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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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…ย 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. This is the first entry I’ve ever read on this blog and I’m tearing up! Such a heartwarming story of a mother’s love. I am very impressed with the story of how you handled the idea of having an adopted sister with your two younger daughters.

  2. Hi Rachel ๐Ÿ™‚
    Reading the Blog seems am out of words to say that you are a true Hero.God Bless you and Bless your Beautiful Family.And thank you for shared with us your amazing story.

  3. This is the first time I’ve visited your blog and I’m sitting in the library practically balling my eyes out! What a beautiful story. I am so happy for your reunion and your beautiful family. What a blessing.

  4. Thanks for sharing your story. You are so brave! I cried as I read your post. Thatโ€™s so wonderful that you reconnected with your first baby. My Mom was 16 when she had to give a child up for adoption. Four months later she found out she was pregnant again (with me), but this time she and my Dad married each other. I grew up knowing that I had an older brother. My Mom held nothing back and was always open and honest with me. I saw the pain in her eyes and could feel her broken heart. She never once not thought about him from the time she left him with his adoptive parents. Motherโ€™s Day was a painful day for her too even though she had me and my other brother to celebrate with. I always wished I could take her pain away. When he turned 19 he found out he was adopted and became an active part in our lives. Itโ€™s been great having my big brother around. Itโ€™s like he was never gone. Congrats on this new chapter in your life! Thereโ€™s going to be many happy years ahead for you.

  5. You are tops at our house Rachel with my 15 year old son! And you’re even more so now with me!! Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. It is more than I ever expected from reading that adoption tweet today. I’d love to speak with you on the radio when you are ready (or available!) You have my utmost respect. Bring it on! Best wishes, ANNE

  6. Thanks for sharing. What a beautiful story! We adopted our daughter at birth and she LOVES Signing Time, so this post was extra awesome! Hooray for adoption!

  7. I am waiting for this day. The little boy I gave up for adoption will be 14 this summer. It is very hard for me to believe that that much time has passed, but it has. This is a beautiful story. My story can be found here : and photos are here

    Lorelli knows that she has a brother out there somewhere. And what city he lives in. And she knows that there is the very distinct possibility that she may never meet him in her whole life. But, I hope that is not true.

  8. Oh My GOODNESS!!! Your blogs have made me emotional in the past, but this wins the grand prize. How did I miss this?! Slightly delayed in finding this out- I saw your birthday wishes on Facebook and decided to search your blog to find out who this honorary daughter girl was. The girl in the Christmas card who I’d assumed was your new nanny. Your daughter… YOUR REAL DAUGHTER!!!!! After my head stopped spinning, I read the rest of this blog and had to try to contain myself. Tears of sadness and happiness for you. Your lives are complete and I am soooo happy and excited for you all. Best wishes, beautiful complete family! xo ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. I love your blog.. thank you for sharing. We love you and your family, including Laura. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I found this blog about a week ago through signing time. oom and I was looking for some more signing time dvds for my kids. I am a deaf mom with 3 children(ages almost 6, 4 and almost 2) who loves your signing time dvds. Right now my youngest child is always asking for signing time.
    Keep writing and can’t wait to hear more of your stories.
    ~Jamie and family~

  10. I am so happy for you both! What a wonderful wonderful moment! You never cease to stop inspiring me, you really are an amazing woman, and your daughters are so lucky to have you! Thank you for sharing your life with us all!

  11. I am so happy for you! My cousin (Who is the same age as I am) gave up a child for adoption for the what seem to be same reasons. I have always been in awe of the remarkable amount of selflessness that action requires. To give a life is the most amazing gift I can imagine.

    Congratulations to your entire family! What an amazing gift you gave. What an amazing gift you are now receiving!

  12. Rachel- I’m sitting here with tears pouring down my cheeks. You are truly a hero, truly an example to follow. You are a beautiful person, inside and out.

    You were at our Buddy Walk 2 years ago for DSANV when it was rained out. Now you will be at our 2011 Buddy Walk and I can’t wait to see you and hug you.

    Thanks for being you and for having the courage to share so openly with all of us. You are truly a gift.

  13. Fantastic! Absolutely beautiful! ~ The story, you, and your entire family. Thank you for sharing this with all of your fans Rachel! Another awesome chapter in each of your life books.

  14. I know I’m a bit late to the party but just wanted you to know how much your story touched me. I used to read your blog but have a very active 18 month old who is completely obsessed with Signing Time leaving me with very little blog-reading time. She asks for it from the time she wakes up until the time she goes to sleep. I came here looking to see if you’d be visiting anywhere near us and found this story.

    I can’t wait to share this story with my daughter’s birthmama! She knows how much our daughter loves you (and she watched BST on her last visit here on our girls first birthday!) and I think she’ll be really touched to “know” another fabulous birthmama. I’m so thankful that adoptions have changed since you placed Laura and that neither my girl or her firstmama will have to wait for a reunion.

    We’ve always love the song “so many, many people who love me” and have used the signs for all of her family. Our girl will grow up knowing so many people love her and so many people are like her and her (very) extended family.

    I’m also thrilled that she’ll be able to sign with her older cousin with Down Syndrome who lives in UT (I think one of your sister’s used to work for my SIL).

    Thank you for all you for all of us by giving us Signing Time and so much of yourselves.

  15. Wow…just wow…I’m the little sister who wanted to know who the older sister was. And funny, my name is Leah. I know those feelings your Leah had, only I didn’t know about my sister until I was 16. When my mom placed her baby girl for adoption these things were still secret. When I met her at 17, it was like looking at a younger version of my mom. Almost like someone in costume. 26 years late sometimes it still feels that way. Later I help families reunite families who had been separated by adoption. Then, back in December, I adopted a 10 year old boy, Axel, from Serbia. I have his birth parent’s contact information but just haven’t been sure about contacting them. It’s all so new. But you’ve convinced me, they just want to know he is OK, and happy, and his new life is GOOD. And to whoever sent Axel the signing time videos, thank you! As a former ASL interpreter, the videos have been instrumental in helping me stay on track with introducing new signs to him, and pre-teaching some things we are doing each day.

  16. Thank you Rachel for sharing this wonderful reunion. She is beautiful and so are Leah and Lucy and so are you. I couldn’t help but cry tears of joy. It is so wonderful that you have found each other and she is not holding a grudge for being adopted out to someone else so many adopted have bad feeling toward thier biological parents for giving them away. And this is just so beautiful to read and see the wonderful pictures of you all together. Love from a fan!

  17. I admire you now more than ever… I am so glad you finally had the opportunity to see your first born. As an adoptions social worker, I am very much aware of the pain birth mothers experience when they make the gift of adoption. Thank you Rachel and may God continue to bless you and all your family!

    PS: I will always be grateful to you and Signing Time… because of you, my 5 year old son is multilingual (Spanish, English and Sign Language)
    and speaks English with an American accent ๐Ÿ˜‰

  18. What an inspiring story! (all of your posts but this one touched me personally) We adopted our son from Guatemala and doubt there will ever be a reunion like yours, but I pray she knows in her heart how her selfless act gave my entire family such love and joy! I admire anyone who could put the needs of a child before their own desires!

  19. Rachel – I read this post and it brought tears to my eyes. I’m not the mom who gave my daughter up for adoption; I’m the little girl who was given up for adoption. At my mother’s urging, my father gave up all rights to me when I was 12. I was later adopted by my step-father, but I never forgot my Dad.

    I know from being that little girl, there is a lot of fear in contacting your birthparent – fear of rejection and fear of angering your adoptive parents. It took me about 2 decades, well after my own special needs child was born, before I had the courage to find my Dad. It was son, who is autistic, who gave me that courage. I was so excited to find my Dad, plus 4 siblings I never knew I had! I’m a good 2 decades older than they are, but they’re my little brothers and sisters no matter what.

    What a special story you have to share! Your daughter should know just how much courage it takes to reach out to a birthparent and how incredible it is that she took that step. Best of luck to your family as you become a family together!

  20. I have a similar story, except I haven’t met my son yet. I keep in touch with his Mom via email and now facebook, but it will be up to him if he wants to meet me this side of heaven. You are so fortunate to have had such a supportive husband when you told him about your first daughter. Thanks for sharing your story. And the pictures! It is so neat how much you look alike!

  21. I read this three days ago & can’t stop thinking about it. What a beautiful, beautiful story & what a beautiful mother & daughter! Welcome, welcome Miss Laura! We DO love you, too! ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. This is an inspiring story! Thank you for sharing your family. Would love to hear how things are going with Laura and Leah and Lucy!

    • Laura is in her second year of college on the east coast. She was able to join us in NYC in September for the National Down Syndrome Buddy Walk in central Park. I have photos posted here on my Facebook Fan Page: She is coming to Los Angeles with us in December and we will fly her home to her parents before Christmas. Just chatted with her yesterday and she is working on fundraising for the Signing Time Foundation so that she can go to Ghana Africa with us in January.

  23. Oh my gosh this just seriously made me cry! Rachel you are such an inspiration. I have a special needs child myself and you have TWO and have been through so much and yet you still have such a kind heart. I am so glad you got to meet your daughter ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. I’m laughing and crying at the same time. Wow!!!! Rachel you are amazing and inspiring. I wish you many blessings for 2012. Thank you for sharing the good and the bad with your fans. Thank you for being real.

  25. What a lovely story. My Mum had a girl when she was 18 and gave her up for adoption (back in 1966) because she was not able to cope at that time.

    Mum then met my Dad, got married and me and my sister came along.

    My half-sister she came back into my Mum’s life about 3 years ago. It’s been challenging but we all made it through OK.

    My wife and I, with our 15 month old Max, LOVE Baby Signing Time. We are hoping to come to the event in Portland later in 2012.



  26. I am encouraged by your story (testimony) and I have to say that it is miracle. This is to show others that miracles are possible and that God can take a daunting situation and turn it into something wonderful. God Bless you.

  27. As an adoptive parent of 4 I fear this day…
    I could read the bond the two of you had with 18 years between…I want to be enough for my kids and want them to celebrate their birthfamily but the fear they will leave and not come back haunts me.

    I am so happy for you and your whole family ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Amanda,
      There is enough love for all. Laura was able to have some of her life-long questions answered. She was able to put to rest some of her fears. She is surrounded by people who love her and want her to have a great life. She has 6 additional siblings since reuniting with us and her birthdad. None of the “new” takes anything away from the family that raised her… I chose them. I gave her to them. There is no going back and no regrets. There is the possibility of peace for all. When we very first met, her mom put her arms around me and thanked me for giving them Laura. Your children’s birthparents may share your exact same fear, that their children have left and may not come back. I was haunted by that too. But, there is enough love:) I promise

  28. Hello,

    I placed my baby for adoption when I was 15 years old. I loved reading your story! I have a FB page and blog where I do interviews to share stories surrounding adoption. I would love to interview you if you are interested!


  29. Rachel,

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful story. My bro & sis-in-law have been blessed with two open-adoption miracles in their family and he is working on a book from the adoptive father’s perspective. They also have a FB page where people share stories from both birth and adoptive family sides. They also field questions for anyone who has wondered anything about adoption open or otherwise. Please check out their page sometime:

    My wife and I also love all of your Signing Time videos. Our 3 boys are all growing up with them and doing amazing in their mental/communication development. Thanks for all your great work and example!


  30. WOW! Our two beautiful adopted children LOOOVE your Baby Signing Time Videos!! So inspired. When I found out you were a birthmom, I had an instant love for you and your story… Thank you for sharing! I hope you don’t mind me sharing your story on our adoption facebook page. To follow up on this share you can visit Open Adoption, Open Heart on facebook.

    Thanks again, I have been very touched. I am so glad you are in contact with one another after so many long awaited years. Sincerely Jammie

  31. As an adoptive mom to two little boys with severe hearing loss and unable to walk,can I just say how could I love you more?! What beautiful story! Thank you for being the start to our journey of learning asl. I don’t know if my boys will ever know their first mom as our adoption story is very different.

  32. i just wanted to say that your story made me cry with Laura. i myself was adopted at 4 and was taken away at 2, but for the totally opposite reason, ( they decided to do bad thing and their children were taken away) i reunited in 2008 with my birth family. i found out i had an older sister ( all i ever wanted was a sister) unfortunately i haven’t found it in my heart to forgive, but i am trying. i think with what you said you typed to your daughter as your second response may help me a little bit.

    again your story hit home with me and i am glad you got to reunite with your daughter

  33. The more I read about you – the more I love you.
    Your life unfolds like an onion, you just keep peeling back the layers, and with each layer I’m in absolute tears. I just want to hug you!!!!

  34. Just found your blog! I am excited!

    Wahoo! What a GREAT post! I have heard that song and I wondered too, but never thought beyond that! Wow! What a GREAT Mother’s day present! What a GREAT thing to have ALL of your girls together! And yes, she is BEAUTIFUL! I love your smile now too! You smile with your eyes because your heart is happy and complete! Much love!

  35. You may be surprised that people are still finding you and reading this post 3 years after you first uploaded it (and I’ve ready many of your other ones over the past 30-45 minutes, when I should be finishing my book manuscript…)!
    Well, I am reduced (or lifted) to a puddle of sobbing, happy, joyous-with-you tears. You have transported me into your experience: your pain, your longing, your hope, your joy! Thank you!
    You have a remarkable family. I believe it’s because God made you and your husband remarkable people, with enormous hearts, able to be filled with hope, love, and the persistence needed to meet the challenges of the lives you’ve led. Then, God made your children and you, all, objects of grace and, subsequently, vessels of that grace to the world.
    Thanks for blessing me tonight.

    • Natalie, thank you:) I love that this post STILL gets comments and still touches and moves readers so deeply. We are still having a blast having Laura in our lives. It has been a gift to share our lives. We are all still pinching ourselves, yes still!

  36. As an adoptive mother, THANK YOU. Not only for your sacrifice in lovingly placing your daughter into the arms of a family waiting to parent her, but for loving her through it. For NOT hiding in shame or embarrassment. For raising your younger daughters to know, from the beginning, that they have this other sister out there, never knowing whether or not they’d ever meet face to face. You are a proud representation of birth mothers and I am blessed to have read your story today. Thank you for sharing! May God bless your reunited family!

  37. Rachel,
    I am a friend of Emilie’s from college and was talking with my family today about you and Emilie, Signing Time, how I liked your blog was when I first read it years ago. So I got on again and just read this section. My eyes are still streaming tears. Good for you Rachel, good for you… Amazing happy part of your “story.” Thank you for sharing this. I hope things are still going well. Please pass on a hello to Emilie. DeeDee (Seattle)

    • Emilie is right here and says, “Hello my friend! Remembering our time in Seattle… and didn’t we hang out in Hawaii?” Hoping all is well. Find me on Facebook please if you are on it.” – Emilie

  38. I have known about signing time for 10 1/2 years (when my first daughter was born)!. Almost since the very beginning of signing time. I remember when that song first came out – I loved that song – that cd and love that you shared such a difficult moment in your life with all of us “fans”. I’m so grateful to read all about the amazing “reunion”. I cried too! Hugs and best wishes to all!

  39. Rachel, I sent an e-mail to you about our adopted daughter recently. I do not know if you actually saw it personally, but she is four years old and has multiple special needs. She is deaf and now has two cochlear implants. She loves the “Signing Time” DVD’s and we have purchased all of Volume 1 and Volume 2. She now knows about 600 signs in ASL due to your DVDs. This is amazing since we were told she would never learn much of anything due to her brain atrophy. There is much more to Sami’s story, but I am writing this because I just learned about Laura, and I want you to know that my husband and I have great respect for any birth parent who loves their child enough to give them up if they believe that is in the best interest of their child. We could not love our little girl more if she had been born to us, but we feel her birth mom and dad love her, too. . . enough to realize that they could not deal with all her special needs and were willing to give her to someone else who could love and care for her. May God bless you for loving Laura that much. I am very happy for you that you are now able to finally be a part of her life.

  40. Oh my goodness! How wonderful! So many people in your place would have had an abortion, but you chose LIFE! God bless you, Rachel!!!


Leave a Reply to anice daud Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.