Mariska Hargitay talks adoption struggles: “Adoption is not for the faint of heart”

Mariska Hargitay

Mariska Hargitay covers the new issue of Good Housekeeping, and the interview excerpts from the cover story are pretty good. We haven’t talked about Mariska much since she adopted two babies within six months last year – she welcomed daughter Amaya and son Andrew into her family, which includes husband Peter Hermann and her oldest child, August. In this piece, Mariska talks about her babies and the adoption process:

Mariska Hargitay is used to dealing with heart-stopping situations on Law & Order: SVU, but nothing on-screen compares to her harrowing experience adopting two children. In the span of six months last year, Hargitay and her husband, actor Peter Hermann, adopted both daughter Amaya Josephine, now 13 months old, and son Andrew Nicolas, 9 months.

Hargitay and Hermann have a biological son, August, 5½, whom Hargitay says is feeling “pretty good and pretty powerful” about his younger siblings.

“August thinks this was all his idea,” Hargitay tells Good Housekeeping in their May issue. “He said, ‘I want a baby sister,’ and Amaya came. Then he said, ‘I want a baby brother,’ and Andrew came.”

But in actuality, the process was not that easy. In fact, Hargitay says the building of their family was, at times, heartbreaking.

“I’m not gonna lie,” Hargitay admits. “There were wrenching moments. I say to everybody, ‘Adoption is not for the faint of heart.’”

Because Hargitay was 42 when she gave birth to August, she and Hermann were concerned about being able to have additional children, she admits.

“August wanted siblings, and Peter and I both envisioned this big family because we both come from that,” she says. “I really did think that down the line, Peter and I would adopt a child. That was always part of the plan.”

She and Hermann began the process two years ago, meeting with an adoption lawyer and going through home inspections to get the ball rolling.

After a couple of failed attempts to connect with a birth mother, Hargitay says, they found someone not far from New York City. After Hargitay and Hermann met the woman, finalized the adoption plan, were present in the delivery room, named the newborn and parented her for two days, the birth mother changed her mind, according to Hargitay.

“It was nothing short of devastating,” Hargitay explains. “But … 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.”

Hargitay says she still keeps in touch with the woman and, though she has not seen the baby again, feels that she is “forever connected to her.”

Then, just over a year ago, she and Hermann were connected with the woman who gave birth to Amaya. Though Hargitay says they were initially told the baby would be a boy, they were thrilled to find out they would be having a little girl. Hargitay even helped to deliver Amaya in the hospital.

“Peter and I held her, and then the birth mother and I hugged for a long time,” she recalls. “That was profound. That was one of the most meaningful moments I’ve ever had in my life.”

Though they had wanted to wait about 18 months before adopting a second child, as fate would have it, they received word just half a year later that there was a premature baby boy awaiting adoption.

“It was a no-brainer,” Hargitay says. “It was like … a miracle. And I don’t use that word lightly. I’ve never made a bigger decision so quickly.”

They decided to name the infant Andrew, after a dear friend of theirs who had recently passed away. Andrew still struggles with health issues, and the family has a private nurse living with them to tend to him, but Hargitay says she wouldn’t change a thing about how her family was formed.

“Adoption was a bumpy ride — very bumpy,” she notes. “But, God, was it worth the fight.”

[From People]

Okay, am I the only one who teared up? My eyes are still welled with tears about the part about “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.” And the story about the birth mother changing her mind two days later… GAH. Mariska just made me cry. I’ve heard that Mariska’s husband is a deeply religious man (their first date was going to church), and I have no doubt that this journey has been deeply spiritual for both Mariska and Peter.

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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34 Responses to “Mariska Hargitay talks adoption struggles: “Adoption is not for the faint of heart””

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  1. Bite me says:

    bless them … Truly , deeply

  2. Nanz says:

    Tears. I’m glad their initial heartbreak had a happy ending.

  3. guest says:

    Nope, not the only one. Very moving story. I really wish them all the best.

  4. MrsBarneyStinson says:

    Damn! I teared up as well. So glad that they got their happy ending.

  5. Suz says:

    Wow. What an incredibly generous spirit they both have.There are many people who would not have seen the good in the birth mother changing her mind, but they did. I am impressed. And I don’t say that often about celebrities.

  6. k says:

    I’m supposed to feel sorry for her because she clearly only wanted to adopt newborns and not older children?

    • Linney says:

      Who tells you to feel sorry for her? It looks like she’s happy with how things turned out. She’s not looking for pity. I mean, hell, she adopted a child with medical needs. You think that child will be first in line to be adopted by most people? What more do you want from her?

    • Mook123 says:

      K, I feel sorry for you.

    • DeltaJuliet says:

      So what you’re saying is the newborns should have been shuttled off to an orphanage? Good lord get a grip. Two children, one of whom apparently has disabilites, got a loving home. STFU

    • angel says:

      She adopted two children that needed a family (one special needs). Who cares if they were babies? And yay on her for adopting from the US. And I say this as someone who adopted a 9 year old through the Foster care system. Children of all ages need families.

    • SweetLou says:

      @ K…DUMBEST POST EVER! Try reading what you just said out loud!

  7. Linney says:

    It’s really kind of lovely that she has such a positive attitude about the first mother wanting to keep her baby and thinking it was the right decision for everyone. I like that she doesn’t show an ounce of bitterness.

  8. Franny says:

    I love reading stories like this about people. I feel it evens out the crap other celebrities through out into the universe. Just good people being good. I love that.

    • TQB says:

      Much love to Celebitchy for bringing us these stories – you are much more willing to bring us happy news than other sites. These days I almost exclusively read the positive stories.

  9. lisa says:

    Adoption is always a beautiful thing. Giving a child a home, regardless of country or race.

    I love how happy she sounds with her family. But the thing that makes me sick is how depending on the celeb. Some are accused of buying children or collecting children. It is offensive when those kinds of comments are posted. Just shows the mind set of some people and their unjust and biased hate.

    So happy for her and her husband. Building their family the way they choose.

  10. JessSaysNo says:

    Good for them! Very heartbreaking about the failed adoption the first time though.

  11. bamafresh says:

    I like the snarky stuff, but this was a very nice story to post.

  12. Liane says:

    Love her. Love this story. Love how open and frank she is. I’m an adoptive Mom and yes, it is an emotional roller coaster of a process. And it’s wonderful.

  13. lucy2 says:

    She has always seemed like a lovely woman, and I’m very happy for their family.
    What a moving story, it sounds like they’ve really been through a lot.
    One of my friend’s kids was born very premature, had a lot of medical issues and still requires a lot of extra work to help him. I give Mariska and Peter a credit for taking that on, even with additional help. I was very surprised they adopted again so soon, but it seems like their son really needed them, and they found each other.

  14. fabgrrl says:

    No, not the only one. I am sniffling a bit.

  15. the original bellaluna says:

    LOVE. HER. She’s just so refreshingly real in a world full of BS-filled people. (And yeah, I teared up too.)

  16. januaries says:

    This story just warms my heart. I have a son born extremely premature. Parenting a preemie is not for the meek. Preemies are so much more than just tiny babies and require much more additional care than a healthy baby. The fact that she adopted this little guy, knowing, I am sure, the difficulties involved, the potential for special needs/disabilities, and is giving him an excellent home, is wonderful.

  17. Loralei says:

    She’s right. The adoption process is brutal. People think there’s all these kids out there that need to be adopted, and it’s such an easy thing to do, but they make it so impossible to fulfill all if the requirements that unless you’re someone like Madonna who can buy a couple of schools, then you’re screwed. Yes, there are alot if kids who need parents, but the bureaucracy makes it almost impossible.

  18. Lisa says:

    Four of our seven kids are adopted, we adopted from infant up to 12 years, I would love to be able to hug any of their birthmothers and tell them thank you. There are four different women that I think of on birthdays and special occasions, I always hope that in some way they know their birth children are happy and safe. No..adoption is not for the faint of heart.

  19. Lauren says:

    MH is such a sweet & classy lady. Not to mention, a phenomenal actress. Wish her much happiness.

  20. Anon says:

    It is impossible not to love Mariska. She is authentic, simple and generous. Adoption is always an act of love. It has everything to do with Mariska. This one is a woman truly beautiful. Inside and outside.

  21. HoustonGrl says:

    Love her!

  22. I Choose Me says:

    Love, love this woman. She has such grace and class and seems like such a genuine, caring soul. This article was deeply moving and I’m now a fan of hers for life.

  23. Geo says:

    She has beautiful eyes and smile more beautiful universe. I think it is a reflection of his soul. Beautiful, inside and out. I love her deeply.

  24. Anastacia Beaverhouzen says:

    i love Mariska! <3 <3

  25. Rachel says:

    I love her, too, and this was a great story. Did anyone else notice her grip on the kid (August?)’s wrist? That looks like a kid who wants to get away, LOL!

    • the original bellaluna says:

      I know! It looks like he’s trying to hide behind Mommy from the photogs! Also refreshing, and real.

  26. Violet says:

    What a moving story. I’m glad she shared the trials and joys of the process, so that others might be inspired.