(Meredith) – A California police officer, who is already the proud father of three daughters, recently opened his home and his heart to an adorable baby girl.
Officer Jesse Whitten, with the Santa Rosa Police Department, met the infant’s mother while on patrol. The woman was living on the streets and battling drug addiction, the Press Democrat reported.
“I tried to get her into rehab,” Whitten told the newspaper.
The 10-year policeman said he established a rapport with the woman. He would sometimes drive her to a shelter or detox center.
One night in August, his wife Ashley Whitten decided to ride along with him on patrol. The couple encountered the woman and learned she was expecting.
"I mentioned, 'Oh, you are pregnant,' and she said, 'Oh yeah,' and placed my hand on her womb," Ashley told CBS San Francisco.
About six months later, the Whittens were at a Valentine’s Day party when a social worker called. The homeless woman, who had given birth to a five-week premature baby girl, wanted to know if he and his wife would take the child.
The couple rushed to the hospital to speak to the woman face-to-face and to ask if she wanted them to care for the baby temporarily or adopt her, according to the Press Democrat.
“She said, ‘I want what’s best for her. I can’t give her all the things I want her to have,’” Whitten recalls, adding that the woman wanted them to become the baby’s forever parents.
The couple took the baby home soon after and initiated adoption proceedings.
On Friday, the Santa Rosa Police Department shared a photo of Whitten and Harlow, announcing the baby is officially a member of their family.
“After a moving adoption hearing, she is part of Ofc. Whitten’s family,” the department wrote on Facebook. “Congratulations, Whitten family, and welcome, baby, to the SRPD family!”
Though baby Harlow faced many obstacles in the first few weeks of life due to drug exposure in the womb, she’s doing much better now at 6 months old.
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