When our own Hoda Kotb posted "Choose Hope" on Instagram, we had no idea it held a deeper message.
Hoda had adopted a baby.
Now we know her new baby girl and little sister to Haley Joy, 2, has arrived and her name is Hope Catherine Kotb — chosen with love and loaded with meaning.
When Hoda and her partner, Joel Schiffman, received the call to come and get Hope, they raced to the hospital. "We had already thought of the name," Hoda told Savannah and Jenna during a phone interview on TODAY, adding that the word hope appeared in her journal "about 10 million times" as she wrote about her yearning to have another child.
"The name came because there are a lot of women out there who are hoping that their day is coming too, and I know the feeling of it not happening for a long time," said Hoda.
Savannah Guthrie and Jenna Bush Hager were among baby Hope's visitors.
"Jenna and I went right over right after the show. I don't even know if we were invited, but we went in and we saw the baby," Savannah said Wednesday. "She's adorable. Hoda is doing great and is just so happy and pleased. It's really wonderful."
According to the Baby Name Wizard, Hope is an English name derived from the Old English word "hopa," meaning expectation, hope, or wish. It was a favorite of the Puritans, but it has consistently stayed in the list of the top 1,000 names in the United States since the list started in 1880.
According to popular baby name book author Pamela Redmond, who founded the site Nameberry.com with co-author Linda Rosenkrantz, Hope peaked in popularity at #144 in 1999, but it still ranked as high as #253 in 2017.
Calling Hope a "fashionable classic," Redmond told TODAY Parents, "It's one of those magic names that has never cracked the Top 100, or, in the past century, dropped below the Top 500, which makes it both traditional and stylish without ever becoming trendy or obscure — that's quite a feat for a name!"
Hope will share a first name beginning with the letter H along with big sister Haley, her mom Hoda and Hoda's sister, Hala.
"Hope has a positive, uplifting meaning without ever being so aspirational that it might prove a burden for a child, the way a name like Saint or Merry could," noted Redmond. Hope will share that with sister Haley Joy as well.
Hope's middle name, Catherine, honors Hoda's best friend, Karen Swensen, who has a 15-year-old daughter named Catherine. Catherine and her mother recently visited Hoda on TODAY's fourth hour as part of our first Best Friend Friday.
Hoda and Swensen have been friends since they first met in 1994 when they were working at WWL-TV, a CBS affiliate in New Orleans. Swensen was by Hoda's side as she faced breast cancer in her 40s, and Hoda was able to support her friend when she lost her husband, New Orleans homicide detective John Ronquillo, last year after his own cancer diagnosis.
Swensen was also with Hoda on the day she first became a mom to Haley Joy two years ago.
"Catherine is of course one of the most classic female names in the Western World, though less common as a traditional middle name than Ann or Elizabeth or Marie," said Redmond. "The K spelling has long been more popular, but the C spelling acquired new glamour and style thanks to the Duchess of Cambridge."
Hoda told Savannah and Jenna that Swensen and Catherine were in New York City the weekend Hope was born, honoring a promise they had made to Swensen's late husband that they would attend a Yankee game in New York City "on his first birthday in heaven."
"It was a very emotional time for all of us," said Hoda. "I told Catherine, 'You're the strongest kid I know.' I wanted to name her after Catherine."