They Are Gonna Love You

Okay, so you all know that The Signing Time Family is growing… right? No… literally, our families are expanding with more children. (This is not about another DVD or board book)

Yes, my sister Emilie just had her third child, a baby girl, six weeks ago… still nameless… I know. Get over it. She almost has a name. But, I already blogged about that.

This… this… I haven’t ever blogged about.

You see… well, now I have an announcement to make…

Some of you may want to sit down for this one.

No. I mean it.

Sit down.

I have a third child as well… and it’s a girl!

But, before you start mailing pink baby outfits and headbands with big flowers on them… keep reading.

Oh Heavens… where to start? Ummm, ok, so you know how on my CD “Shine” there’s that song “Nobody Would Know”? and in the liner notes it talks about how that was the very first song that I ever wrote and that I wrote it when I was 17 years-old? And some of you had written to me wondering how it could be that I wrote a song like that BEFORE having Leah and Lucy. Some of you listened to a certain line in that song and thought… “Wait a minute!!! Could it be?” But then you know that I share a lot. I share the good, the bad, and the awkward and you convinced yourself that something THAT big, would’ve been shared by now.

So, here’s the thing. The truth is… I don’t share everything. Especially when it might impact someone else’s privacy, their life, and their choices. I don’t share it, even if it’s indescribably intertwined with my life, my experiences, and even if it has totally shaped who I am and why I care about the things I care about. Vague enough for you? Well, cut me some slack. This isn’t easy.

The day after Mother’s Day, I sat down to my desk after getting Lucy out the door and on the school bus. I opened my computer, opened Facebook and collapsed on my keyboard in helpless and happy sobs as I saw the message that I had waited more than eighteen years to receive.


Facebook Private Message

    Laura S. May 9 at 4:53pm
    Happy Mother’s Day 🙂 You’re always in my prayers and in my heart.

Aaron walked in and seeing my state asked, “Ray? What happened?”
“LOOK!!!” I could barely speak, the message may have been short but it was enough to level me emotionally and immediately, “IT’S… IT’S TODAY!” Aaron looked at my screen and started crying too. We hugged each other and sobbed and laughed and sobbed some more in happy disbelief.

Aaron had waited 15 years for this moment. I had told him on our very first date about the baby girl I had placed for adoption. He hadn’t even blinked when I told him. It wasn’t something he fought to deal with or accept. He just told me about his very close friends who had gone through the same thing and he told me how much respect he had for anyone who could give their child to someone else. Through the years Aaron has held me as I cried on my baby’s birthday, on Mother’s Day and the countless other times I found myself mourning the loss of my very first baby girl. I had only held her in my arms for three days, but my heart has never let her go.

I messaged her back as quickly as I could type.

    Rachel de Azevedo-Coleman May 10 at 8:41am
    You just made the last 18 years of my life!
    I don’t think you can possibly fathom how much I adore you. How much I have missed you.
    How much I love you!

I could hardly function that day as I waited for her response. I had a news interview about running the Salt Lake Half-Marathon and honestly I didn’t even shower before the news crew arrived. I was glued to my computer screen waiting to see what words she might grace me with next. Words I had waited almost 2 decades to read.

The previous day, Mother’s Day, I had started crying as we drove from the luncheon with my mom, to dinner with Aaron’s mom. We were in the car around 5:00pm. “What is she waiting for?” Tears streamed down my cheeks. “I mean… it’s not like I really thought she was going to show up on my front porch the day she turned 18, but I guess I didn’t realize how that date… how that was the date I was living for… I don’t know. I always imagined that I would be at her high school graduation… What is she waiting for?”

I can’t tell you how many times, since 1992, I had calculated how old I would be in 2010. Especially in the beginning, when I’d wake in the middle of the night hearing the echo of my baby’s cries in my head, I just needed a goal. I thought if I could hold on until then… it would be okay. February 2010 was my “finish line.” But, her 18th birthday had already come and gone. Leah, Lucy, Aaron and I had celebrated by going out to dinner and we had cupcakes. We’ve celebrated her birthday every year.

“Mommy,” four-year-old Leah signed to me enthusiastically, “I’m your first baby. Lucy is your second baby. I’m the oldest!”

      “Nope. Remember?” I pointed to the smiling baby pictured in the gold, sun-shaped frame on the mantel. “She’s my first baby. You are my second baby and Lucy is my third baby.”

“Oh! I forgot!” Which sounded like “Oh I-per-dot.”
Leah and Lucy grew up seeing the baby on the mantel smiling down on them.

“Mom, I hate this!” Twelve-year-old Leah threw herself down on my bed in tears. “I hate that I have a big sister, but I don’t have a big sister! I really need one right now! I don’t understand how you were ‘too young’ to keep her, but only four years later you were suddenly old enough to have and keep me!”

When I was seventeen I really did believe that nobody would know or really understand how much I hurt and how much I suffered. I guess I was too young to imagine that my future children would inherit the pain and that they would share my loss.

After Mother’s Day dinner with Aaron’s family, we came home, put the girls to bed and watched a movie. My phone had died at some point that day. I went to bed with no idea that while I was crying in the car, my oldest daughter had already reached out to me.

    Laura S. May 10 at 2:11pm
    I think it’s been 18 years too long. I should have made contact sooner. I love and miss you and my little sisters. 🙂

Each message started a new wave of tears. “She said ‘my little sisters'” Aaron cried, “she didn’t call them her half-sisters.”

In the world of adoption, I think we all just want to be wanted.

    Rachel de Azevedo-Coleman May 10 at 5:21pm
    We are ready when you are. I haven’t told Leah and Lucy yet because they would both be sitting in the car waiting to drive down to meet you.
    Lucy has said if she ever got a wish from “Make A Wish” she would only wish to meet you.
    I have a million things I want to tell you and there are a million things I want to know. I want to hear all of your stories. I want to hear you sing. I want to see you perform. I’m nervous and thrilled and I don’t want to mess anything up. I’m afraid of disappointing you. I’m afraid of overwhelming you. AND I’m supposed to be a grown up here!
    Mostly I’m afraid I’ll wake up just like all the other times I’ve been this close… I’ll wake up and find it’s just another dream.
    PS- you are just so beautiful!

My heart is healed.

The happiest day of my life”

So, are you going to tell your Signing Time fans?”

      “Of course I am… I’m just trying to figure out how. I mean… people’s heads are gonna spin!”
          “Yeah, I bet you probably don’t want them to know that you had a baby when you were 17.”
      “WHAT? That is not it at all. Laura, look at me. I am not embarrassed or ashamed. You are not a secret! I don’t care what anyone thinks! I’ve been waiting for you for… for your whole life! I am so happy I want to shout it from the rooftops! I love you! We love you! And you know what?
      They are gonna love you too!”

Here’s to 18 Years of Laughter

This entry was posted in Crazy Little Thing Called Life, Strong Enough 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.

298 thoughts on “They Are Gonna Love You

  1. Very touching story. I’m the youngest of 4 adopted children and have adopted 2. My daughter was a teen mom and I am now teaching my 8 year old son and my grandson Signing time. They both love it. Thanks

  2. I have commented on another post about how connected I feel to you as my son has spina bifida, hydrocephalus, and Chiari malformation and he also see Dr. Tupilan! However, knowing about Laura has made me even MORE in love with your story and all you do! My best friend gave her daughter up for adoption at the age of 19. She has yet to have anymore children since then, but even 10 years later we talk on her daughter’s birthday every year and celebrate it. Only a very small circle knows of her story. I hope one day she too is blessed with her dream of having her daughter contact her. She thinks of her so much and relishes the day her update comes in every year with pictures. Oh, I hope for my friend an amazing story like this will be a reality in the future! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  3. What an inspiring story!

    My own biological mother surrendered me for adoption when she was 17. We reconnected 10 years ago, and I found out I have the little sister I always wanted!

    When we first spoke, she was very clear that she loves me, but she had no desire to “take over” from my adoptive mother.

    As a result, both my families have gotten along beautifully. You can never have too many people who love you & are cheering you on!

  4. I’m overjoyed to see such love and devotion. It is such a refresher to see great people still out there doing awesome things! Thanks Rachel! Keep up the great work and congrats!

  5. God bless you for so much of beauty!
    What amazing work of Love has taking thousands of people to increase the quality of their lives!
    I came to the site looking for help for my friend who’s baby was born May 5th, several issues keep him in the emergency room in and out. While I am totally convinced modern med is causing havoc, ultrasounds, vaccines. I pray God to give me creativity to show her the ways that she can help healing his little one!

  6. I know I’m a little behind the times here, but I’m fairly new to Signing Time. Watching it with my toddler (SO glad it’s on Netflix now!) because I really want him to become fluent in sign language. I’m fairly fluent, but when we don’t *need* to use it it’s so easy to forget to use it with him. But my sincere hope is to one day adopt because there are so many children out there needing good and loving homes, and if possible I’d like to adopt a deaf child since I do know sign language and deaf children might be be harder to place.

    So, basically, I’m 1.5 weeks postpartum with my second child, and my desire to adopt, and possibly to adopt a deaf child, has been weighing heavily on me today and has also come up in a couple different conversations, and then we discovered Signing Time on Netflix today and my heart felt even heavier with this desire and I was wondering how long after having this baby I need to wait before we start looking into adoption . . . and then I started looking up more information about the people behind Signing Time and found this and definitely started crying.

    Even though the daughter who you were just reunited with is not the same daughter who’s deaf, the overall themes of deafness and adoption and everything just keep coming up again and again. I’m SO happy for you that you’ve been able to be reunited with your daughter! And I’m sure that the timing of my reading this story was more than a coincidence.

  7. Just came across this post now and am so amazed and touched by your story and how brave you are in sharing it. So many times we are afraid to share our humanness…and forget that when we do, we can be of comfort and support to others in a way only someone who has faced a similar situation can. I was already in awe of what you had created with your love and passion for your kids and families everywhere but reading this part of your journey just makes me admire and respect you more. I could only hope that if I were in your shoes, I would react to the life challenges you have faced in a similar, deeply loving and mature manner. All of your daughters are fortunate to have you as your mother. Thank you for being you, for owning your choices and letting your love for your children outweigh how difficult it must have been to share such a personal story, not knowing if people would understand or receive it with your heart. What a light you shine in this world! You are truly one of my heroes.

  8. I think your story is just amazing!! i got into signing tims because my son was born at 23 weeks and weighed 1lb 10oz. and he was getting visual, occupational,physical &Speech therapy . our house was busy every week. . reese’s speech therapist told us to try to teach him sign language. I’ve seen so many videos and didn’t learn anything til we seen signing time. My son reese ia currently 3 & we have our daughter kylee who is 2 who has no issues, and she learns and loves signing time. my husband also learned signing time.

  9. So beautiful!!! Both of you!!!!!! Your story of devotion after making one of the most difficult decisions a person has to make should be heard by everyone. Truly, from the bottom of my heart, I want you both to know that the love you share as mama/daughter and seeing the two of you together touched my heart in a profound way. As a mom of two little girls, I have been struggling with the demands of having children/ praying a lot lately for strength, etc. and coming across your story was a way for God speak to me. Your BEAUTIFUL, heartfelt, real-life story of CHERISHING your child so deeply grounded me in the truth. The immense joy and RELIEF you shared of having your beautiful “baby” girl back in your life and in your arms leaves me almost weak. SUCH AN INCREDIBLE TESTIMONY of the bond between mother and child!!! BOTH of you are amazing women and I am so grateful there are people like you both in this world…you are a TRUE inspiration to me. Thank you so very much for sharing! ABUNDANT BLESSINGS TO YOU AND YOURS!!!!! P.S. My two girls LOVE Signing Time—Rachel, your beautiful soul shines when watching the show and Alex and Leah are wonderful and so entertaining! Thanks for teaching us sign language!! Peace and Love to your amazing FAMILY!!!!!!!

  10. Hi Rachel! My kids grew up listening and learning from you! We have loved your songs and loved seeing Alex and Leah grow up.
    My Dad was adopted in 1945, and 2 years ago I tracked down his birth family. They never knew he existed, his mother took it to the grave. I am so happy I could give him siblings, he was raised alone.
    You did the right thing for your daughter, but I am so glad she found you. Your mother, is your mother, no matter what!

  11. As someone who aged out of care and have adopted it always warms my heart to hear stories of reunification. Thank you for sharing. You and your family are in my prayers. Enjoy the new journey.

  12. Wow, this story is beyond beautiful. The love and acceptance that you both share from the very first contact – a bond so deep that time and circumstance could not break it. And I think it is amazing that beautiful Laura was smiling from her sunshine frame all those years and watching over her little sisters. She was clearly with you in spirit all those years too. What a gift for you all. Thank you for sharing this touching story.

  13. I read this story as I have my lap (and heart) full of my almost 3 year old adopted daughter and my just turned 2 year old foster son who has been with is for 2 years… as we watch Signing Time.
    I cried with joy for both, all, of you!
    Thank you for sharing your story!

  14. Thank you so much, I definitely need this! I just got my blog to the point where I consider it ready for people to see–but I have no idea what to do next! There’s so much to learn about blogging and I appreciate how you’ve broken it down so there’s a roadmap to follow.

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