Hoda Kotb is back from maternity leave!

On April 17, the “TODAY” family welcomed Kotb back to the show for the first time since she adopted daughter Haley Joy. Kotb admitted that the first day back was tough for her and fought back tears as she was welcomed back by Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer.

“I’m scared to be sitting here,” she admitted. “I’m a little afraid that I might explode into tears.”

To lighten the mood, Lauer decided to crack a little joke.

“I thought it was ’cause you were miserable being back and you just broke down in tears, but it’s just all of the emotions of the last two and a half months,” he laughed.

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Kotb admitted that seeing all of her colleagues over the last two months has made her emotional but she is happier than ever.

“I’m feeling great. I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy,” she said reaching for the box of tissues. After composing herself, she added, “I’m going to get professional! OK, I’m ready.”

Kotb was welcomed back by fans and hugged each one in the plaza.

“Is it hard to get back into the swing of things?” Lauer asked.

Kotb said it was “a little hard” to say goodbye to her baby.

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“But, I have to tell you, when I walked in, there’s something about looking into the eyes of people who are just happy for you that makes me explode, which is why I was doing that with all of you guys and everyone who is out here,” she said with a big smile. “I’m blessed to be able to have this great family and a little girl at home waiting for me,” she said, tearing up again.

“It’s gonna be a long month!” Lauer joked.

Later on “TODAY,” Kotb opened up about her adoption journey in a pre-recorded segment for the show.

“You think that by a certain stage in your life, I’ve had every experience that I’ve had, and then all of a sudden she shows up. I felt like in my life, I’ve had joy beyond what I could have imagined, but this is beyond a dream. Like, you had your dreams and then this,” she said. “I never believed in love at first sight until now.”

The new mom said that when she first decided she wanted to be a mother, she thought it was “too late” because she had already been through a divorce and a cancer battle.

“You just think, ‘OK, I don’t get everything and it’s OK,'” she said. Eventually, she talked it over with her boyfriend, Joel Schiffman and they decided to go through with it. ”

“When I look at her I see forever. I see past me,” Kotb said through tears. “I see the future, which I guess I never saw.”

(H/T E! News)

Nicole is a content editor with Rare. 
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