Being Thankful… for Leah

Being Thankful for Leah

Thanksgiving is over…
and Leah’s birthday is today. She’s 12! (I KNOW, just go back and watch My First Signs and she will continue to live on as a 4 year-old and we can all just pretend that 12 isn’t happening!!)

The night before Thanksgiving, I was thinking about the things I am thankful for and then I thought that I could probably surprise myself by actually diving into my journals and reading how it really was. I have 10 journals, so I opened one up to see what year and what thoughts it held… The first one I opened was from 6 years ago. The entry written about the Christmas after we shot Signing Time 2 and 3.

December 29, 2002 – Salt Lake City, UT

Christmas was hard. We had nothing and could give little, even to our own kids. Aaron and I didn’t give each other gifts. Two days before Christmas my dad gave us $200. The next day my sister Julie gave us $200. We were then able to get Leah a bike and a Gameboy. She also got all of her Signing Time wardrobe clothes and the “Leah Doll” – it was pretty humbling.

After I read that I called Aaron in. I read it to him and we both sat there stunned. We had to think, really hard to even remember that Christmas. The following morning, Thanksgiving Day, I pulled my dad and my sister Julie aside and thanked them for giving us Christmas 6 years ago. Neither one of them vividly remembered helping us out. Just as I didn’t vividly remember the Christmas we really needed help. If it hadn’t been in my journal, would their generosity and our need have been entirely forgotten?

Then I couldn’t stop. Each night I have poured over my journals. It’s been painful. It’s been funny. It’s been an interesting journey, to say the least. My journals are stuffed with concert tickets, notes, postcards, scribbles from Leah, photos, and songs I have written.

I dug deeper in time, reading the details of Leah’s birth and then found this:

December 10, 1996 – Salt Lake City, UT

… Aaron said, “It’s a GIRL!!!”
I started crying, “My baby, my baby girl!”
Aaron kissed me and said, “It’s Leah.”
Leah Jane Coleman. Leah who was called Anna before her birth. Leah who’d kick my ribs, (and sometimes my heart, it seemed) Leah who pushed against my guitar during all of those shows. Leah who gave me the feeling while singing “In Silence.”

Little Leah Jane whose daddy would run his fingers over my belly and say “Here’s your spider, here comes your spider!” Leah whose heels and knees I could slide around, whose little leg would press out hard as I massaged it. Leah with hiccups- Leah at 1:00AM and 10:30AM playtime.

Leah, who I threw up every day for. Leah who I prayed about and worried about. Leah, who made me what I’ve wanted to be most for years – a mom. My little girl’s mommy.

Leah with me while I hiked in Boulder, Utah. Leah in Bryce Canyon. Leah hiking the Zion’s Narrows. She’s my little girl. My sweet little girl now and for always. I love my daughter more than she may ever know.

It’s 3:20AM and I’m crying my eyes out. You’re here asleep next to me and your dad’s on the other side of you and that’s where we will always be, right beside you.

I love you so much. I love you more than you may ever know, maybe when you have a girl of your own. Goodnight my sweet girl, pleasant dreams. I’m so glad you are here with us. I love you, I love you – I LOVE YOU!”


I went forward in my journal, looking a year after Leah’s birth to find little bits and pieces. Confused entries about Leah’s hearing. Just a line here and there. Things like:

“We don’t know if she can hear us.”
“She has fluid in her ears, but her pediatrician thinks it’s more than that…”
“We can’t get in for the ABR test for 6 more weeks!”
“Still no answer on Janey’s ears.”

No answers in my journal for months and then I found this:

March 31, 1998 Tuesday
Salt Lake City, UT

I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so alone in my whole life. I feel like there is no one I can talk to because no one would understand why I’m crying. Actually I think they would misunderstand. I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me or for Janey. I don’t want to call our families and tell them what “PK” the audiologist told us today. Half of my tears are simply tears of relief. The wondering and questions are done. A tearful release of 2 1/2 months- fears, hopes, anticipation and prayers.

I know it’s not helpful but I can only blame myself, and it’s eating me up inside. I think that in his heart Aaron blames me too. In only these past few months people have asked if Jane’s hearing loss is because of my band. And playing and practicing while I was pregnant. People ask. Or they say “boy that must be devastating with you being a musician and music meaning so much.” Do they really think I give a S#*! about my music in comparison to my DAUGHTER?

I’d never sing or play another note if it mattered. Music is nothing to me. Leah Jane is my world. She is wonderful. She is beautiful. I feel like the biggest obstacle in her way is me. I don’t know sign language. I came so close to learning it, so many times. But I didn’t. I feel bewildered. But I feel thankful that we caught it as early as we did….

….We may never know what caused it, or if she as born with it. “Deaf” is such an uncomfortable word for me to use. In a way I am glad that I didn’t know when she was born. Maybe I would’ve treated her differently. Maybe I’d be totally over protective. Everyone would’ve treated her a little different. But now I have had 16 months of Janey. And treating her like a regular kid (except that she is more awesome than most kids)…

…I know of 3 people who are deaf. I’ve had conversations with only one of them ever. I hardly know what the term means. I remember the deaf kids in Jr. High and High school. I sure could not tell you any of their names. They all stayed together with their interpreter and I never gave them a second thought.

Severe – Moderate – Mild mean so little all your life. But today, I was told my daughter has a severe hearing loss. And I still barely grasp the concept. But the word SEVERE is clanging around in my brain. SEVERE? What does that mean? And what does deaf mean? Is there a scale to measure it on? If hearing aids help you are you still deaf?

She can sign a few words now. MOMMY, SLEEP, EAT, SHOES, THANK YOU, BIRD. When I teach a sign she always “rolls it and rolls it and sticks it with a B”

She has the most beautiful lips and puckers for kisses. She also puckers when I tell her “NO” because it looks like kisses. How can I keep a straight face when she does that?
When she gets frustrated she hits her head with her hands, or on the floor.

When she’s nursing, she looks up at me then squeezes both eyes shut tight and then pops them open. She nurses, and the corners of her mouth turn up in a smile. Maybe she’s never heard me say the WORDS I love you. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter at all. She probably knows it more than most kids who hear it every day.

A few weeks ago Leah and I were talking. She asked me how I felt when I found out she was deaf. I told her, “I was distraught. I cried. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. I was scared.”

Leah smiled at me and said, “That’s so funny mom. You thought it was terrible and now you know it’s not.”

She’s right.

This entry was posted in Crazy Little Thing Called Life 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.

75 thoughts on “Being Thankful… for Leah

  1. Happy Belated Birthday Leah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Rachel, thanks so much for opening you’re lives to all of us. My husband and I adopted our little girl at 9 mos and found out at 20 months that she is profoundly deaf in her right ear and mild to moderate loss in her left ear. I know exactly what you mean by not caring or realizing what severe, moderate, mild, profoundly, etc…. meant before all of this. We were introduced to your dvds by our hearing pathologist and we have never turned back. We tried many tapes, and Tierney never responded to any of them but YOURS. She is now 2 and 1/2 and every morning when she wakes up she ask for “sinin tim” over and over and over. She evens signs it. Her vocabulary has grown tremondously but she still signs more than talks. She asks for the tapes when she’s bored, wakes up from nap, when she comes home from preshcool, etc…… Even when we get in the car she wants the dvd player on. It’s amazing. My favorite is when she says and signs “Choo choo.. woo ooo.” Her fav is zoo train. (mine too) This is my first blog to you. I was so struck by your honesty and complete openness. We have struggled a lot in our quest to have children. None of that seems to matter anymore. We are truely blessed by her. You and your family have become part of our lives on a almost daily basis and we don’t even know you personally. HAHA!! That is amazing. You have touched our lives so much. THANKYOU THANKYOU THANKYOU THANKYOU.!!!!!!TANYA

  2. Thank you for sharing. God works in so many ways…ways we don’t know or understand but usually make us stronger. Your struggles and triumphs have touched so many lives through the development of Signing Time. My kids have no hearing imparities but LOVE signing time. I’m inspired to keep teaching them so they learn that there is no reason to be fearful of deaf individuals (or anyone else)…they too are God’s creation. Many blessings to Leah on her 12th birthday.

  3. Happy Birthday Leah!!! You are such a cutie. Your mom and dad did good.

    Rachel you are so the bomb. Thank you so much for sharing on an even deeper level than your presentations. I just love you! See you next year in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

  4. I can’t believe Leah is 12!!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I have loved watching you grow in Signing Time. Thank you for all you taught me. I really struggled with sign language but you taught me a lot even before signing time. Rachel i love your blog, it is so inspiring. I feel like I know you so much now. I just wish we lived closer. Your stories make me cry, they are so touching. You have been through so much yet you have used it all to inspire others, thank you.

  5. Birthdays are the beginnings of more than we can ever realize. I do think the “aloneness” of becoming a special needs parent is pretty universal. I often wish the person I have become today could go back and have a good long chat with who I was then. I know I was feeling very alone when I stumbled onto Signing Times videos and heard “The Good.” Not only did my daughter gain language, I gained a role model who was one “kick-a mom” who wasn’t buying the pity party or martyrdom role people kept trying to give me. I could and would smile again (once I stopped bursting into tears at the end of each video that is).

    To think none of this would have been possible without that little bundle in the picture who is growing into a beautiful young woman. By sharing your family and your talent, you have reached out and changed so many lives. Best wishes to Leah from one little girl and one family whose future was changed because of her.

  6. I ordered The Happy Birthday signing time video and it arrived yesterday (3 days too late for Penny’s birthday but thats okay), we watched it and I thought to myself, “I wonder when Leah’s birthday really is.” Wow! It was yesterday!

    Happy Birthday Leah!

  7. Happy Bday Leah!! I am so happy to read about you and your family in your Mom’s blog. This gives me hope for the future. My daughter Lily has severe hearing loss in one ear and mild to moderate in the other. We are told it will be a progressive hearing loss eventually leading to severe loss in both ears. She is delayed but right now she does know “more” and hope to teach her alot with your videos!


  8. Wow, Rachel! Thank-you for sharing your very personal journal entries from that time! You inspire me! I know what it is like to find out hard news like that. My little Hadassah was diagnosed with down syndrome at 1 year old. I went through the emotional roller coaster too. My journal entries are filled with things like yours! What was always most important to me was clarity on where God’s heart was toward us during it!

    Hadassah is now 6, mainstreamed first grade and is doing great! Along with Ambrotose, therapy, dance, gymnastics, piano and swimming lessons – you’re journey helped us help her. She started watching your Signing Time videos at about 2 years old and her communication skills went through the roof because of your ministry! She loves you and she continues to watch and I continue to collect your videos — they are all over our house! Thank you!!! Someday I will blog about it as you have done here!

    May the gifts of heaven continue to bless you!

  9. Thank you for sharing such a personal experience. You have helped me with all three of my girls. Starting five and 1/2 years ago when my husband’s grandmother handed us an article from her Redbook magazine. I’m so grateful for your tenacity to turn this struggle into such a wonderful blessing to so many. I tell everyone who is expecting a new little one about your family and usually let them borrow a few so they can see what a difference they make. My now 19 month old insist on “Signing Times” every morning while her sisters get ready for school. I love that you have created a way for us to communicate with them so clearly from such a young age. It has made all the difference in the world.

  10. My children have all been raised on signing time. My 4 year old boy is accused all the time of being so inteligent and I have to admit that it wasn’t me that tought him his ABC’s. It was Signing Time. I have shared it with my mom and sister as well as my six sister-in-law’s and two of my brother’s-in-law. We all have children around the age of 2 and they are all learning to sign ‘long before they develop speech.’ My two year old waited a long time to start talking and as soon as I introduced her to ST she started signing and even started talking. Now she puts three or four words together and she is able to let me know what she wants with signing. She also knows all of her colors and most of her ABC’s. It is amazing to see how quickly they learn when they are introduced to the right environment. I am so glad that you had journal entries and that you turned your little Leah into a miracle instead of something bad. Thanks.

  11. Thank you for sharing. My daughter (now 26) has a moderate hearing loss and wears hearing aids. She has gone through much with people calling signing ‘that thing with your hands’ or people (well meaning, I know) wanting to ‘heal’ her. She is currently working on an Early Childhood Education degree and her goal to teach deaf children. She thinks of her hearing loss as a gift that will enable her to accomplish her goal. I too threw up every day during the early part of my pregnancy and I often wondered if that contributed to her hearing loss and her learning disabilities. As our first child (the oldest of 6) we didn’t clue into the hearing loss until she was in 5th grade. She just learned to compensate. When I think of how different her life could have been if we had noticed sooner… but then she might not have had her passion for teaching.

  12. Rachel,

    I am sitting here bawling at your story. I have a 14 month old who L-O-V-E-S his Baby Signing Time more than anything. He actually was able to tell me that his teeth hurt this week (he’s teething). OK, what he told me was that his ear hurt, but when you are 14 months the distance from your molars to your ears isn’t very far!

    Robert has been blessed with all 5 of his senses, but your entry made me remember what it was like after he was born and I had terrible post-partum depression. I was sure that there was something I had done to make this terrible thing happen. I’m glad that we both can know now that sometimes these things just happen, and that wonderful things can come out of them.

    I don’t know if you fully grasp how many people you have touched, because of Leah’s “disability” (if you want to use that word). BST is such an intregal (sp?) part of our house and daily routine. The CDs (we only have 1&2, but I’m hoping Santa will bring Robert 3&4 for Christmas) will entertain him for hours in the car, and when he’s had a bad day he will crawl over to the TV, point to it, and then sign “baby” with increasing speed and enthusiasm until I get up and go put in a BST DVD. He signs “eat” “more” “dog” “all done” (a lifesaver!), “hurt” “ball” “banana” and “drink” (which he does wrong, but i know what it is). All the other moms I know also have the DVDs and use it with their kids, and I can honestly say that you have made more of an impact on my child’s life than anyone else he hasn’t ever met. 🙂 He absolutely loves you.

    So, this is a very long way of saying Thank You to you and to Leah, and to Alex and Hopkins. If you are ever in Pittsburgh, PA, know you will be among friends. Happy Birthday to Leah, and let’s have more Baby Signing Time!!!!

  13. Wow has it really been that long?! Happy 12th Birthday Leah!!

    Rachel, thank you for sharing. I think that many of us parents who have received “news” about our children feel relief, alone, grief, blame, frustration and confusion. But through sharing our stories we give support and comfort to those who are just beginning their journey. So, thank you for always being so willing to share your life and your children with the world. You and your family have touch my life and the lives of my children. I am eternally grateful! There have been many times when my son (who is Deaf) has been approached by another child eager to use the signs they’ve learned from signing time. It’s always nice to be spoken to in your native language. Thanks again for all you do.

  14. Happy Birthday Leah! We feel like you a apart of our family! We started signing time about 4 years ago with our grandson(he can hear but has trouble with his speach),he is now 6 years old. He is learning by watching Signing Times,we all are!
    Thanks and God Bless You!

  15. Hey Rachel and Leah! Firstly, happy birthday! I am a huge fan and my twin daughters are too. Both have become amazing communicators via sign and I credit you both. You are doing a wonderful thing! Congrats on your new babies Rachel. Twins are another amazing experience! Enjoy it!

  16. Hi Rachel~ I chatted briefly with you and the gang last night. I am 2 hours ahead (EST), so I pooped out suddenly.

    I felt so many of the feelings you expressed about your and Aaron’s love and concern for both Leah and Lucy—the fear and panic when a pack of professionals tell you something about your child that just sends you into a tailspin. I remember when Charlotte’s preschool PT told me that she believed Charlotte was struggling with ataxic CP. My mind went numb and I said, “Uh huh. Uh huh. Ok. What do I do now?”

    Driving home was torture that day because my eyes were full of tears and I was wondering how to explain this all to my family. And what does “Ataxic Cerebral Palsy” mean anyway? I have pulled the blankets over my head a few times, but like you say, you cry and then you get up and get on with life.

    Charlotte is the love of my life, and we were meant to be together in this world. She is an amazingly happy and energetic child. She challenges me and her “staff” every day, but that just confirms my belief that there is a strong will and a happy “soul” that needs to be encouraged in order to flourish.

    Signing Time has helped us immensely. I don’t know if she will move beyond the speech plateau she has reached, but my decision is to radically ramp up the ASL or both of us.


    Michelle & Charlotte

  17. Hi Rachel…

    I guess I’m a little behind in checking my blogs….life keeps sending me other things when I want to do stuff 🙂

    We had our BAER test yesterday….our first ABR told us my son was profoundly deaf in his left ear, and sure enough, this test really confirmed it. We are awash in conversations like “hearing aids probably won’t help, but we can try them” and “they cost $3,000” and “1 in 7 kids with unilateral hearing loss develop bilateral loss, so it’s possible he could loose hearing in the other ear too”

    I am willing to bet that if I look back on this time, when everything else seems to be going wrong, from struggling in my marriage, to finding a new job, finding a place to live, finding a place to belong, dealing with my son’s hearing, all of this in a few years will be a distant memory, and I wont remember the pain and struggle. But boy is it hard to get through it now.

    Thanks for sharing your story, and showing that it really does eventually get better.
    -Ambulance Mommy

  18. This last blog entry of yours has inspired me to write to you. I am thankful for Leah as well and for you. Thank you for having the courage to face the most difficult battles in your life head on. Thank you for at the scariest moment of your life looking within and creating a way to make the world around you and you daughter a better place. As a mother, you are a source of great inspiration to me. I have 3 boys 5, 2, 1. My oldest has a chromosome deletion and is non verbal. Our story is much like many others who discovered that there child is “different”. If you are interested, a couple of years ago the following news story was written about our family:
    My cousin sent us your first DVD shortly after we received word of his “abnormal status” since then your image and voice has been a part of our everyday life. He is very particular about what he will watch on T.V. but he loves watching your videos (“My Day” is the current favorite) Our younger children also love your videos and impress us everyday with the signs they have learned. I also am very comfortable with many signs thanks to you, Alex and Leah. I look forward to each new video you make and love to share them with all of our friends and family as gifts.
    Life is really good, Thank you for being a part of that good.

  19. Oh wow. I don’t have a similar journal entry, because I didn’t journal when my son was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder, but replace a few words here and there and I could have written it. The emotions were the same. I was especially struck with the part where you wrote about having those 16 months with her before you knew.

    One of the main signs of my son’s disorder was his cry. He sounded like a little kitten mewing. I had 3 months to fall in love with that cry, and I’ve often felt that if I had known that it was a marker, I would have felt differently about it. Those few months of being his mom with no larger picture were what I held onto when things got confusing.

    I love what Leah said, and I hope she had a wonderful birthday. Someday when my son is older, I hope he is as confident and cheerful. What he faces isn’t terrible. It’s different and challenging and a part of who he is. And in a lot of ways, it’s wonderful. Thank you for posting this.

  20. Jackie: Better late than never.
    Should I have warned against reading it in the middle of the night? That’s when I read the journals and I too was a mess.

    purplewowies: Yes, you can!
    Thanks for the b-day wishes

    Heidi: Best of luck with Malcom. I do believe that somehow we all find our way.

    Janel: There are few things as powerful as making a difference in another person’s life. I am glad you too have found a way to give back!

    Michelle G.: Wow, I am not even sure how to respond. You are very, very welcome. Thank you for sharing all of that.

    alices dad: “Holy cow” says it all!

  21. Vickie: I believe you are right. She IS wise beyond her 12 years.

    Anne Spencer: I love knowing we are spending each morning with you~

    Danielle: Thanks!

    Chris: I know it! All too soon I will be blogging that she is off to college.

    Natalie Orr: I can absolutely relate. Like you, I never expected to have the circumstances that I have in my life. It is a shocker, to say the least. When I was pregnant with Lucy I remember being afraid to move, knowing her spinal cord was exposed inside of my uterus. There are so many thoughts and concerns that no one can imagine. There is also so much joy and amazement that no one can imagine either. No pity here, my friend. Just smiles of (some) understanding. 🙂 My best to you and your babes.

    Hetha: Sometimes when children see other kids signing (on Signing Time) they really get that, for lack of a better way to explain it, it is okay. They aren’t alone in signing. They see that many other kids are signing too!

    Joan Martin: Luckily we have found that the Signing Time formula for teaching works perfectly for grownups too. There are ASL 101 DVD’s available, but it is not something I want to do, because that kind of stuff is missing the fun! I do hope that our grown-up viewers learn all they can from Signing Time and then look for additional ASL resources in their communities.

    Diane Francisco: Wow Diane, it does feel like we are paddling just to keep our head above the water sometimes, doesn’t it. We wonder how we are going to make it, emotionally, physically and financially. I am so glad that Signing Time was a stepping-stone to communication for your family.

    Tierney’s mom: Tanya, I am glad you commented. Welcome to The Signing Time Family! It sounds like Tierney is doing great. I really do try to share openly because I think as parents on our surprising paths, we have so much to learn from each other. Some parents of deaf children have told me that seeing Leah on Signing Time was comforting to them, they have a sense that it’s going to be okay for their child. I sought out others who had deaf children, to help me “see” what the future might look like for Leah.
    You are welcome, welcome, welcome! 🙂

    Lisa: It is all about inclusion, understanding, education and acceptance, isn’t it? I am thrilled that your children are growing up with those perspectives.

    Lisa D.: LOL I would need 4-5 hours… or maybe 4-5 days to tell the entire story of the Coleman Family. Here I can do it in bits and pieces. I can’t wait to come back.

    Janna: Leah has always been a good teacher, hasn’t she? She naturally went out of her way, (even at 3!) to help others understand her. I swear we were JUST living in LA. Where do the years go?

    Diane: Your comment had me grinning and even teary!
    There was a sense of loss and of hope when I wrote The Good. (sigh) Part of me wants to write a sequel to that song. I probably will.

    Katie: Yes, Leah’s real b-day is December 8th.

    Karen R: There was a time when they thought Leah’s hearing loss was progressive as well. (Sometimes that is just because of the basic unreliability of results when testing toddlers) I remember being so horrified that she might be in the process of losing what little hearing she had. I remember thinking, “If she was completely deaf, it would be an easy choice to use ASL with her.” I didn’t fully understand at the time the incredible benefits of communication through signing no matter her hearing level.

    Rebekah Garvin: I admit, when I wrote this blog entry, I sat on it unpublished for a few days. I read it and re-read it, wondering if it was just a REALLY bad idea to share these journal entries with any and everyone. As I read it I could see how far we have come as a family and how much I have learned. The contrast though, from then to now is just… remarkable to me. I am glad I wrote it then and I AM glad that I shared it now.

    Ann: Wow, you’ve been with us 5 and ½ years? That is very cool. I love imagining just how many children are growing up with Alex, Leah and Lucy in their homes.
    Thank you for continuing to share us with others.

    Mandi: I believe that when we believe in miracles and look for miracles, we see them.

    MomMac: Oh, boy, don’t I know, we could “what if” ourselves to death and it wouldn’t change a thing 🙂 Sounds like everything worked out perfectly! She was bright enough to compensate and she found her passion. I think that’s pretty good parenting!

    Elizabeth: It must be natural to first blame ourselves…?? I wonder if that is part of the process? We never did find out why Leah was deaf or if she was born deaf or if it happened in her first year. I believe she was born deaf, especially after watching home videos of her as a baby. There was a lot of psychological and emotional freedom for me when I stopped looking for the answer or reason for her deafness. With or without reason, she was deaf. Finding a reason wouldn’t change it.

    Sariah Price: When we were making the first Signing Time video I hoped the result in Leah’s life would be less staring and more interaction from the children around her. It worked! I am glad your son is getting that result too.

  22. Hi Rachel – I stop by periodically and fully admit to being a blog lurker. I just had to comment here to thank you for sharing so much of your story. I am an interpreter working in the public school setting and am stunned by the number of families who don’t strive to communicate with their children. It is heartbreaking to see these young students going home every night to parents who don’t share their language. God bless you for your advocacy and determination to see Deafness not as a disability, but as an enlightening difference. From another perspective sign language has been wonderful in our home, too. We have a little girl (now 2 1/2) who joined our family through adoption at 12 months. All of her language foundation was foreign to us…though we tried so hard to learn some of the basics so we could at least say “I love you” in the language she was used to hearing. We started signing with her right away and she used her first sign less than two weeks later on our flight home from China. Incredible! She’s got a HUGE vocabulary now both in English and in ASL and we are so proud of how well she communicates. What an amazing blessing our children are. Thank you for using your gifts and talents to share with us all your love for your children and all children. You’ve touched so many!

    Beth in WI

  23. Jim and Patty: Yeah for signing grandparents!

    Karen Pinto: I WISH those babies were mine 🙂 At least I get to borrow them.

    mmfrench: we might get caught in a tail spin, but we do straighten out eventually.
    I’ve crashed and burned a few times… not pretty, but totally true. When Lucy was 1, Aaron came home and I was curled up in a ball on the floor and just couldn’t function. I couldn’t do it one more day. It was more than I could bare, imagining doing all I was doing for the REST of my life. Thankfully I have Aaron and he took over until I got my head on straight again and remembered I really only need to handle one second at a time.

    Ambulance Mommy: It DOES get better. It really does.

    Jill: You are welcome and you are right. It IS good, isn’t it.

    Wynona: Ah yes, there were tell tale signs with Leah, quirky things we just loved and then looking back could kick ourselves for not NOTICING. We live and learn.

    Beth: I LOVE lurkers 🙂 Thanks for sharing and congrats! I can imagine what you see as an interpreter and having to sit by and simply interpret rather than whack a couple of people over the head 🙂 Takes true restraint! My respects

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