If you watch the State of the Union tonight (9pm EST), look for the Holets family sitting in the First Lady’s gallery.
Last year, Ryan Holets, a New Mexico police officer, was on patrol when he met Crystal and Tom. The couple had no home and their lives had become consumed by drugs. Crystal was eight months pregnant and felt hopeless. She told Ryan about her hope to place the baby with an adoptive family. That conversation changed Ryan's life forever, as he and his wife decided to adopt the baby themselves.
Today, after months of treatment for drug exposure, baby Hope is growing stronger in her new home. Crystal talks to Ryan every day, and she and Tom are now in Florida receiving drug addiction support and counseling. Crystal says of Ryan, "I don't know where he came from, but I'm really happy he's here. I couldn't have prayed for a better situation...He basically adopted us, too." At a time when escalating drug abuse is tearing families apart—with a 7% increase in drug-related foster care cases in 2016—this story reminds us that there is hope. We are thankful to the Holets and many families like them who have welcomed children in need into their homes, and we advocate for strong, lifelong post-adoption support services to help these families meet the unique needs of children with substance exposure.
It has become tradition for the First Lady to invite guests to the State of the Union who embody the American ideals and national priorities highlighted in that year's Presidential address. The White House affirms their commitment to adoption every year during National Adoption Month. We hope the Holets family’s incredible story will remind the Administration that adoption changes lives and that it deserves to be a national priority year-round.