Hoda Kotb Worried If Fiancé Hadn't Been Open to Adoption It Would Have Been 'End of a Relationship'

"There was like a second in there, I was like, 'This is the end of a relationship or the beginning of a family,' " Hoda Kotb recalls of asking Joel Schiffman about adoption for the first time

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Photo: Hoda Kotb/ Instagram

Hoda Kotb is looking back at the moment she first introduced the idea of adoption to her then-boyfriend Joel Schiffman.

The Today co-host, 57, appears on the first-ever episode of PEOPLE's newest podcast Me Becoming Mom, where she discusses her journey to adopting daughters Hope Catherine, 2, and Haley Joy, 4, and how Schiffman offered early support in the process.

"I was terrified," Kotb recalls of bringing up adoption to Schiffman, 63, for the first time. " 'How am I going to say this?' I don't know his reaction. I think what I was probably the most scared of was that I knew I was going to do it anyway."

The mom of two says her "heart was pounding and [she] was sweaty" when she approached Schiffman with the idea.

"I said to him, 'Joel, I have to ask you something. I haven't been sleeping well lately because it's been weighing on me and I can't carry it anymore. So I'm going to say something to you and I don't want you to answer me right now. I want you to sit with it and take your time. Don't answer. Just take a week, take as long as you need,' " she recalls. "And he was like, 'What is she going to tell me?' "

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"I looked him in the eye and I said, 'I would like to explore adoption with you.' And there was like a second in there, I was like, 'This is the end of a relationship or the beginning of a family.' This is happening in a snap, in an instant," she tells host Zoë Ruderman, Head of Digital at PEOPLE.

"My heart was pounding and he just looked at me and he said, 'I don't need a week,' " Kotb says. "In that moment, I fell on his chest and was sobbing. He said, 'I didn't know you were carrying that.' "

<a href="https://people.com/tag/hoda-kotb" data-inlink="true">Hoda Kotb</a> Instagram
Hoda Kotb and family. Hoda Kotb Instagram

"I knew in that moment I chose right because it was the thing that would make me the happiest on earth ... He made all the decisions so easy and clear," she adds. "I said, 'I chose right. I chose a man who chose my happiness over his convenience maybe in that moment.' "

The 12-episode weekly Me Becoming Mom podcast explores the various roads to motherhood through different interviews with both celebrity guests and experts in the field. Topics on the show include IVF, adoption, surrogacy, single parenthood, same-sex couples, home births, pregnancy loss, unexpected and surprising birth stories, among other subjects.

Upcoming guests on the show include Alyssa Milano, Padma Lakshmi, Tamron Hall and more.

New episodes of Me Becoming Mom drop weekly on Thursdays wherever you stream podcasts.

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