“The thought that a daughter of mine would be anything like I was scared me senseless,” laughed Sandra Bullock, mom of two, one of whom is a beautiful little girl named Laila.
The Oscar-winning actress has gotten over her fears since then. Sandra’s journey to motherhood was anything but traditional, but becoming a “forever parent” changed her life immeasurably.
Hoda Kotb and Sandra Bullock cried their way through this interview — and so did we.
In a candid interview with Today‘s Hoda Kotb, herself an adoptive mom, Sandra opened up about motherhood, misgivings, and feeling as though she almost missed her chance. The women, then both 53 years old, compared notes in a frank, emotional conversation that had audiences everywhere reaching for the tissues.
Today, Sandra is mom to Louis Bardo, aged 9, and Laila, aged 7. The actress has had phenomenal success in the film industry, but her children are now (and forevermore) her number one priority.
"There are hundreds of thousands of children that are ready to be your child. You’re a forever parent the minute you accept the love of that child."
“Everything is about them being okay,” she expressed. “Being in school, having what they need; their moments. It’s harder for me to leave them than I think it is for them when I leave. I don’t leave that much,” the devoted mom shared, “and I don’t work that much anymore, either.”
But parenthood wasn’t always such a no-brainer for Sandra. In fact, when the actress reached her forties, she began to accept that children might not factor into her future after all. It was the words of her late mother, German-born opera singer Helga Mathilde Meyer, reverberating in her mind that changed everything: “You just wait till you have a daughter!”
Star opens up about her gorgeous family
When Hurricane Katrina hit Florida and Louisiana in 2005, the actress knew exactly where and how she was needed. “Katrina happened in New Orleans,” Sandra opened up, through tears, “and I knew. Like, just something told me that my child was there.”
She didn’t hesitate.
According to the Daily Mail, Sandra began the lengthy bureaucratic process of registering as an adoptive mom, eventually waiting five long years before meeting her son, Louis. The maternal bond was immediate; the devoted mom even bought a house in the New Orleans Garden District so that Louis could grow up near his original home.
“There are hundreds of thousands of children that are ready to be your child,” Sandra shared passionately, pausing to hold back tears. “You’re a forever parent the minute you accept the love of that child.” Parenting was the missing puzzle piece that the actress had been daydreaming of.
And it wasn’t just Louis for long; three-and-a-half-year-old Laila joined the family in 2015.
Becoming a mother wasn’t the only message that Helga Mathilde left for her daughter before she died. “Before my mom passed away, we had a moment at her bedside where I was shut down and trying not to cry,” Sandra shared. “She simply said, ‘Don’t be like me.'”
“She didn’t want me to go through life shut down, afraid of feeling,” the emotional actress explained. “Well, life has made sure I feel everything now, and I’m not ashamed to admit it anymore!”
“This is my purpose.”