from our partnerFaithwire
written byFaithwire Staff
A California police officer walked away from his call to duty one shift with a new daughter to call his own.
Santa Rosa Police Officer Jesse Whitten, 33, already had three girls at home, but when a homeless woman he met while on patrol asked if he and his wife would adopt her child, he couldn’t help but say yes.
“I fell in love right away,” Whitten told ABC News.
Harlow, the 7-month-old baby girl, felt that instant connection too.
“She’s so adorable,” Whitten said. “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.”
Last week, the adoption of baby Harlow became official.
Whitten met Harlow’s biological mother during the spring while she was pregnant and suffering from drug addiction.
The officer said he knew the woman’s other two children from when he worked at a foster youth camp.
“I had an immediate connection with her just by knowing who her wonderful children were,” Whitten said.
Whitten’s wife, Ashley Whitten, was accompanying him on a ride-along that day and noticed that the woman was pregnant.
She then took Ashley’s hand and placed it on her stomach, Officer Whitten recalled.
The couple then offered to bring the woman to the shelter and drove her to a rehab facility on another date.
During one of their encounters, the woman asked Whitten if he and his wife would adopt her baby, but the officer wasn’t sure if her request was serious.
Although Harlow’s mother had tried to detox from drugs, Harlow was born with heroin in her system on Feb. 9. County officials asked her if she wanted to arrange for emergency placement in foster care, since the woman is homeless and Harlow was born with drugs in her system.
Instead, the woman asked them to “call Officer Whitten.”
“She said, ‘I knew you had daughters. I knew you were firm, but you were fair,’” Whitten said the woman told him when he got to the hospital. “She had this vision of her daughters playing in tutus with her sisters. That’s what she said she wanted.”
The adoption became official on Aug. 30, and they named the baby girl Harlow Maisey Whitten.
Harlow’s birth mother was involved in naming her, Whitten said.
In a Facebook post, the Santa Rosa Police Department wrote that the woman “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,” the police department wrote, congratulating Whitten on the newest addition to his family.
As the Whittens raise their young brood, which also includes Reese, 7, Kendall, 5 and Stella, 3, they will continue advocating for foster children.
“Through our experience, we are so sure that no child is broken and they don’t need us to fix them,” Ashley Whitten told ABC News. “They just need love.”
(H/T: ABC News)