April 5th, 2012
03:44 PM ET
“Law & Order: SVU” star Mariska Hargitay has spoken out about a very painful episode in her life.
The actress told Good Housekeeping she was “devastated” by an adoption attempt that left her baby-less, and, for a little while, extremely sad.
“I’m not gonna lie,” she says in the magazine’s May issue. “There were wrenching moments. I say to everybody, ‘Adoption is not for the faint of heart.’”
What she’s referring to is an incident where she and her husband Peter Hermann adopted a baby girl - only to have the child’s birth mother change her mind two days after they took the infant home.
"It was nothing short of devastating,” Hargitay reportedly said through tears. “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."
Fortunately the couple would go on to have their own happy ending. Soon after the incident, they were able to adopt not one but two babies - the first of which was also a little girl.
"The whole thing was kind of … storybook. It was almost too good to be true," Hargitay said of meeting the second birth mom, who not only agreed to let the actress be in the delivery room but also help deliver the baby.
"I basically pulled Amaya out," she said. "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."
A little boy quickly came next.
He was two months premature and being released from the neonatal intensive care unit in a hospital in another state, she recounted.
Immediately Hargitay said she knew he was their son.
"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 said. "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 concluded. “But, God, was it worth the fight."
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