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Hoda Kotb describes the 'magic' moment she met daughter Haley Joy

The TODAY co-host became a mom through adoption in 2017.
/ Source: TODAY

Hoda Kotb gets goosebumps when talking about the moment she met her daughter Haley Joy.

“I don’t even remember who was carrying her because all I could see was her,” Hoda revealed on People’s “Me Becoming Mom” podcast. “They put her in my arm… she fit like she was born there. I looked down and these eyes were looking at me and I thought to myself, ‘Forever, for as long as I am breathing, you will be protected and loved and cared for.”

“She felt like mine right then,” the TODAY co-anchor continued. “It didn’t take any time. It happened instantly for me.”

Hoda and her fiancé, Joel Schiffman, adopted Haley in 2017. They named their first child after Halley’s Comet, which makes an appearance once every 75 years.

“It’s once in a blue moon that something beautiful like that happens,” Hoda noted.

As soon as Haley was placed in her arms, she knew that they had chosen the right name.

“Her eyes were looking right up at me and boy, it was magic,” Hoda gushed. “Sometimes you wonder about what do you deserve in life? What do you deserve? When I look at her, and when I looked at her then, [I] wonder, ‘Did I get more than my share?’ I feel like I did. She changed everything. Talk about a world snapping into focus. She changed the world for me.”

Haley is now four and a big sister to Hope Catherine, 2, who Hoda and Schiffman adopted in 2019. The couple are hoping to add one more kid to the mix.

“There are a lot of things you evaluate in your life when you’re an older parent. I feel like there are so many pluses, I can’t even quantify them all,” Hoda told podcast host Zoë Ruderman. “I’m also keenly aware that I want… two siblings that can share a life alongside one another, long after we’re gone.”

Haley and Hope — Hoda describes her youngest as "a dream child" — have been best friends since day one.

“They are intertwined. They hold hands, they don’t let go,” Hoda shared. “They write each other notes and the teachers deliver them. I’m so blown away by the love that they share.”

Hoda, who fulfilled her dream of becoming a mom age 52, can’t believe how beautiful her life turned out.

“Some days I’ll wake up and I’ll go, ‘Do I really have two kids sleeping down the hall from me?’” she said. “When you think life passed you by, just slow down a minute and see, maybe it didn’t.”

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