Mariska Hargitay Opens Up About Adoption To Good Housekeeping

Actress Mariska Hargitay opens up about her family’s decision to adopt and says that while it was one of her best decisions in her life, it was also an experience that was no walk in the park.

The actress, who adopted two children, Amaya and Andrew, with her husband Peter Hermann says that the road to adoption was a “very bumpy one” but one worth taking. Here’s a snippet from the upcoming issue:

“I’m not gonna lie,” Hargitay says as she launches into the story behind her burgeoning family. “There were wrenching moments. I say to everybody, ‘Adoption is not for the faint of heart.’ “

Hargitay was on the SVU set when her cell phone rang. It was the birth mother: “Come now—it’s time!” At the hospital, Hargitay was handed her newborn, “this little angel.” Hargitay and her husband, actor Peter Hermann had two blissful days bonding with the tiny girl, naming her. And then, “the long and short of it: The birth mother changed her mind,”Hargitay says, her eyes welling up at the memory. “It was nothing short of devastating. But…this is what I’ve come to understand about life: It was probably the greatest, happiest ending. I mean, it was so painful for us, but it was deeply joyful and deeply right for her.” 

Not long after that turn of events, Hargitay and Hermann’s lawyer and social worker located another woman who was expecting a baby. When the couple met her, “the whole thing was kind of…storybook. It was almost too good to be true.” The birth mother agreed that Hargitay not only would be in the delivery room, but also would help deliver the baby.  So she did, and “I basically pulled  Amaya out,” she says. “Peter and I held her, and then the birth mother and I hugged for a long time. That was profound. That was one of the most meaningful moments I’ve ever had in my life.”

Hargitay and Hermann soon learned something else: There was another baby, a boy, two months premature and very fragile. He was being released from the neonatal intensive care unit in a hospital in another state, and he was adoptable. “I don’t really know what to say about it, other than it was a no-brainer. Peter and I both thought, Let’s do it! I’m in!” she says. “It was like…a miracle. And I don’t use that word lightly. I’ve never made a bigger decision so quickly. The whole thing happened in a total of two days.”

“Adoption was a bumpy ride—very bumpy,” she says, as a huge smile lights up her face. “But, God, was it worth the fight.”

Photos by Good Housekeeping

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