Mariska Hargitay and Peter Hermann Open Up About Adoption and Their Unique Brood

Mariska Hargitay and Peter Hermann tell PEOPLE in this week's cover story how adopting their last two children contributed to the love their family shares

Mariska Hargitay and Peter Hermann have created a successful 15-year marriage, but for the happy couple, their decision to adopt their two younger children was one that really strengthened their unconditional bond.

After the Law and Order: SVU star gave birth to their son August Miklos Friedrich in June 2006, the couple opted to adopt their next two children. They first welcomed now-8-year-old daughter Amaya Josephine in 2011 and then, four months later, son Andrew Nicolas to their family after his birth that summer.

“Having lost my mom at a young age, I then grew up with my stepmom, and I have half siblings, and so I know that families can be built in all sorts of different ways, that there isn’t just one way to create a family and that it isn’t just about biology,” Hargitay, 55, says in the latest issue of PEOPLE.

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Courtesy Mariska Haritgay

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“We adopted Amaya, and Andrew, I always describe it as this angel that fell out of the sky, because he was a little unexpected,” the actress continues.

The decision to add two more children to their family, while surprising at first, was a pivotal moment in the pair’s marriage, and for the better.

“It’s something that happened very quickly, when adoption can take a long time,” Hargitay adds. “We were so beautifully and surprisingly … not because we’re not in sync, but surprisingly in sync about something so huge. So momentous.”

6/24 people magazine
Cliff Watts

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For Hermann, 51, the unconventional manner in which he and his wife increased their tribe only added to the love he has for his family of five.

“It’s funny, I always get so private about our kids, but I think that the easiest way or the easiest answer is we just wanted a bigger family and we feel incredibly blessed,” the Younger star tells PEOPLE.

Mariska Hartigay and Peter Hermann

Adds the Emmy-winning actress, “I think there is such beauty in the divine architecture of how this family was built.”

For more from Mariska Hargitay and Peter Hermann, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

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