It was November when we met you on a cold, rainy day in New York City.
My husband and I were in town for an event. Without our gaggle of girls, we trudged through miles of crowds and puddles; we even survived a handful of street corner taxi-cab splashes before making our way to Rockefeller Plaza where I caught a glimpse of you and Kathie Lee through a large window.
Your program had just finished taping. I grabbed the handle on the nearest door, and to my surprise it effortlessly pulled open.
"Hoda!" I yelled, waving frantically in your direction. I felt like you were a friend I'd known forever.
Despite my disheveled, frazzled fan-girly self, you walked over and grabbed my rain-soaked hand.
I introduced myself. I told you I loved your books and your work and God only knows what else I said.
Your smile radiated after hearing how we found happiness in the way our family was built.
But what I didn't know -- and couldn't have known then -- was that you were on a similar journey. That you, too, had experienced the inkling to pursue adoption and the unflinching desire to be a momma.
If I had the chance, here's what I would've said had I known you were adopting:
Congratulations, Hoda momma-to-be!
I'm so excited to watch this journey unfold.
It's not an easy road, but neither was the road that likely led you here.
The coming weeks and months may drag on. Paperwork and background questionnaires will consume you, but this is only temporary.
One day the paperwork will subside, and the waiting will begin.
There will be days where fear and doubt occasionally creep their way into your heart. But when they do, remember this is part of your purpose. Your plan. Your family's journey.
"Don't dig up in doubt what you planted in faith." - Elisabeth Elliot
There will be moments of despair along the way. Moments of hurt. Moments of heartache. Moments you wish others understood the pure joy and bittersweetness of it all.
There will be days you want to give up. Days you feel like your journey to motherhood hasn't been fair. Days you feel like you've had to work extra hard for what has come so easily and freely for others.
There will be days you question your decision to pursue adoption. Whether it's worth the financial and emotional risks involved.
But there will be a day when your waiting will end. When you get that phone call, nervously embrace your child for the first time and cry tears of joy and sadness all at once.
There will be a moment you forget what life was like before you were a mother. Where you forget what sleep felt like because all you want to do is stare at your daughter swaddled in her bassinet and watch her breathe.
There will be a day your daughter reaches her arms up for you and finds comfort only you can provide. A day she takes her first wobbly step into your arms. A day she runs to you as you walk through the front door after work. A day she says, "Mommy!" for the first time. A day she waves goodbye with a backpack so big it hits behind her knees as she runs off to preschool. A day you blink and she grows up and you marvel at the young woman your daughter has become.
There will be a day you wonder what you talked about, thought about and prayed about before this baby girl stole your heart. It will be unfathomable to imagine what life was like before her, and what it would've been like without her.
There will be a day -- multiple days, actually -- where you pinch yourself and wonder how you were handpicked to raise this beautiful daughter as her mother. How you were deemed worthy of such a precious, beautiful perfect gift.
There will be a day you realize the journey to your daughter wasn't always easy, but it was worth it. It was absolutely worth it.
Read more about Shelley's journey through infertility, adoption and pregnancy at ShelleySkuster.com.