Hoda Kotb talks emotional adoption following cancer battle, shares boyfriend Joel Schiffman's reaction to baby news

Hoda Kotb didn't know if motherhood was in the cards for her after cancer left her unable to conceive. That was until last month when she brought home her newborn daughter, Haley Joy.

The Today show co-host shares with People magazine the emotional journey that led to her to adopt Haley -- who was born on Valentine's Day and weighed in at 8 lbs., 8 oz. -- after years of thinking she'd never have a child of her own.

"One of the things in my life I've always wanted was to be a mom," Kotb says. "Sometimes in your life, things just don't work out for whatever reason, so you say, 'Well, I wasn't meant to have that.' But it was really hard to come to terms with it."

WATCH: See All the Clues Hoda Kotb Adopted and What Inspired Daughter Haley Joy's Name

The 52-year-old TV personality admits that "there was a hole" in her life before Haley. "People would say, 'Oh, do you have kids?' And I'd feel like, 'Ouch.' I knew inside it was supposed to be for me," she recalls, revealing that she even considered being a school teacher or running a summer camp. "Finally I said to myself one day, 'Why can't I? Why not me?' I had this ache in me that I couldn't push away anymore."

That's when Kotb approached her boyfriend, 58-year-old financier Joel Schiffman, about the possibility of her adopting a child. "I was afraid to even say it out loud, because then it felt so real," she shares. "I said, 'Think about it for a day or a week or whatever.' And he said, 'I don't need a day. Let's get this journey going.' At that point I blubbered like a baby. It was like the dam burst."

Greenwich International Film Festival's Changemaker Honoree GalaHoda Kotb and Joel Schiffman (Photo: Getty)

WATCH: Hoda Kotb Posts Her Weight on Instagram, Says It's 'Time to Drop Some Pounds'

While Schiffman's name is not on the adoption papers -- the magazine says this was to "simplify the process" -- Kotb says, "Haley will call him dad."

Kotb is currently taking time off from the Today show to be with her newborn, and tells People that she can't believe how much her life has changed in such a short amount of time. "I wake up sometimes and go, 'Oh my God, I have a baby!' " she exclaims. "But it feels totally real. I guess if you've been waiting this long for something, and you wish for it, pray for it, hope for it, wonder if it will ever be, and then it happens, nothing's more real. Nothing.

PHOTO: Al Roker Meeting Hoda Kotb's Infant Daughter Haley Is Too Cute!

On Feb. 21, Kotb suprised Today show viewers when she revealed that she'd adopted a baby girl and shared a photo of her newborn. "That little girl, Haley Joy -- I'm crying -- is my daughter," Kotb gushed when she called into the morning show. "I adopted her, and you can hear her, that's her crying. She's a Valentine's baby. She's a little nugget. She is the love of my life."

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MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r) Moderator Chuck Todd, left, and Willie Geist, 'Today Show' co-host, right, appear on 'Meet the Press' in Washington, D.C., Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. (Photo by: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
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TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Natalie Morales and Willie Geist appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 03: (L-R) Al Roker, WillIe Geist, Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson, Natalie Morales Carson Daly and Robin Roberts during the TODAY Show at 30 Rockefeller Center on September 03, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Natalie Morales and Al Roker appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
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TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Natalie Morales and Willie Geist appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Willie Geist, Natalie Morales, Usher and Tamron Hall appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 02: Today Show hosts Willie Geist, Natalie Morales and Matt Lauer enjoy themselves when Counting Crows perform on NBC's 'Today' at Rockefeller Plaza on September 2, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Al Pereira/WireImage)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Tamron Hall, Willie Geist, Natalie Morales, Al Roker and Vincent Piazza appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Tamron Hall, Willie Geist, Natalie Morales and Usher appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Tamron Hall, Willie Geist, Natalie Morales, Al Roker and Joshua Jackson appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Willie Geist, Hoda Kotb, Natalie Morales, Al Roker, Phillip Phillips and Carson Daly appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Maria Celeste, Natalie Morales, Willie Geist, Dylan Dreyer, Carson Daly and Kate Snow appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Tamron Hall, Willie Geist, Natalie Morales, and Al Roker appear on the 'Today' show on Thursday, October 31, 2014 -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 01: (L-R) Carson Daly, Natalie Morales, Willie Geist and Dylan Dreyer speak on stage during NBC's 'Today' at the NBC's TODAY Show on September 1, 2014 in New York, New York. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 01: (L-R) Jesse Carmichael, Mickey Madden, Adam Levine, PJ Morton, James Valentine, Carson Daly and Willie Geist speak on stage during NBC's 'Today' at the NBC's TODAY Show on September 1, 2014 in New York, New York. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images)
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TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Willie Geist, Natalie Morales, Matt Lauer, Dylan Dreyer and Craig Melvin appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Willie Geist, Natalie Morales, Savannah Guthrie, Matt Lauer, Dylan Dryer and Carson Daly appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Carson Daly, Natalie Morales, Savannah Guthrie, Matt Lauer, Dylan Dreyer and Willie Geist appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Natalie Morales, Willie Geist, Al Roker and Ryan Tedder appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Tamron Hall, Willie Geist, Natalie Morales, Al Roker and Ian Ziering appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Willie Geist and Tamron Hall appear on the 'Today' show on Thursday, October 31, 2014 -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Willie Geist, Savannah Guthrie and John Legend appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
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TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Savannah Guthrie, Bobbie Thomas, Willie Geist and Matt Lauer appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 20: Al Roker (L) and Willie Geist celebrate the launch of TODAY Show Radio at SiriusXM Studios on June 20, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images)
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TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Tamron Hall, Al Roker, Hoda Kotb, Willie Geist, Kathie Lee Gifford and Natalie Morales appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
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TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Willie Geist, Mary Sue Milken, Susan Feniger and Tamron Hall appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Willie Geist and Jeff Goldblum appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Tamron Hall, Willie Geist, Natalie Morales, Al Roker -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Hoda Kotb, Kathy Lee Gifford, Carson Daly, Al Roker, Savannah Guthrie, Matt Lauer, Natalie Morales, Willie Geist, Tamron Hall -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Natalie Morales, Willie Geist, Al Roker from the 2014 Olympics in Socci -- (Photo by: Joe Scarnici/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Natalie Morales, Willie Geist, Al Roker, Dr. Nancy Snyderman from the 2014 Olympics in Socci -- (Photo by: Joe Scarnici/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Al Roker, Natalie Morales, Kathie Lee Gifford and Willie Geist appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Al Roker, Maia Shibutani, Alex Shibutani, Natalie Morales, Willie Geist from the 2014 Olympics in Socci -- (Photo by: Joe Scarnici/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Willie Geist, Natalie Morales and Sarah Paulson appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Willie Geist, Natalie Morales, Savannah Guthrie from the 2014 Olympics in Socci -- (Photo by: Joe Scarnici/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Michael White, Willie Geist and Al Roker appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Jenna Bush Hager, Willie Geist and Courtnay Smith appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Hoda Kotb and Willie Geist appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Charlie Palmer, Brooke Shields and Willie Geist appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Natalie Morales and Willie Geist appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Tara Lipinski and Willie Geist appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Natalie Morales, Willie Geist and Al Roker appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
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TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Willie Geist and Al Roker appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Natalie Morales and Willie Geist appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
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TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Natalie Morales, Savannah Guthrie and Tamron Hall appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Carson Daly, Natalie Morales, Jamie Oliver and Al Roker appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
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TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Natalie Morales and Savannah Guthrie appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Natalie Morales appears on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Natalie Morales, Savannah Guthrie, Matt Lauer, Jason Mraz -- (Photo by: Heidi Gutman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Natalie Morales appears on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
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