A California police officer added a fourth member to his family this week when he adopted the baby girl of a homeless woman fighting drug addiction.
The Santa Rosa Police Department posted a photo on Friday of Officer Jesse Whitten holding the baby girl shortly after an adoption hearing where he made the action official.
Officer Whitten’s journey to adoption began last year when he responded to a call of a pregnant, homeless woman on the streets struggling with a drug addiction, CBS San Francisco reported.
Whitten would check in on her from time to time, and on one of the encounters in August 2017 Whitten’s wife Ashley struck up a conversation with her about motherhood.
“I mentioned, ‘Oh, you are pregnant,’ and she said, ‘Oh yeah,’ and placed my hand on her womb,” Ashley said.
But it was a chance phone call at a Valentine’s Day party that would change the Whittens’ lives forever. The birth mother asked Officer Whitten and Ashley to adopt her child.
Harlow Masie Whitten was exposed to drugs while in the womb and had to overcome some challenges in the first few weeks of her life, but the six-month-old is doing better and has already fit in with her three new siblings.
Officer Whitten and his wife have met with the birth mother since Harlow’s adoption, and the couple told the birth mother how grateful they were that she had made the choice for her daughter.
“We were talking and I was saying to her, ‘You made this choice for her and that we are so grateful,’” Ashley said. “And she said, ‘You’re her mother now.’”