During the spring of 2017, Jesse Whitten, a police officer in Santa Rosa, California, confronted a homeless, drug-addicted woman while on patrol one day. Little did he know the encounter would change his life forever. Officer Whitten’s wife Ashley had accompanied him on his ride-along that day. Ashley noticed the homeless woman was pregnant.
Officer Whitten knew the woman’s other kids whom he had met at a foster youth camp. During an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” the Santa Rosa Police Officer said, “I had an immediate connection with her just by knowing who her wonderful children were.” He recalled how the homeless woman put his wife’s hand on her pregnant stomach in order for his wife to feel the growing baby inside. Officer Whitten recounted how he offered to take the homeless woman to a shelter. On one occasion, he even drove her to a rehab facility. At one point, the drug addicted woman asked Officer Whitten if he and his wife would be willing to adopt her unborn baby.
At the time, the Santa Rosa police officer, who was already a father to three girls, wasn’t certain if the homeless woman was serious about her inquiry. On February 9, 2018, the pregnant woman gave birth to a baby girl. Although the drug-addicted woman had attempted to discontinue using drugs numerous times, her daughter was born with heroin in her system. Due to the woman’s homeless situation and the presence of drugs in the baby’s system, the county asked her if she desired an emergency arrangement for her baby to be put in foster care. Rather than agree to this plan, she requested that the county contact Officer Whitten.
Officer Whitten recounted his visit with the drug-addicted woman at the hospital during his interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
“She said, ‘I knew you had daughters. I knew you were firm, but you were fair,'” he said. “She had this vision of her daughters playing in tutus with her sisters. That’s what she said she wanted.”
On August 30, 2018, Officer Whitten and his wife officially adopted the baby girl. They named their precious bundle of joy Harlow Maisey Whitten. The baby’s middle name was provided by her biological mother. According to the couple, they decided to keep the name in order to honor their new daughter’s birth mother.
“This is to say, ‘She loved you and we loved you and we both named you,'” the officer said. “I fell in love right away. She’s so adorable. She will cry if she needs something, obviously as babies do, but as soon as we would touch her, she’d immediately stop crying. She knew right away that she was safe.”
While raising their family, which besides baby Harlow includes seven-year-old Reese, five-year-old Kendall, and three-year-old Stella, the California couple vows to continue supporting foster children. Ashley Whitten said, “Through our experience, we are so sure that no child is broken and they don’t need us to fix them. They just need love.”
In a Facebook post, the Santa Rosa Police Department commemorated the finalization of the couple’s adoption.
“Not long ago, while Ofc. Whitten was working he met a pregnant woman needing help,” the force wrote. “She didn’t ask for assistance the way a typical call for service goes, she was looking for a home and a family for her unborn baby. Ofc. Whitten, the proud father of three girls already, opened his heart and his home to this baby. And now it’s official! After a moving adoption hearing, she is a part of Ofc. Whitten’s family. Congratulations, Whitten family, and welcome, baby, to the SRPD family!.”
Officer Whitten isn’t the first cop to accept the call of duty in this amazing way. In February of this year, President Donald Trump recognized Albuquerque, New Mexico Police Officer Ryan Holets during his State of the Union address. Officer Holets and his wife Rebecca adopted the baby of a woman he found about to inject heroin behind a convenience store while he was on duty one day. Referring to the New Mexico couple, President Trump said they “embody the goodness of our nation.”
~ 1776 Christian