Hoda Kotb shared the sweet meaning behind her "M" necklace In a recent segment on Today, opening up to her co-host Jenna Bush Hager. "'M' stands for Mom," she explained before launching into the meanings behind the other two parts of her three necklaces that she stacks. "I have 'Hailey' and 'Hope' on (one of them). Then I have an 'I love you Mama' on this one," she said. "All of them are my girls."
After Hager asked if she thought "'Mom' is the best title," Kotb agreed. "The 'M' is so me. That would be the initial I would want to wear if not my kids' initials," she said. "'Cause who knew that I was gonna get to wear that initial?"
During a discussion about parenthood on PEOPLE's new podcast Me Becoming Mom in October, the Today co-anchor revealed the sweet way she talks to daughters Hope Catherine and Haley Joy about adoption, sharing that they understand they came from her "heart" and not her "tummy."
At just 2 and 4 years old, Kotb's daughters on occasion ask, "Did a baby ever come from your tummy?" Kotb hasn't avoided discussing their adoption with them, instead sweetly explaining, "No. It didn't.' And [my daughter] said, 'Okay, I'm adopted.' They say that all the time." While Kotb, who was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 42 and is unable to conceive after undergoing treatment, admitted she isn't sure if little Hope and Haley "100% know" what adoption means, she said they do understand what she means when she tells them, "You didn't come from Mommy's tummy, you came from my heart."
"We haven't had the big discussions about it, because I think that is to come. But in this moment, they know that they are adopted," Kotb continued. "I tell them how cool it is. I tell them that their cousin Ella was adopted and, you know, 'All the cool kids were adopted' – they get such a kick out of that."
Kotb and her fiancé, Joel Schiffman, adopted their oldest daughter in February 2017, naming her after "Halley's Comet, which makes an appearance once every 75 years." Speaking about the significance of her name on the Me Becoming Mom podcast, Kotb noted, "it's once in a blue moon that something beautiful like that happens." Two years later, the couple made Haley a big sister when adopted Hope in 2019. Reflecting on being a mother, the NBC anchor said, "Some days I'll wake up and I'll go, 'Do I really have two kids sleeping down the hall from me?' When you think life passed you by, just slow down a minute and see, maybe it didn't."
As Kotb enjoys life as a mom-of-two, she and Schiffman are hoping to add one more kid to the mix. Speaking on The Drew Barrymore Show last year, Kotb revealed that she and Schiffman "filled out the paperwork and say it's in God's hands, like, come what may. I just know your heart's ability to expand blows my mind, you can fit so much love in there." Shae later revealed that COVID had stalled the adoption process to a certain extent, and her adoption agency told them, "Wait wisely and just be, so we're just gonna be."