The family of California police officer Jesse Whitten recently welcomed an adopted member: A baby girl who's birth mother Whitten met while on the job.
The Santa Rosa Police Department announced the official adoption on Friday, saying that Whitten "opened his heart and his home to this baby" after the birth mother asked him for help.
That woman was homeless and struggling with drug addiction, the Press Democrat reports. Whitten had met the woman several times while on patrol.
The publication traces the relationship between Whitten and the birth mother: He had previously driven her to shelters and a detox centers; he had tried to get her into rehab.
Last year, Whitten's wife Ashley met the birth mother and they began to from a bond, according to the Press Democrat. Eventually the birth mother showed the Whittens an ultrasound photograph of the unborn child.
While Whitten and his wife were attending a Valentine's Day party, they received a call with a request from the birth mother: She asked them to adopt her child, Local CBS affiliate KPIX 5 reports.
“It’s weird to live in the tension of joy and heartbreak like this story is,” Ashley Whitten told the station. “It’s wonderful at the same time.”
The baby now has three sisters in the Whittens' home, the Santa Rosa Police Department said.
The child was born prematurely and went through a period of detoxification but has recovered, the Press Democrat reports.