Fitness guru Jillian Michaels is no stranger to sticking it out, working hard and getting results. Although she had no idea what was in store for her when she began the child adoption process two years ago, Jillian applied those life philosophies and ended up being blessed with a beautiful daughter.
“Adoption is a calling,” Jillian, 38 – who welcomed 2-year-old Lukensia home from Haiti mere days after partner Heidi Rhoades delivered son Phoenix on May 3rd – tells PEOPLE. “There is something in you that can’t be denied. You just know in the deepest part of your being that you are meant to find this little soul and guide them through life.”
The former Biggest Loser trainer adds that despite feeling “despondent” at times during the arduous adoption process, she had high hopes that things would eventually work out.
Michaels initially applied for adoption in 2010 through the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After waiting more than a year for a referral, Jillian learned that some of her paperwork was about to expire.
If she wanted to continue with the process, she would have to reapply.
It was then that she learned that Haiti had children ready for adoption as well.
Jillian – who has suffered from endometriosis since her teens – reveals that is wasn’t until her mid 30s that she “felt the calling to adopt.”
“The adoption process was not a simple or easy one,” she explains. “There were moments where I was starting to think it was not going to work out.”
But they did.
Recalling the moment when she welcomed Lukensia into the United States, Jillian says, “That moment of getting Lu out of Haiti and the wheels of the plane touching down in New York … she was an American citizen after two years. It was a heavy moment.”