In More’s November cover story, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit star Mariska Hargitay reveals the difficult path that finally brought her the joy of an adopted daughter. But no sooner had Amaya settled into her new home—and our story gone to press—than Hargitay and husband Peter Hermann learned another baby, soon to be named Andrew, was on his way.
“We really wanted to adopt again,” Hargitay says, “because we didn’t want Amaya to be alone in her experience. But we thought it would take a year. This was the exact opposite of our experience with Amaya—it just fell into our laps, out of nowhere, which is my favorite thing about life. My motto is, Follow the signs and be open to the gift. Out of the blue, we got this call.”
Andrew, now three months, joins Amaya, seven months, and the Hermanns’ son August, age five. Hargitay admits the family’s rapid expansion has been “a huge change, ginormous and extremely unexpected. But I was actually thrilled. I grew up with two brothers, so three was the magic number in the back of my head. We used to talk about twins, and now we have our own version of twins.”
Amaya immediately took to Andrew, Hargitay reports: “When we first got home, she just stared at him. Now she laughs at him. She’s so adorable—she puts her arm around him, gently puts her hand on him.” Big brother August has also stepped up to the plate. “He’s so excited,” Hargitay says. “This morning he said, ‘Let’s have 100 babies!’ It’s fun for him to be the big man on campus. When the babies cry, he says, ‘It’s OK, Mommy. I like loud babies. I like loud noises.’ ”
Still, Hargitay and Hermann, who is currently starring in the Broadway production of War Horse, know challenges await. “When we took August to buy his Halloween costume, we were holding hands with August in the middle, and we thought, Oh my God, in two years there will be five of us. One child is so manageable, and all of a sudden three!”
At the moment, Hargitay says, the biggest hurdle is “organization and scheduling. Just bath time is a challenge. When the two are crying at once, it’s hard on your nerves. You need a new skill set to keep calm. I feel I’m cut in three.”
Twenty years ago, did the actress ever envision she’d be plunged into such joyful chaos? “Yes and no,” she says. “I always knew I wanted a big family, to be a mom, have a bunch of kids. And I always thought about adopting. Did I ever think I’d have it? Not necessarily, but all the thoughts were there. Because I lost my mom so early, I identified with kids who didn’t have mothers. When we were kids, there were orphanages, and I always thought I’d do something with an orphanage, with my philanthropy. That’s where my heart was. There are so many kids who don’t have homes.
“But now my reasons are completely selfish! I feel so blessed to have these beautiful souls in my life. I feel like I’m in a house full of angels. They squeeze my heart.”
Mariska Hargitay is our November 2011 cover girl! Read her story here.
Want MORE Mariska? Check out our slideshow!
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