Hoda Kotb gave TODAY fans and co-hosts an incredible surprise when she revealed her adoption of daughter, Haley Joy. The television personality tells PEOPLE exclusively that her life as a mom is amazing.
“I wake up sometimes and go, ‘Oh my God, I have a baby,'” Kotb exclaims. “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.”
Hoda has always wanted to be a mom but wrote the dream off after undergoing cancer treatment a decade ago. The treatment rid her of the disease and made it impossible for Hoda to conceive.
“One of the things in my life I’ve always wanted was to be a mom,” Kotb shares. “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.”
The possibility of being motherless was so difficult to come to terms with that Hoda considered a career change. A schoolteacher or director of a summer camp were definite possibilities. “One of the reasons was because I couldn’t have children,” the television personality explains. “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.”
Instead of continuing to suppress her feelings, Kotb gave in to her desires and started the process of adoption. Hoda brought Haley Joy home on Valentine’s Day.
“It’s one of those things where you think you’ve done it all, you think you’ve felt it all,” Hoda says of her daughter. “But I just didn’t know that this kind of love existed.”
Check out Hoda Kotb’s full interview with PEOPLE when the magazine’s latest issue hits newsstands on Friday!