Hoda Kotb’s journey to motherhood wasn’t a traditional one, which is why she was overwhelmed with emotion the first time she could officially call herself a mom at 52 years old. On the May 18 segment of Today with Hoda & Jenna, she and Jenna Bush Hager reflected on the moment and it brought tears to her eyes.
It was a simple interaction that most people wouldn’t think twice about. She was buying milk at the grocery store after she and her fiancé Joel Schiffman adopted their first daughter, Haley Joy in 2017.
“People always, [their] first question [is] ‘Do you have kids?’” Hoda said, beginning the story. “That’s the first question, and I always say ‘Oh my nieces, I love them so much,’ I always talk about my nieces. And literally I dead stopped when that woman asked me, ‘Do you have kids?’ And I looked at her and I go, ‘Yeah, I do.’ Like I couldn’t believe I was saying it. I was like ‘Yes, I have a daughter, yes.’”
She remembered being so taken aback by that simple question. “And just to say the words out loud, we’re talking about like saying something out loud, it was so moving,” she added.
As a mom of three, Jenna understood the feeling. She had her first daughter Mila eight years ago, and the thought of those new mom experiences—the adrenaline, exhaustion, and excitement—made her get teary, too.
Jenna also noted that she has witnessed her twin sister Barbara, who doesn’t have kids, get asked the same question often. “I felt like her pain because she wants them, I’m sure,” she said.
She continued, referring to Hoda’s story: “I’m sure what was a question that can hurt, all of a sudden...”
Hoda nodded, adding: “You were like, so thrilled to say out loud.”
Two years after welcoming Haley, Hoda and Joel adopted their second daughter, Hope Catherine. And in January of last year, Hoda hinted at the possibility of adding a third. “I’m not sure. I’m a sign person. I always look for signs, and I feel like there are some signs out there,” she said on Today at the time, adding that a morning of journaling got her thinking about it.
“I wrote in there, ‘I’m wondering if we should,’” she said. “I wrote, ‘Do we have enough love?’ I wrote, ‘Yes.’ And I said, ‘Do we have time?’ And I wrote, ‘Yes.’ And, ‘Would our family be more enhanced?’ I wrote, “Yes.’” When Carson Daly asked her how likely a third adoption would be on a scale from one to 10, she replied, “We’re pretty up there!”
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