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Cop who adopted addict's baby invited to SOTU

A police officer who adopted a baby from a homeless addict will be among the first lady's guests at President Trump's State of the Union address. CNN's Ed Lavandera reports.

Posted: Jan 30, 2018 10:42 PM
Updated: Jan 30, 2018 10:42 PM

When police Officer Ryan Holets shared the riveting and unlikely story of how his family last year adopted a baby born to a homeless woman addicted to heroin, he could not imagine that his story also captured the eyes of the White House.

The next chapter in this story that garnered worldwide attention will bring the Holets family to Washington as first lady Melania Trump's guests at the State of the Union address on Tuesday night. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders on Monday named Holets, along with several others, as people who "represent the unbreakable American spirit."

"We have entered the twilight zone for sure," Holets recently reflected as he tried to grasp the magnitude of bringing his New Mexico family to a high-profile stage.

The Trump administration hopes to use the Holets family's story to highlight its efforts in fighting opioid abuse across the country.

Holets' mission is more humble and a message to help change the country's view of those trapped in the grips of addiction and homelessness.

"It's changed my perspective forever," the officer said. "I can't drive anywhere without noticing people that are homeless. I can't help but notice people that are panhandling. Then I think about everything they've gone through."

Chance encounter

On September 23, Officer Ryan Holets was training a young officer on the streets of Albuquerque. They responded to a possible theft at a convenience store. That call turned out to be a false alarm, but as Holets was leaving the scene he spotted a homeless couple sitting on a patch of grass appearing to be injecting themselves with some kind of drug.

Holets flipped on his body camera and walked up to the pair holding a needle, and that's when he noticed that the woman, Crystal Champ, was pregnant. It turned out she was eight months' pregnant. Holets was stunned and heartbroken.

"Why do you have to be doing that stuff?" Holets can be heard saying to Champ in the body camera footage. "It's going to ruin your baby. You're going to kill your baby."

Champ, 35, immediately breaks down into tears. Champ says heroin and crystal meth, at that moment, had absolute control over her life.

"I'm the first one to know how bad my situation is," Champ told CNN. "I know what a horrible person I am."

Holets says a crazy idea started to bloom in his mind. A voice, he says, told him to offer to adopt the unborn child and that's what he did. Holets says he showed Champ a picture of his family, which included his wife, Rebecca, and four young children.

"I've gotten so tired of seeing so many situations where I want to help but can't," Holets told CNN. "And in that moment, I realized I had a chance to help and to heck with the risks."

The Holets say they see many in the world around them who desperately need stability.

"We feel God has called us to do that," Rebecca Holets said. "It's been on our hearts for a while."

Crystal Champ and the baby's father, Tom Key, agreed to have the Holets family adopt the baby. Hope, a girl, was born on October 12.

Birth parents

Ryan Holets' dedication didn't end when the adoption of Hope was finalized. After the CNN story first aired, several rehabilitation centers offered to help Champ and Key.

In December, an interventionist came to Albuquerque to convince the couple to leave the streets behind and seek treatment. The rehab team arrived at the airport with the couple, but the grip of heroin and drug addiction was so strong that they both unraveled inside the airport and refused to get on the flight.

But a week later, Crystal and Tom left their life in Albuquerque and checked into the Mending Fences rehabilitation center in Florida.

The road to recovery will be long and uncertain, but Ryan Holets and his family say they vow to support Hope's birth parents every step of the way.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 703345

Reported Deaths: 13194
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion959691716
Lake51222940
Allen38926670
Hamilton34288404
St. Joseph33770539
Elkhart27117431
Vanderburgh22034393
Tippecanoe21671212
Johnson17451374
Porter17206297
Hendricks16735310
Clark12657190
Madison12302337
Vigo12155244
Monroe11385166
LaPorte10800204
Delaware10312184
Howard9617211
Kosciusko9068113
Hancock7939139
Bartholomew7854153
Warrick7675155
Floyd7542176
Wayne6880198
Grant6773170
Boone6524100
Morgan6370138
Dubois6071117
Marshall5753108
Dearborn568075
Cass5671102
Henry5563100
Noble537983
Jackson492369
Shelby477795
Lawrence4332118
Gibson427389
Harrison426570
Montgomery416486
Clinton416053
DeKalb406684
Huntington376980
Whitley375539
Miami371465
Knox365389
Steuben362657
Putnam351960
Wabash346677
Jasper346146
Adams337652
Ripley333368
Jefferson311579
White307354
Daviess288899
Wells285180
Decatur278592
Fayette277062
Greene270385
Posey268333
Scott260553
Clay252244
LaGrange251470
Randolph234480
Washington230431
Spencer227431
Jennings224647
Fountain207745
Sullivan207342
Starke201952
Owen191856
Fulton190839
Carroll185620
Jay185529
Perry179536
Orange176553
Rush170324
Vermillion165743
Franklin165435
Tipton160943
Parke143816
Blackford132831
Pike130134
Pulaski113145
Newton102934
Brown99640
Crawford97014
Benton96213
Martin82415
Warren78915
Switzerland7698
Union69610
Ohio55511
Unassigned0405

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1048109

Reported Deaths: 18917
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1217031352
Cuyahoga1063982060
Hamilton779451165
Montgomery49883989
Summit45144907
Lucas39826760
Butler37638568
Stark31348894
Lorain24090472
Warren23835291
Mahoning20822583
Lake19915362
Clermont19397228
Delaware17972130
Licking16089206
Fairfield15646196
Trumbull15521459
Medina14815259
Greene14613236
Clark13576288
Wood12709184
Portage12313194
Allen11303229
Richland11017198
Miami10511212
Muskingum8688127
Wayne8543209
Columbiana8527226
Pickaway8421120
Marion8360135
Tuscarawas8359239
Erie7540153
Ross6692145
Hancock6683123
Geauga6527146
Ashtabula6458164
Scioto6280100
Belmont5591158
Union556247
Lawrence5458102
Jefferson5283147
Huron5270113
Darke5264121
Sandusky5164119
Seneca5093118
Washington5074107
Athens499454
Auglaize474884
Mercer470384
Shelby455089
Knox4371108
Madison421058
Putnam420298
Ashland412086
Fulton407966
Defiance399996
Crawford3858100
Brown385555
Logan372276
Preble369598
Clinton359659
Ottawa355478
Highland346059
Williams323274
Champaign318556
Jackson306951
Guernsey305848
Perry289349
Fayette276948
Morrow274439
Hardin263563
Henry263166
Coshocton258257
Holmes252699
Van Wert238662
Gallia233246
Pike232431
Adams227552
Wyandot226353
Hocking208958
Carroll188947
Paulding168538
Meigs141438
Noble132737
Monroe128841
Morgan106423
Harrison105336
Vinton81414
Unassigned02
Fort Wayne
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Angola
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Huntington
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Fort Wayne
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Feels Like: 56°
Lima
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Temperatures start to climb back up on Friday as we'll see mostly sunny skies return to northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio.
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