Making Wishes Come True – Part 2

It was early Tuesday morning and I didn’t want to get out of bed.  Truthfully, it wasn’t even that early.  I had already gotten up and tag teamed with Aaron to get the girls out the door and off to school and then I had returned to bed and had no desire to get out.  See, I have meetings on Tuesdays and though I have been tempted to show up in my pajamas before, I never have actually done it.  No, I usually give in and shower, get dressed, pull my hair back in a ponytail and show up 10 minutes late with an honest excuse like, “Sorry I’m late!  I couldn’t get out of bed.”  Who would say that?  No, I usually call it “getting stuck in traffic” or “running into unexpected construction” and here’s a tip, no one can argue with, “The bus was late.  Very late.”   

On this particular Tuesday, I pulled my laptop out from underneath my bed and “took on the day.”  That means I hit “Send/Receive” – my inbox began filling up.  It fills UP, because I sort my email with the newest ones at the top.  I try to deal with each email systematically and then on completion, I file it away to keep my inbox clean, which I don’t and it isn’t.

Amidst the meeting reminders and Baby Signing Time post-production epistles marked “Urgent!!!!” one email subject caught my eye, it read, “Subject: Rhett’s Wish & Star Party.”  I only know of one Rhett, and he is an almost 2 year-old boy here in Utah who has Down syndrome.  I had been peeking in on Rhett’s blog for over a year.  I started checking in on him, when I had heard about this little boy who had a near fatal, accidental, painkiller overdose in the hospital.  I opened this email to see what it held.  It had a message from someone who expressed a wish to remain anonymous.  So, the edited version is this:



Just incase you don’t already know, i wanted to let you know about Rhett’s wish.  I heard Rhett wished for a big screen TV and Signing Time DVD’s to watch on the big screen.  Anyway, his wish was granted, and now it is time for Rhett to hang his star with all of the others.  He will be having his star party on this Tuesday at 7 PM at Make-A-Wish.  Rhett’s blog is:

Rhett is a really fun little boy to talk to, if you haven’t met him yet, I am sure you will love him at first site.  Rhett will be back in the hospital later this week, unless it was postponed.

Thanks, for all you do, our family has benefited from Signing Time as so many others have also. 


I jumped out of bed.  If there was going to be a Signing Time related wish today in Salt Lake City, I was going to be there.  I showered, and put on my “Rachel” make-up and did my “Rachel” hair, checked my closet for a set of Signing Time “Rachel” clothes.  Then, I checked Leah’s closet.  I had my ST! outfit, Leah did not.  I was pretty sure Alex didn’t have one at home.  I called Marcus, “Hey I don’t know what you are doing today, but I need a set of purple for Leah and a set of orange for Alex before 5PM tonight.”

I then scoured Rhett’s Blog and found plenty of details about making the wish and having the wish granted, but no mention of what the wish was or if it included Signing Time. I called the Utah Make A Wish Foundation and wondered if they would even tell me anything or would some sort of confidentiality law like HIPA apply?

When I called, I told them that I had heard there was a Signing Time related wish planned that evening and I said, “I am Rachel Coleman from Signing Time, and I would be happy to support you in any way possible.”  Eventually we had a plan…

And with that, I will let Rhett’s incredible parents share the rest of the story.

The day after Rhett’s wish is granted, Rhett’s mom shares OH.MY.GOSH

Rhett’s dad shares the following day on the post STILL GLOWING

Rhett’s mom put together the following video slide show, Rhett’s Wish.  (Grab a tissue!)

And then mommy comes back a week later with this post, simply entitled, “WOW!”

After meeting Rhett and signing with him, I was very impressed with his signing vocabulary.  I let his family know that their little boy is “on my list!”  He is a great signer and he signed everything that I asked him, on cue!  We enjoyed spending time with this remarkable family and it was a thrill for all of us to be a part of such a special celebration!

This entry was posted in Behind the Signing Time Scenes and tagged , , , by Rachel Coleman. Bookmark the permalink.

About Rachel Coleman

The opinions and late night musings published on this blog are Rachel de Azevedo Coleman's alone, and are not ever intended to represent the opinions and sentiments of any organization or product that Rachel is, was, or will be associated with. Rachel Coleman is the creator and Emmy-nominated host of Signing Time!, the children's American Sign Language vocabulary building series. She is also the creator and host of Baby Signing Time, Rachel & the TreeSchoolers, and Rachel & Me. Rachel now serves as the Executive Director of the American Society for Deaf Children, a 501c3 nonprofit established in 1967 by parents of deaf children. ASDC is the American Sign Language organization for families who are raising deaf children. Motivated by her child, Leah's deafness, Rachel has spent the last 18 years creating ASL products to help bridge the communication barrier between hearing and signing communities. In 2006 Rachel founded the Signing Time Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to putting communication in the hands of all children of all abilities. In 2014, the Signing Time Foundation launched a 50-Lesson online ASL curriculum called "Sign It: ASL Made Easy" that is available free-of-charge to families with deaf or hard of hearing children ages 36 months and under. Apply at For those who do not qualify to receive Sign It ASL for free, they can find it for purchase at very reasonable rates on Rachel and her husband, Aaron, live in Salt Lake City Utah. They are parents to Leah who was born profoundly deaf, and is now a senior in college at NTID/RIT in Rochester, NY. They are also parents to Lucy who has spina bifida and cerebral palsy, and recently graduated high school. In 2010 the Colemans were joyfully reunited with Rachel's daughter Laura. Rachel is proud to be Laura's birth mom. Laura was placed for adoption as an infant in 1992 when Rachel was 17 years-old.

16 thoughts on “Making Wishes Come True – Part 2

  1. Thanks for sharing part 2 of your story. That’s wonderful. I’m so glad that you all had the opportunity to celebrate with Rhett. What a special thing to do! Sounds like a very special little guy.

  2. Oh Rachel,

    I didn’t think that we could be any more honored by you, and then you do this!!

    I had no idea how quickly you pulled all of this off for us. You are amazing, simply amazing.

    Thank you so much for everything you have done for us. We still talk about Rhett’s wish every day, and whenever we pop in a Signing Time DVD or CD, Rhett still says. “MY Achal!!!” If you’re not careful he may just move in with you one of these days!! 😉

    Thank you again. Really. You have no idea how much we love you. YOU are the only superstar at our house!!

    Oh, and whoever the person was who emailed you, THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts, thank you to everyone.

    Geeze…you’d think I’d be over the tears by now!! 🙂


  3. You are a class act Rachel Coleman! Meeting Rhett sure seems like a great reason to get out of bed. The picture of the two of you, looks
    like two good friends talking. Kids, inherently know when someone has a true heart, and a kindred spirit. I’m sure that is why you (Leah and Alex) are able to be their hero, and friend. Thanks for making Rhett’s wish more remarkable 🙂

  4. Rachel, on behalf of Rhett’s extremely extended online “family” of fans, thank you thank you thank you for making Rhett’s Wish so amazing. We love you!


  5. So wonderful! Rhett is a little boy who is very dear to our hearts. And, Rachel, Rhett and his family love you more than could be expressed with words. Pam speaks of you often!

    We’re new to Signing Time. I have ordered one DVD and both of our boys: Elliot (two with Down syndrome) and his brother, Isaac (12 months) are addicted to you and your engaging ability to teach such a beautiful language. They literally watch the DVD two to three times each day. Elliot is learning by leaps and bounds as is his little brother!

    I thank you so very much for making Rhett’s wish even more ideal. You are a dear, dear person and you have touched so very many families!

    Michelle and Elliot

  6. Hi Rachel, Rhett’s wish was a great one. He is such a great little guy and I have enjoyed following his journey.

    I have passed on a bloggy award to you and if you are willing to accept it, you can find the details on my blog. It’s about 2 posts down on my page.

    Have a great week!

  7. That is truly an amazing story, how it all came together so quickly! If anyone deserves special treatment, it’s Rhett – we follow his blog, from Wisconsin, and we love that little guy!

  8. Thank you- how touching and so sweet you are! Maybe some day the Lord will bless me with a meeting with you! You truly are an incredible women, mother and I am sure your husband would say wife!

    Thank you for sharing your life- you are a rare gem!

  9. Mommyneedstherapy: It was amazing to be a part of that special night.

    SallyAnn: Two Signing Time wishes granted in one month!

    cathybarra: Rhett is a sweetheart, it was the least we could do.

    mom2rhett: Pam, what are you doing on my blog?? (blush) I can’t tell you how inspired I am by your family. If PCMC’s family rooms are ever full again, you are staying at my house.

    simply_lori: Thanks! It was great to be able to make a difference.

    Ella: Yeah I leapt out of bed for Rhett!

    fbfrothkopf: You are so welcome!

    abbyschrader: Back at you abby

    Michelle and Elliot: I hope you and your family have continued communication success with our products 🙂

    Alisha: Wow, I didn’t win an Emmy, but I got a Bloggy! Thanks!

    Michelle Z: M-A-W had it together, they had the TV and purchased the ST! products (I made sure they got a refund -Hello? We are talking about wish money here!) I was just so surprised that our office is blocks away from M-A-W and they didn’t even know we were in the same state. Now they know and they know they can count on us, if ever a Signing Time wish comes down the pipeline.

    Sellersfamilia: It’s not that hard to meet me, I tend to travel quite a bit. Just sign up for the Signing Time Newsletter and we will let you know when I am speaking or performing near you.
    “you are a rare gem!” – wow, thank you!

  10. That was super special. I’m so glad you were able to be there for this sweet boy. Make a Wish is one of the absolute neatest organizations I can think of.

    We’ve just caught on to Signing Time and are loving it! We found you through BackPacking Dad, and have just had a ball learning so many signs with “Family, Feelings, and Fun.”

  11. MereCat: So glad you found us! BPD seems to be sending a lot of folks our way lately.

    I agree M-A-W is just a fantastic organization! I feel honored to associate with them and SUPER honored that there are small children whose wishes include something me and my family created.

  12. Pingback: Learn Sign Language » We are Back!

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