At 42, Mariska Hargitay had her first biological child, and after several more attempts, she knew adopting was the way to have the large family she and her husband wanted. Here’s a look at her adoption journey
Mariska Hargitay, born on January 23, 1964, majored in theatre and gave her first performance in “Ghoulies” in 1984. She played a recurring role in “ER” before landing the role of Detective Olivia Benson in “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” in 1999.
She did her own stunt work and reaped the benefits of her hard work as she soon became the highest-paid actress on television. Winning the Emmy and Golden Globe awards for her performance crowned her achievements.
Hargitay also starred in “Plain Truth” in 2004 and became an activist. To help survivors of domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault, she founded a non-profit organization called “Joyful Heart Foundation.”
She directed the 400th episode of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and broke the record for playing the same character, Olivia Benson, consecutively, most seasons.
BECOMING A MOM LATER IN LIFE
Hargitay, who got married in 2004, welcomed her first child at 42 in 2006 with her husband, Peter Hermann. Their baby boy named August was born by Caesarean section. She said,
“August has changed everything! You know, I think because I became a mom later in life, everything in life means more. Every day is deeper and richer and more soulful.”
The ecstatic new mom at the time believed that life became more sacred with her son as she understood the value of everything a bit more.
A HEARTBREAKING FIRST ATTEMPT AT ADOPTION
After Hargitay had her first baby, getting pregnant again at her age was not easy, and her son wanted siblings. Also, she and her husband had wanted a big family because they both came from large families.
Besides having their children, Hermann and Hargitay always knew they would adopt kids. Hargitay, who lost her mother at a young age, learned that a mother didn’t necessarily have to be biological.
Hargitay and her husband contacted an “amazing,” intuitive adoption lawyer and began their journey. They visited homes, endured some false starts, and had several cases that didn’t work out.
The couple had hope when they met a pregnant young woman who would have a girl. They arranged to meet with her after several vetting processes, and after the meeting, Hargitay was thrilled.
Hargitay and the birth mother talked to each other for a month, and when it was time for the delivery, the birth mother called Hargitay. When Hargitay got to the hospital, they handed her the newborn.
She and Hermann bonded with the baby for two blissful days and even named her before the birth mother changed her mind. It was devastating for Hargitay, and she said,
“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.”
Hargitay felt honored to have been part of the process and saw it as a profound blessing as she was part of the making of a union.
MARISKA HARGITAY TAKES ANOTHER TRY
Despite how heartbreaking their first attempt turned out, the couple pursued another opportunity. They wanted to adopt a girl because their son, August, wanted a sister.
The couple got introduced to a different woman who was expecting a baby. When they finally agreed on an arrangement, Hargitay felt the moment was too good to be true.
The birth mom was an African-American woman, but her race was not a factor for both the couple and the mother, who didn’t mind that white people would adopt her baby.
Initially, medical reports stated that the birth mom would have a boy, but it turned out to be a mistake as it was a girl. Not only was Hargitay in the delivery room, but she also helped deliver the baby.
Before the baby was born, the couple decided that they wanted her to have the same initials as August, and they chose the name Amaya meaning “princess,” “warrior,” and “night rain” in various languages.
THIRD TIME IS DEFINITELY A CHARM
They didn’t plan the arrival of their third child. After adopting Amaya, August wanted a brother, and Hargitay said the timing to have more children was just perfect for them at the time. She said,
“A miracle happened and our second son, Andrew, fell out of the sky and into our home.”
Just as they were settling into having a new addition to their family, they lost a dear friend Andrew and shortly after, their lawyer called to inform them of a two-month premature and very fragile baby boy.
They had just released the boy from the neonatal intensive care unit, and he was adoptable. The couple went to the hospital and met the birth mother, who had been through a lot.
The whole ordeal happened fast, and in just two days, another member has joined their family. Hermann and Hargitay named the boy Andrew after their lost friend.
THE ACTRESS LOVES RAISING DIFFERENT KIDS
The actress with a diverse home says her kids are different and do not respond to the same things. Andrew took “Big Muscles” classes because he was born prematurely.
The class helped him with balance and development. Amaya loves music; she comes alive and starts dancing when the music and drumming starts.
However, they were all in swimming classes because water is a fear for every parent, and Hargitay needed to know that all her kids knew what to do in the water. She also loves learning what each child likes so that she can encourage and support them.
As an older brother, August loved his role and had wanted more kids around. He seemed to have wanted another sister to have an equal number of boys and girls
For Hargitay, who is emotional about her family and is a hands-on mother, she said,
“The thing that’s made me a better parent is my kids because they taught me to really listen. My husband is my North Star, and my kids are my teachers.”
Despite the challenges they had faced in their early years of trying to adopt, Hargitay believes she would never have wanted it any other way because their family is perfect for her.