SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — Police officer Jesse Whitten could never have imagined the impact chance meetings with a homeless woman on a Santa Rosa street would ultimately have on his life.
The woman was living on the streets, pregnant and battling a drug addiction. While on patrol, Whitten would show compassion to her and on one such meeting last August, his wife Ashley was alongside. The two women struck up a conversation about motherhood and its challenges.
“I mentioned — ‘Oh, you are pregnant’ — and she said — ‘Oh yea’ — and placed my hand on her womb,” Ashley said.
At a Valentine’s Day party, the Whittens got a call that would change their lives forever. The birth mother specifically asked for Ashley and Jesse to adopt her child.
“It’s weird to live in the tension of joy and heartbreak like this story is,” said Ashley Whitten. “It’s wonderful at the same time.”
Little Harlow Masie Whitten is now six months old and has her adoptive dad and mom wrapped around her little finger. And she has blended in nicely with her three new siblings.
“She smiles so beautifully,” said Jesse.
“Her smile is the best thing,” Ashley added.
Harlow was exposed to drugs in the womb and overcame obstacles in the first few weeks of life. She’s doing much better now.
It was just this week that Harlow’s adoption became official. Ashley and Jesse have seen the birth mother since taking Harlow into their family. It was an emotional meeting,
“We were talking and … I was saying as her, ‘You made this choice for her and that we are so grateful,’” Ashley said. “And she said, ‘You’re her mother now.’”