baby to get adopted. She had come to terms with the fact that she did not have the abilities nor resources to care for her baby. As soon as she shared this, she noticed a shift in Holets’s demeanor.
“His entire being changed. He just became a human being instead of a police officer.”
This shift can be attributed to a sudden, impulsive thought that seized Holets — he could help this woman by adopting her baby.
Holets told CNN that he felt that it was divine providence that led him to Champ.
“I’ve gotten tired of seeing so many situations where I want to help but can’t. And in that moment, I realized I had a chance to help … It’s not every day I see a sight like that and it just made me really sad … Realizing she was desperately wanting someone to adopt her baby, I just felt God telling me, ‘Tell her that you will do it because you can — you can.'”
Holets didn’t charge Champ and her companion with drug possession. Instead, he showed Champ a photo of his wife and four children and told her that he would adopt her baby.
Champ felt that Holets was being sincere. She agreed to the adoption and said:
“His eyes were genuine … I could see his soul.”
Holets did not consult his wife, Rebecca, who was at a party for a friend, when he made the promise to Champ. He drove to the party, pulled Rebecca aside, and explained what happened. Despite the spontaneity of this decision, Rebecca was completely on board.
“He already knew my heart on the issue and he knew that I would be totally onboard with it. We feel God has called us to do that. It’s been on our hearts for a while.”
Just three short weeks later, the Holetses became parents to a baby girl named Hope. Since Hope was exposed to her mother’s opioid use, she was born with withdrawal symptoms — called neonatal abstinence syndrome.Bryan Looker/Twitter
According to CNN, withdrawal symptoms are “just as intense for babies as adults.” Infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome may deal with sleeping issues, are difficult to soothe, and have difficulties feeding. They are also likely to deal with developmental issues.
Dr. Heather Pratt-Chavez, a pediatrician at the University of New Mexico, who is an expert on babies with opioid addictions, neonatal abstinence syndrome babies need to essentially detox the way an adult would from opioids. Hope spent a few weeks in the hospital where she was administered treatments of morphine and methadone. Early intervention is crucial to the success of babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome.Screenshot/CNN
Pratt-Chavez said that “skin-to-skin” touch can help lower the infant’s stress levels and positively impact the babies’ development.
Throughout the entire situation, the Holteses and Champ were incredulous that what seemed like a mundane task for the Holets had led to Hope’s adoption. Champ was in awe of the couple. She called them “a light in this world” and said:
“There needs to be more people like Ryan and his wife and their family in this world.”
Holets understood that because the circumstances surrounding Hope’s birth, the family may need to face some difficult issues down the road. But Holets is prepared to do whatever it takes to care for Hope.Ed Lavandera/Facebook
It truly seems as though Holets has a special bond with Hope. He was filled with emotion when he told CNN:
“Whatever struggles she has, we’ll be there and we’ll work through it. And that makes me happy — that we’ll be there for her.”
People have been calling Holets a “guardian angel” for rescuing Hope. It is clear by the way he treated Champ with dignity and adopted Hope that this is a very apt description.
Watch the whole report via CNN below.