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 πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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.
    ~R
    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…Β 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. www.deafchildren.org 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 www.mydeafchild.org. For those who do not qualify to receive Sign It ASL for free, they can find it for purchase at very reasonable rates on www.SignItASL.com. 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. Rachel, I am so very happy for you. I can’t imagine the courage it takes to hand your baby girl over to someone who you feel will love her just as much as you do. And I can’t imagine getting her back. The two of you look so alike, and the love in your eyes and your smiles bring tears to my eyes.
    Thank you for sharing this journey with us, and Laura, your Mom is right, we do love you!

  2. This is my first time to your blog although we are huge baby signing time fans and I get massages from your sister. I admire you and your family so much. I lost my first daughter to a chromosomal abnormality and just gave birth to another child with the same abnormality who is in the NICU. I also have a healthy 2 year old and a 6 month old we adopted at birth whose mom was too young to keep her. Your pictures made me cry and made me so happy. Thank you for all you do.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing such a personal story! I am an adoptive mother to a beautiful 1 yr old baby girl, who has recently started watching your videos! We love signing and being able to communicate with her already! But then coming and reading this really warmed my heart. I often imagine what my daughter’s reunion will be like with her birthfamily. I think of her birthmother and siblings daily! I can only hope her reunion is as wonderful and happy as yours!

  4. We Do already Love you Laura! WOW! Thank you for sharing something as intimate as this Rachel! It was incredible. I am so happy this dream of dreams came true!

  5. What a woman of such integrity, kindness and REAL! R you really are an inspiration in everything you do.

    God Bless each of you!!

  6. In a World of Darkness,
    What a Bright, illuminating Story,

    In a World of Silence,
    What a wonderfully loud Story,

    In a World full of Ignorance,
    What a Great Story of Awakenings.

    Truly as you are a Blessing to us,
    You are a Blessing to yours,

    The Gift of ‘Family’, belonging and Loving,
    Is the most Highest of Honors,
    The Greatest of Loves,
    The most powerful of Desires,
    The most precious gift of all Gifts.

    Thank you for allowing us to share this with you,
    For sharing something both so intimate and personal and for making us all feel a little closer and a little more a part of your global
    Family.

    All the best, as always to you and to yours.

    Robert R.
    (Yeah, the Facebook guy)

  7. I read this on Friday while watching a keynote and was worried someone would see the tears coming to my eyes… and I couldn’t help thinking of the story over the past few days. I’m so happy for you and your family. I admire your transparency and authenticity online, and thank you for sharing with all of us.

    -Mark

  8. We started watching the signing time videos 4 years ago when we brought our son home from China, and realized that his cleft palate was going to make spoken language aquisition even more of a challenge than we’d anticipated. You and your family have been heros in our household ever since; I sang one of your songs to him as I took him back to the operating room for his last surgery. Today, I admire you more than ever, and I have one more hero– a young woman who had the courage and heart to reach out to her first mom! Many blessings, and much happiness, to you all!

  9. This is just such an amazing story. What an unselfish thing for you to do at 17. I love this story! You are an amazing woman and they are all lucky to have you and you to have them! And she fits in with the other L names! Perfect!

  10. Rachel, I’m sitting here crying! I am an adoptive mother and I hope that our open relationship with my son’s first family will help prevent his mother from feeling some of the anguish you felt all those years. Signing time has been so special to us because Sam has apraxia and can’t speak…so we are a signing family. To learn that we also have adoption in common…well, that is just really special. Our hearts and prayers go with you and we’re rejoicing with you and your daughters! I’m so glad you’re reunited!

  11. What a beautiful reunion! Thank you for sharing again & again. Whenever I feel life is hard I read your words and find strength. You & your family have become a wonderful addition to my family. Our youngest(3 yrs) has a unknown condition where he temporarily (at this point) loses the ability to walk & talk. Singing Time has not only helped us to communicate better but seeing the variety of kids on your DVDs has helped him realize that he’s not alone.

  12. Well, Rachel. I can’t tell you how odd this is for me. I came to you through Kari Bryant’s blog – celebrating open adoption. She’s extended family of mine. And I was reading because the story seemed interesting and dear. But then I realized – I know you. I don’t remember how many years it’s been since my husband and I were hanging out at your house in SL – it was while I was recording my childrens’ album with your dad (if you are the Rachel I think you are). And what a journey you gave taken. You have moved me to the core. How glorious that she found you. How glorious.

  13. Rachel, although we may not experience everything you have in life, you are still relate-able. Your first and oldest daughter is beautiful and I love how she volunteered to dress up as Hopkins. I am smiling for you and your family. It looks like Laura has a loving family who raised her well and now she has an even bigger family that will love and support her through her future endeavors.

  14. I am so happy for you that you had the happiest day of your life. The emails that you shared show such deep love, so freely expressed.

    May you have many happy days.

  15. Wow. I knew already that you’d placed a baby for adoption and what a sweet reunion! I find it interesting how you don’t even know who I am and yet our lives seem intertwined in strange ways. I don’t propose that we meet and become friends as I know how busy you are and how many friends you already have. Still, I find it interesting. I don’t have a Deaf child, but I’ve been signing since I was 14. I’ve loved Signing Time since the beginning (I think I discovered it when volumes 4-6 came out.) And then even how adoption is a part of both our lives. We are in process of adopting a 12 year old girl from Ukraine. I have a special place in my heart birth moms. :^) And, as a bonus, while she was here for a couple of weeks I was using ASL/Signing Time as a way to help bridge our communication gap. I’m sure I’ll be using much more when we get her back here!

    Thank you for the inspiring story!

  16. Rachel: What a beautiful story. I am the mom of two wonderful angels that my husband and I have adopted from China. Our 3 year old who just came home in March was born with Bi-Lateral Ear Microtia (with out outter ears). We communicate through ASL and she is learning verbal language as well. Is is through our Annie that we learned of you and Singing Times.

    As an adoptive mom let me say THANK YOU!!! It is thanks to a nameless faceless woman who was brave and selfless enough just like you that I have my daughters. It is thanks to birthmoms that us adoptive moms have our the loves of our lives. “You” gave birth to my heart and it is for “you” that I will always be grateful! How wonderful that you are reunited with your child. God Bless you and your family for the help with ASL and for the countless selfless choices you have made in your life.

  17. November is National Adoption Month, so I think your timing is perfect. My husband and I are parents thanks to the miracle of adoption and a brave woman, just like you. I know my son’s birth mother loves him, and he’ll always know that. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.

    I also wanted to tell you we just started watching baby signing time three days ago. Already my one-year-old can ask for signing time using the signs. He can also tell me he wants food. And this morning, he asked me for a banana. Thank you so much!

  18. Hello Rachel!!

    First of all, sorry for my english, I’m not that fluent in it.

    I want to say a lot of things, but I think I can summarize all of them with a…WOW!! …what an amazing story your life is…so inspiring!!

    Before knowing your “secret”, I admired you because of the way you where able to move forward with your daughters and even created this amazing company “ST”…but now, I admire you even more.

    You are such a sweet person, loving, talented, who has being a special blessing for every single home where there is a “ST DVD”.

    I’m the type of person who thinks that God knows on whom he trusts his babies, because he knows our capacities…he knows our hearts, and he knew there where not going to be better place on earth for Leah and Lucy to be, but with you, as their “mommy”. You have being so wonderful mom to them, that your voice has been heard and every day more people speaks Leah’s language.

    Thanks for sharing your “secret”, it is so a beautiful testimony.

  19. Wow, you should have given us a mascara alert for this one! I’m so glad this is the reason you haven’t been posting much lately. Enjoy spending time with your 3 daughters!

  20. As someone who was adopted in a closed adoption as a baby girl and now has a great relationship with my birthmother, I can empathize at the relief of these dreams coming true. Like Laura, my birthmother, who I did not know, was always in my thoughts and prayers, the subject of my 5th grade school report “Who is Your Hero?,” in my thoughts on my birthday. I love the line in your post, “In the world of adoption, I think we all just want to be wanted.” My biggest fear was that I was what no one initially wanted. Now, the circle of family who love me and want me in their lives includes not only my family (in the conventional sense), but my birthparents, their friends, their children, their siblings, their siblings’ children and more! I feel so richly blessed and completely spoiled to have such a wide circle of people that I love and love me in return. I love hearing my birthmother introduce me as her daughter. I love looking into the faces of my biological family and seeing people who resemble me! Most of all, I am so grateful to have the opportunity to thank my birthmother again and again, to show her by the life I’m living that I’m grateful for the sacrifices she made to enable me to be who I am.

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story!

  21. Thank you so much for sharing.
    My husband has a son that he has not seen in almost 17yrs. They talked on the phone for the first time in September.

    Thank you so much!

  22. Oh my gosh…what an unbelievable story. You are such an inspiration…thank you so much for sharing that beautiful story. I can’t wait to learn more about Laura in your future blogs. She is gorgeous! Sobbing, I am sobbing…..tears of happiness, of course, for you and your entire beautiful family. Congratulations!

  23. Oh my. I should have brought my Kleenex.

    I am a first mother myself – my daughter was born in 1992 and I am hoping to someday write a blog post like this myself on my “public” blog.

    I am so thrilled for you and her and your entire family.

    God bless –

    M.

  24. YAY! What a fabulous wonderful story and thank you for sharing it!

    I’m adopted and only had contact with my birthmother through the adoption agency – and she really didn’t want to connect up. Totally fine and I respect that, but it makes me SO happy to hear the love you have for your first daughter – gives me hope! Much love to you!

  25. Wow, I am so truly, deeply happy for all of you! This post had me sobbing. I am so glad that your heart is healed. What a brave, heartbreaking, amazing gift birthmothers give their babies and adoptive families. What a beautiful chapter in the story of your life and Laura’s life! Thank you for writing so openly, it has inspired and helped so many, just to hear about your experiences and feelings. Welcome Laura to the Signing Time family! Hurray!!

  26. My goodness! What a beautiful story! I am sitting here in my very beige cubicle with my heart glowing gold crying tears of sweet joy and love for you and your family. There is such a thing as a happy ending, or should I say happy beginning! Thank you so much for sharing your story of the human spirit! So happy for you!

  27. Rachel, I don’t know how I missed this post. I’m in tears. I’m a birth mother as well. I read this line, “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.” And lost it again. I’ve watched my decision to place affect my boys and it is heart-wrenching at times.

    Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for sharing your journey. Thank you for sharing your daughter with us. I have more words, but I can’t see the computer screen.

    Just thank you.

  28. Pingback: Ignore the Weeper in the Corner; It’s Just Me » The Chronicles of Munchkin Land

  29. I commented in an earlier post, but as I was sharing this story I noticed that ALL 3 girls names start with an “L” Leah, Lucy and Laura.. Just another wonderful tie to this beautiful story.

    Thanks again and Happy Holidays to you all and have a blessed 2011!

  30. Rachel, I just stumbled on this blog while looking for my kids favorite song “In a House”. I am so excited to be able to let you know how much my kids love your videos and songs and how much I appreciate the Signing Time videos. I worked with Special Education Pre-schoolers before my kids were born and I so love when parents take the course of action that you have done for you two girls.
    This post that I am commenting on is beautiful by the way! I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to give up your first born, but thank you for giving that daughter of yours a chance at life!

  31. Wow, I am in tears reading this, I am just SO happy for you all!!!! What a sweet story and I am SO happy for you that you are reunited again. I will have to share this with my daughter when she gets home from school today, I’m pretty sure she’s convinced that you, Leah and Alex are part of our family-she will be very excited to “meet” your first baby too!
    Have a wonderful holiday!!!!

  32. Of course, yet another beautiful story of yours that has me sobbing in front of my computer. Only on Rachel Coleman’s blog, huh? πŸ™‚

    I am so amazingly happy for you and your family. I hope Laura is adjusting well to the Signing Time life–what a family to find out it is your own! I can only imagine the joy and weightlessness you must feel.

    Because giving up a child is so overwhelming for a mom, I think it’s difficult to understand the impact it has or will have on others in your life, especially your own children. My mother also got pregnant when she was 17. My grandmother FORCED her to have an abortion. She’s never entirely divulged to me her pain of losing her child, but growing up, I knew that I was missing someone in my life. What makes the thoughts even more difficult to process is that this was NOT my half-sibling. My mom made this child with her boyfriend of the time, whom she later married (twice, the first time was a secret and a year before the official family wedding– most of my family still doesn’t know about that first anniversary!), and he is my father and my brother’s father. We have another sibling out there, somewhere, in the vast universe. I’ve thrown myself on a bed, crying, NEEDING an older sister, or brother.

    The closest thing I can relate to is when I miscarried back in February. This has been one of the hardest years of my life. Every month since has been a snowball of cataclysmic life events for me. My miscarriage still haunts me, as I imagine it will for the rest of my life. I wonder, then, too, if my children will mourn the loss of our second child, their unknown sibling. I had the gut feeling that the baby was a boy. After I lost him, I prayed and talked to his spirit and named him Alex, after your nephew. I wanted my son to have an immediate connection to our spirit child, so what better name to give him than probably the only other boy he feels he knows so well. Your Alex reminds me of mine all the time. I am grateful that God gave him to me, if only for a short time. He, like all children, born or unborn, with us or not, are gifts.

    I am currently 18 weeks pregnant with our first daughter! So far, so good. Despite this long, arduous year, I’ve got a lot to be thankful for. Looks like you do, too. πŸ™‚ Happy Thanksgiving to that giant, ever-growing family of yours!

  33. I think you were wonderfully brave to place your daughter for adoption, and I am so happy for all of you that you have been able to reunite. I’m sure your holidays will be especially blessed this year!

  34. What a wonderful post! I am so happy for you and your girls. I love that you didn’t keep Laura a secret from your girls and that they always knew they had a sister. I’m also happy that you shared your story with all of us. You’re awesome and I am just so glad that we’re friends in my head! πŸ™‚

  35. Sobbing with joy! Once again Rachel you have demonstrated your amazing strength! Congratulations on your new addition! (Although it sounds like she never left!) Laura is beautiful…and what an amazing heart she has!

  36. I just read the article on Athleta Chi about how you carry your little girl, and I realized “Oh my gosh, that’s Rachel from Signing Time!”. It really touched my heart, and then I was elated to discover that you have a blog!

    This was the first post that I read, and now I’m full of tears of joy for you πŸ™‚ Bless you and your beautiful family! Thank you for sharing your life and skills with us, so we can learn and be inspired.

  37. Thank you very much for sharing that beautiful part of your life with all of us. I have been your fan since 2005 when I first saw Signing Time with my 1 year old son and I admire you. You are an incredible person and I am happy you have this blog. I’m so happy for you and Laura.

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