DENVER (CBS4) – A retired Colorado police lieutenant is celebrating the greatest gift of all this holiday season.

Lori Moriarty — a former commander of the North Metro Drug Task Force — spent much of her career finding and rescuing children from drug houses. She never dreamed one of those children would find her.

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Two years ago she looked out the window of her home to see a 2-year-old boy walking down the driveway. She says she had a flashback of a drug raid in 2006. SWAT members found a 9-month-old infant in the house.

“I thought it was emotional the day we brought the baby out of the home in a diaper. This was as emotional for me to watch a 22-month-old unattended walk down the driveway,” Moriarty said.

The little boy, named Santos, lived next door with his grandfather, who had custody of him because the mother was a drug addict. The grandfather told Moriarty she was pregnant with another child and he couldn’t care for that baby too. Moriarty and her partner of 18 years, Robin Hardman — a Littleton firefighter — decided to become foster parents.

Moriarty remembers thinking, “I always say we all carry a role and responsibility in changing the trajectory of a child’s life. One has just walked to our door. We need to do something about it.”

Three weeks later, Arlo came home from the hospital with them. He was two days old. Moriarty and Hardman knew it wouldn’t be easy to foster a newborn, but nothing could have prepared them for the hardest part.

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“The day we brought Arlo home I told Robin I did not know I could love someone so much. And truly, you have to give all that, but at the same time you’ve got to root for recovery for his biological mom. You can’t be selfish. I couldn’t say I believed in recovery and then not believe in their biological mom’s recovery,” Moriarty said.

But in this case the mother’s addiction was too great. Moriarty and Hardman knew what they needed to do. We told (the biological mother) it would be an honor to raise your children.” Hardman said.

They adopted Arlo and Santos last week.

“They are truly gifts,” Hardman said.

She and Moriarty say the two little guys make their hearts happy and their lives even more meaningful. They hope their story inspires others to become foster parents.

“These boys brought me hope and helped me believe there are opportunities to change the trajectory of a child’s life and it just takes us.” Moriarty said. “Probably not a lot people have the opportunity to have child walk to their door. But if you look at it as a metaphor, what is it when a door opens for us in our lives that maybe we’ve missed opportunities to intervene in a child’s. There is no reward like being a parent and no commitment greater.”

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– Written by Shaun Boyd