Jillian Michaels is recalling when she adopted daughter Lukensia.
“It was really hard on her,” Michaels said of saying goodbye to Lukensia in Haiti before the adoption had been processed.
“The second time I went, she stayed with me at the guest house — they call it the guest house. So she wasn’t in the orphanage,” she says, beginning to cry. “So they kept telling her like, ‘This is your mama, this is your mama.’ And she was like, ‘Rad, you’re my mama.’ She liked me right away.”
It must have been three or four days, I think, that she was with me 24/7,” she says. “I’m feeding her and changing her diapers and holding her, she’s sleeping in a bed with me.”
Michaels also speaks on why she decided to adopt internationally and not in America.
“I always was cognizant of the fact that if I had been born in another country — my dad’s Syrian, I knew what was going on in the world in Syria — if I had been born in Syria as a gay female, I’d be dead,” she says.
“I knew that I had this card, this gift I could give, which is citizenship,” she continues. “So I thought, you know what, I’ve got this awesome gift I can give and I want to adopt, so why not? I have the means. I have the time. I’m gonna do it.”
Michaels adopted her daughter with former fiancée Heidi Rhoades. Elswhere in the interview, she recalls the day she became a mom to both Lukensia and son Phoenix, who is now 11.
Michaels shares how the day Rhoades was in labor with their son, she received an alert that it was time for her to go to Haiti to adopt her then 2-year-old daughter Lukensia.
“While Heidi was in labor, we got the notification that Lu got her visa,” she explains. “I have a photo of Heidi, with the oxygen mask in the hospital bed holding up a picture of Lu’s visa.”
“I’m like, ‘Oh, okay!’ ” Michaels recalls thinking when she received the news, noting that she had to get to Haiti “ASAP.”
And the rest, they say — is history!
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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