ALBUQUERQUE, NM (WCMH) — A police officer’s encounter with a heroin-addicted woman affected him so much, he was compelled to help in an extraordinary way.
The strangling grip of addiction left Crystal Champ homeless on the streets of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
“I did give up. I just decided that this was going to be my life,” she said.
Home for Champ was a tent, in the brush alongside a highway. For her, the thought of a guardian angel walking into her life was unimaginable.
But, that’s what happened with Albuquerque police officer Ryan Holets found Champ and her companion, Tom, shooting up heroin behind a convenience store in September.
Holets, a father of four, wasn’t ready for what he noticed next.
“Are you pregnant?” he asked her.
“It’s not everyday that I see a sight like that and it just made me really sad,” Holets recalled.
He asked Champ how far along she was. She was 7-8 months pregnant.
“Why are you going to be doing that stuff?” he asked her. “It’s going to ruin your baby. You’re going to kill your baby.”
His words brought Champ to tears.
“How dare you judge me, you have no idea how hard this is. You have no idea. I know what a horrible person I am, what a horrible situation I’m in.”
In that instant, the moment changed.
“His entire being changed. He just became a human being instead of a police officer,” she said.
A crazy, overwhelming idea crept into Officer Holets’ mind.
“Realizing that she was desperately wanting someone to adopt the baby. I just felt God telling me, ‘tell her that you will do it because you can. You can. And so…”
Three weeks later, Champ gave birth. Holets and his wife agreed to adopt the baby they named Hope.
“I’ve gotten tired of seeing so many situations where I want to help but can’t and in that moment I realized that I had a chance to help.”
Hope suffered through withdrawals during weeks of medical treatment, but she’s gaining weight now and doing well.
“Her father and me love her very much,” Champ said. “We did not give her up because we did not want her.”
Champ remains an addict and admits she is in no place to care for a baby.
“I just want her to be safe and secure and be in a family and be loved and have a chance…”
For Officer Holets, it’s proof that even in the darkest moments, love and hope will reveal themselves.
“No coincidence. It’s like providence,” he said. “We’ll be there for her and whatever struggles that she has, we’ll be there and we’ll work through it. And that’s what makes me happy, that we’ll be there for her.”