Kotb, who adopted her daughter Haley last February, reveals she actually reached out to Bullock when making the big decision, and that the Oscar winner gave her some advice.
"I was in Rio and I was trying to figure out, like, did I miss my window?" Kotb shared. "Am I too late? Should I have done -- I mean-- a bunch of woulda coulda's. And all the sudden I googled you. I just wanted to know. And we were from similar areas in Virginia. We're the same age. And it was almost like, hope. I said, 'Oh my God.' And literally that -- in Rio after that there was the little boy in Syria. I don't know if you remember him, but he had, like, dirt in his hair and he was sitting."
"That image came on the screen and I cried," she continued. "And I said, 'You know what? Like, if I need one more sign, like, I am going home and I'm starting to fill out all that paperwork.' And I remember I reached out to you and you gave me some good advice. But I thought, you don't even know who you inspired. You know, because I told you, but how many other people looked up and saw you?"
Bullock, 53, continued to passionately advocate for adoption.
"I hope me telling my story let people know that there's no end game," she said. "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. And it's amazing to me how we can take away people's happiness by telling them that this is the box that you have to stay in. There is no box. There’s no box."
As for her own story, the Ocean's 8 star talked about adopting Louis after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and waiting four years to bring him home.
"I looked at him and I just said, 'Oh, there you are,'" she said of their immediate connection. "It's like he had always been there. It's like he fit in the crook of my arm. He looked me in the eyes and he was just -- he was wise. My child was wise. And the beautiful thing that I was constantly told was -- 'the perfect child will find you. You will find your child.'"
Later, she revealed Louie actually led her to adopt Laila.
"I was having dinner with some girlfriends of mine. And Louis was -- like, wanted to sit with them and came out of his bath," she recalled. "He was, like, three, had his little belly in his towel and put his hands behind his neck. And she was talking about her daughters. He goes, 'Yeah, I don't have daughters.' And she went, 'You don't?' He goes, 'No, I don't have a daughter, but I'm gonna have a baby soon.' And they looked at me and I was like, 'I swear I'm not -- nothing out there.' And I realized at that time maybe he knew something. And when I think about it, it would've been around the time that Laila was born."
"You know, it's Louis' way," she added. "Louis has a very strong way, and he's a fine leader, and he lead me to Laila."
Bullock also got emotional about what her late mother -- Helga Meyer, who died in 2000 -- would think about her life now.
"She'd love every minute," she mused. "And I often sit and, like, I wish that they would just allow the person who's deceased just to beam down for a second so you can say, 'When do you want them to show up?' And I was like, 'Like, right now would be the ultimate time.' I just want her to see how everything is OK and how -- how amazing -- I mean, I truly think that she had a hand in it, you know? I think she had a hand in the gifts. So I just want her to see that we're OK."
This isn't the first time Bullock has gotten emotional over adoption. Last month, she shared why she doesn't like the phrase "my adopted child."
"I’m all for Republican, Democrat, whatever, but don’t talk to me about what I can or can’t do with my body until you’ve taken care of every child who doesn’t have a home or is neglected or abused," she told InStyle magazine. "It makes me teary-eyed. Let’s all just refer to these kids as 'our kids.' Don’t say 'my adopted child.' No one calls their kid their 'IVF child' or their 'oh, sh**, I went to a bar and got knocked-up child.' Let just say, 'our children.'"
See Sandra Bullock and Hoda Kotb's full interview below: