Mariska Hargitay: Daughter Amaya ‘Soothes My Heart’

05/01/2011 at 05:00 PM ET
RJ Capak/INF

The adoption of daughter Amaya Josephine one month ago was the missing puzzle piece for the Hargitay-Hermann family.

“It’s very soothing to the heart,” Mariska Hargitay told PEOPLE Wednesday at the Good Shepherd Services Spring Gala in New York. “I feel like she really completed our little family of four.”

Of course, it helps that the newborn has a tranquil personality thus far.

“You never know what you’re going to get with the second baby and so I was sort of nervous about it,” the Law & Order: SVU star, 47, laughs. “She’s so zen and so peaceful. I can’t quite believe how easy she’s been — her disposition.”

“She’s not fussy, she doesn’t cry much … she’s just very peaceful,” adds Hargitay. “I feed her, she sleeps. It’s pure magic. I feel very blessed.”

Big brother August, 4½, is especially helpful and enjoys assisting Mom with Amaya’s bottles.

“Today I actually took [Amaya] to pick him up from school,” Hargitay shares. “He was very excited when he introduced her to all of his classmates. It’s very sweet, he’s very proud of her.”

— Mary S. Park

FILED UNDER: Exclusive , News , Parenting

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randi on

She’s an awesome lady and her daughter lucked out to be placed with this family.

amanda on

I love Mariska; she is one of my favorite actresses. She is such a beautiful lady inside and out. Her children has a wonderful mom. God Bless her family.

Vicky on

Mariska has such a wonderful and kind soul. I’m very happy for her and her husband for adding onto their family. They adopted such a beautiful little girl. My heart also goes out to Amaya’s birth mother. I’m sure it must not have been easy for her to see her daughter she bravely gave up mentioned in news papers and articles and on the news but she should be grateful her daughter went to such amazing people who’ll love her.

Karen on

This is one of the finest women on TV. A class act all the way around and an excellent actress. I wish her and her family all the best!!

Sharonh on

A beautiful woman, inside and out….A true class act..

Tee on

I love reading interviews with Mariska! She sounds totally in love with her new daughter and that story of August introducing his sister to his classmates is really sweet.

Alix on

I am a huge fan of Mariska Hargitay….the new addition to her family is just wonderful. Lucky Mum, lucky baby!! Wishing them all the best xxx

annachestnut on

she looks lovely.

Lily26 on

Aww I love her daughter’s name. I don’t know if it’s made up or not but I always wanted to name my daughter that or Ava 😦 Guess it’s time to start looking for some new names lol.

Lori on

I am so glad that she and her husband chose to adopt over using a surrogate. I think surrogates are the best choice in some situations, but I really feel that there are plenty of babies and children already in existence that need love without people going to extremes to make a child just so it has their DNA.

Lee Jordan on

Wow, so happy for her, Best Wishes!!!

deb taylor on

What can I say, but “sweet”.

molly on

Could not agree with your more! I am sure they feel the same way; both equally lucky to have found one another! I wish them all the best and can’t wait to hear more great updates about this little one added to their family! So, so very happy for them!!!

Nikki on

Couldn’t agree with you more on that @Randi 🙂 That little girl is soo lucky <33

lorimarrara on

mariska shares all her love with her children. they will be two very lucky kids having her for a mother. i have no doubt in my mind she will be a awesome mom. she is a first class mom. my hats off to her.

MJ on

Great to hear! Much happiness to them all

OKE on

She IS an amazing woman. My best wishes for her happiness and her family’s. This little girl is very lucky indeed. She will have all the love she needs to flourish.

Indira on

I think both parties are lucky.

Linda on

Re Lori… as the mother of an adopted son and naturally born daughter,I can say that I honestly forget at times that my son was adopted . I have the same bonding with him as my daughter. So I totally agree that adopting is a great way to go. Mariska is a lucky ,lucky woman to have had the love in her heart to adopt.

Elizabeth on

@lily26: Amaya is a real name. It’s Japanese and means ‘night rain’. Although, from the interviews, they didn’t know that and believed that they made it up by adding an ‘A’ to ‘Maya’.

Dennis on

Mariska is one beautiful woman.Instead of adopting a child,I would have loved to have helped her make that child.(Wishful thinking,of course!)


One of the most beautiful human beings to grace this planet.. Kudos to you Mariska for being a great mother and role model to others!!

Yvonne Day on

I think it takes a very special person to adopt a child especially nowadays. With the poularity of shows like THE LOCATOR you are in essence just putting yourself out there to figurativly “Lease” the child since the birth parents are getting to come back and be so glorified. I dont believe that is right and wish that the laws would be changed so more people would feel more comforatble to adopt and know that their family will be protected as one. This has happend to me and I know the pain it can cause.It has torn our family apart becaue the birth father was an abuser. I see why so many people are adopting over seas so the liklyhood of this happening cut drastically. I pray that this family never has to go through this kind of heartache. Enjoy YOUR new baby!

Jen DC on

She seems like a very sweet woman, in love with her husband, blessed with an absolutely gorgeous son and now a new daughter. Makes you believe in goodness and hope and sweetness and light! (Ok, those last two were sarcastic!)

But yeah, congrats to the family!

olivia on


Mitsy on

Quite honestly, I’m sick of seeing celebrities adopting all these kids. At 47, you don’t need another baby. Angelina & Brad didn’t impress me with their adoption of all those foreign kids either. Then Sandra Bullock adopts a foreign baby & everyone seems to think she’s Mother Theresa. I think many are doing it for publicity & nothing more.

Lily26 on

@Elizabeth, really? That’s a really beautiful meaning, thanks 🙂 I’ve heard it in Farsi before that’s why I liked it. She does sound like an amazing woman though. I hope the best for all of them.

Anon on

@Mitsy, Sandra Bullock’s son is not “foreign.” If you are sick of seeing celebs adobt babies, how about not reading the articles? How do you know the intentions behind why people adopt? You make far fetched assumptions based on what? You know them personally? Only the truly miserable can find something so foul to say under such circumstances. Grow up!

Mia on

she just seems like such a sweet and whole hearted person. the adoption was no surprise.

Mia on

Poor people, she’s still in that adjustment stage, “I was just born, that was traumatic, now I’m tired and wanna sleep” Soon, she’ll figure out the outside world and then its on and poppin!

I’m happy for Mariska & her family, babies are such a blessing, they bring such joy!

Monica on

She is a great person. With all she has achieved; she manages to give back to help make the world a better place. God bless her and her family.

Todd on

Mariska, I have to give it to you. You are not only a terrific actress on a very highly rated tv show but your a great Mom as well. Being that I’m a guy and a huge fan of yours I can’t give you enough props for what you do for other Parents across the country. Don’t stop what your doing because it is a work of greatness.

SLH on

Congrats, we also adopted our daughter and had picked out Amaya also, means night rain in japanese…

Tisha on

Im so happy for Mariska and her family, love comes from the heart not the womb.

Nella on

What a sweet article! Mariska seems like such a great woman and devoted mother/wife. I also love that they adopted their daughter instead of using a surrogate. I wish them much happiness, they seem like a wonderful family.

Rose on

Aww how lovely ❤

lisa on

Mitsy,Sandra’s kid was born in new orleans. If your sick of reading about older people adopting kids,don’t.

Mia on

Re Mitsy – Celebrities don’t adopt children for publicity. Raising a child is a longterm and difficult commitment and very few people would go through it for 18+ years just to be in a newspaper. Especially when adopted children often have issues as a result of adoption. She may not ‘need’ another child but they wanted more children, and if they can give a home to a child that needs it what is the problem? Sandra Bullock’s baby is black but he isn’t ‘foreign’, he is American.

I think this is great. She seems like a nice woman and Amaya will have a lovely home with them.

Susan Albert on

Mariska is one of my favorite actressess. I am so hapy for her and her family. The baby has a beautiful name as does her son.

T. on

No way that baby is not gonna know right away that she is adopted. I feel bad for her birth mother having to see and hear about her being with a public person. Selling you kids pic for money just makes me sick. I can only imagine what the birth mother of this baby girl must be feeling.

Cat on


Sandra’s son was adopted from Louisiana. What is foreign about that?

Capri on

She’s so beautiful….inside & out. LOVE HER & very happy for her family & little Amaya!

Anne on

Congratulations to the family. Mariska is an act of love in every way. His life seems a constant prayer, with its humanitarian work. She is a beautiful woman, a talented actress and a great human figure. This child will be very happy.

Cecelia on

Only people on this site could spin a story about a family’s addition through adoption into something negative. Unbelievable.

Bill Davenport on

I wish that crazy Jim Bob Duggar would do something like that… Adopt a child in need instead of having all of those kids that your OTHER DAUGHTERS have to raise. jeeezzzz…. don’t even get me started. I think it is wonderful was Mariska and her family have done. A happy family!

ecl on

I like her and really have nothing against her, but I continue to find the way she describes her babies as odd. This one is zen. The last one was a miniature buddha and an old soul. It feels like she is projecting or something. What’s wrong with mellow and how can a baby be an old soul?

Geo on

I’m happy when I read anything about Mariska. She is extremely affectionate, sensitive, and humane. I think this is a lucky girl. And the girl’s biological mother should be aware of it. Mariska is so beautiful. She has a smile and a wonderful golden color.

Grace on

@Mia: Celebrities have adopted children for publicity in the past. If you read biographies about celebrities of the past (40s through the 60s) you’ll discover that.

But having said that, I don’t believe that all celebrities adopt for publicity and I don’t think it’s fair of Mitsy to assume all celebrities adopt for publicity just because some do.

Lynn on

I love Mariska she is my favorite actress and I love her even more now that she has given a home to a beautiful baby girl.

Kate on

Mitsy needs to get her facts straight before she vomits incorrect statements.

Teresa on

As a 47 year old Caucasian woman and the PROUD mother of a 3 year old adopted African American boy – I say GO Mariska! Age might be a factor when it comes to considering pregnancy/delivery but doesn’t have to be a factor in adoption. The only factor to consider in an adoption (or adding children to your family through any means) should be (1) can I provide them with the love and nurturing they need; and (2) can I afford to provide them with the food/shelter/medical care they need. If both of these can be answered yes then the child, the parents and the world are made a better place.

Adoption is not an easy process and can be time consuming – it is not like you can open a catalog, point to a picture and get it delivered tomorrow. I do not think race needs to be a factor in this either – a child is a child is a child and I could not love my son anymore than if he had been born to us! He is the child that God wanted us to have in our home and we are all blessed because of him. If you don’t want to hear about positive things, don’t read them and find something else to complain about.

Georgina on

Sorry but who actually NEEDS a child. If you go by NEED every single parent is selfish because weve all had babies for ourselves, for the happiness they bring to us. Thats an absoloutely ridiculous statement that at her age (and its not like shes 80 either) she doesnt need another baby. No one needs a baby, we WANT them.

And even at her age, babies have personalities, particularly, like Mariska has said, with it being your second baby, you notice all the difference between this one and your first. My first baby was so chilled and zen. I thought all babies were like that. Then we had number two, who was the complete opposite. Im sure the interviewer asked her about the baby, rather than Mariska just commondearing a reporter to talk about her babe.

I think its lovely August wants to show off his sister. Sounds like theyre the best of friends already.

dsfg on

T, I’m pretty sure the birth mother understood what she was doing when she allowed a public figure to adopt her child.

Anonymous on

God help any child of Mitsy’s – adopted or otherwise!

Cindy on

What is with people assuming that the birth mother had such a difficult time giving up the baby. You don’t know what arangements they made. I am sure before the adoption they made the potential birth mother know that Mariska was in the public eye and if it was going to be a problem with all the press about the baby then the adoption wouldn’t go through. I don’t think that Mariska would want to cause emotional pain for anyone, at least not when her foundation JHF is all about emotional healing. I mean think about it before you post, it’s just so simple. It’s not like she went into the delivery room, strapped the woman down and took the baby out of the woman. The woman had to sign papers, they had to give her time to change her mind.

romie on

@ Cindy…I’ve noticed that people like to assume things and then post their assumptions as if they are facts.
I’m gonna “assume” that maybe the birth mother knew exactly who Mariska was and still felt comfortable entrusting her with her child.
Congrats to Mariska and family.

Evan on

I have no words to express my admiration for Mariska. She’s beautiful, sweet, loving, wonderful, humane, sensitive and certainly a great mother. Amaya is a lucky girl and the family is to be congratulated.

Evie on

Mariska is one beautiful woman.Instead of adopting a child,I would have loved to have helped her make that child.(Wishful thinking,of course!)

– Dennis on May 1st, 2011

Wow, way to take a lovely post and turn it into sheer creepiness. I think there are thousands of websites that cater to your, um, ideas…so why don’t you find one of those and post there, Dennis.

Donna Wickert on

Mariska Hargitay is an inspiration to the world. Having lost her mom at three years old, she has turned her sadness into joy through her obvious life of giving back to the world the talent that she received from her mom and dad.

Her work with the Joyful Heart foundation and the adoption of Amaya Josephine are such acts of generosity.

God Bless You Mariska for all that you are doing through the Foundation and Beyond.

Your Law and Order SVU is amazing.

I have been a social worker in Albany for thirty-five years. Learning about how you have used your talent to reach out to so many is such an uplifting and wonderful story. Thank you, Mariska. Donna Wickert

dimples on

she,s my favorite actress on tv, love law and order svu great show, the show rocks everyone just connects like FAmily hOPES SHE HAS A .great mother,s day ACTUALLY i,M WAITING FOR THE SHOW NOW LOVE IT CAN,T GET ENOUGH OF IT. great show guys. bless u all FOR MAKING MY wEDNSEDAY GREAT

ISISDaWonder on

@ Lily26 Hi. Amaya means Night Rain in Arabic and Japanese. It means High Place in Spanish.

Janet on

I hope they all have a life of love, health, and happiness. I imagine not everyone will feel the same, so good for her for going with her heart. I can just imagine how loved her baby will be.

Vigs on

It’s entirely possible that the birth mother did not know to whom her child went. A celebrity has the monetary means for a private and out-of-state adoption. Though I’m sure MH and PH would have no problem if their daughter eventually wanted to find her birth mother down the road.

The great example is her co-star, Meloni. He has two children, through a surrogate, I think? And he could not be more in love with his children. Mariska grew up in a non-traditional family–in the public eye and surviving great tragedy–so I believe she knows the value of a family in any form.

Also, don’t forget MH had those health problems last year–a collapsed lung, I think? So maybe she felt now was the time to focus on family. I can’t believe the people who have come on here to say cynical things about why celebrities adopt. The same could be said about people who have children naturally, celeb or not. How ridiculous. I wish the best for Mariska and her entire familY!


there are so many awful parents out there, amaya is lucky and so is her family, she will get the chance to grow up in a family. a mom and dad and siblings the old way, makes happy well rounded people, that they deserve to be, and have a happy well rounded childhood. and believe in God and salute the flag, and love america. i hope her parents are conservatives. God Bless the family.

Patrice on

Mariska is the sweetest person . . . She is a radiating center of God’s divine love. What a blessing to give a loving home to a child.