How Hoda Kotb’s Cancer Battle Led to Her Decision to Adopt
“Today” host Hoda Kotb is opening up on her desire to have children, and her decision to adopt.
In a new interview with People magazine, Kotb revealed that her battle with breast cancer in 2008 left her infertile, which was devastating to her. She said, “One of the things in my life I've always wanted was to be a mom. Sometimes in your life, things just don't work out for whatever reason, so you say, 'Well, I wasn't meant to have that.' But it was really hard to come to terms with it.”
Though she never expressed her desire for children publicly, she always felt “there was a hole.” Hoda emphasized, "People would say, 'Oh, do you have kids?' And I'd feel like, 'Ouch.' I knew inside it was supposed to be for me.”
Even her close friend Kathie Lee Gifford was unaware of Hoda's want for kids. She shared, "Hoda is such a grateful person. She's not a whiner or complainer, so she rejoiced in the blessings she had, and she loved being an aunt and found great joy in that. It seemed like that was enough for her. She never let on that it was something missing in her life.”
After learning she couldn't conceive, Hoda mulled over the idea of becoming a teacher or running a summer camp. She explained, "One of the reasons was because I couldn't have children. Finally I said to myself one day, 'Why can't I? Why not me?' I had this ache in me that I couldn't push away anymore.”
Kotb would eventually discuss the possibility of adopting with boyfriend Joel Schiffman. “I was afraid to even say it out loud, because then it felt so real. I said, 'Think about it for a day or a week or whatever.' And he said, 'I don't need a day. Let's get this journey going.' At that point I blubbered like a baby. It was like the dam burst.”
Last month, Hoda and Schiffman adopted a baby girl named Haley. She gushed, “I wake up sometimes and go, 'Oh, my God, I have a baby!' But it feels totally real. I guess if you've been waiting this long for something, and you wish for it, pray for it, hope for it, wonder if it will ever be, and then it happens, nothing's more real. Nothing.”