October 24, 2005 12:00 PM

NAME: Tracee Warren

TODAY: Getting married

Warren, 23, always wanted a wedding and a child. She got both. Just not in the typical order. “I’ve never thought there’s only one way to do things,” she says. She did marry the man of her dreams, 22-year-old Tim Warren, her high school sweetheart and 7-month-old Alec’s father. In addition to Alec (right), Tracee’s 14 guests at Little Chapel of the Flowers in Las Vegas were close family members. “There’s nothing I would change about that day.”

NAMES: Augusta and Gina Bello

TODAY: Hosting Family dinner

When the Bellos gather, “Chaos reigns, everyone talks at once, teasing is ceaseless, and we have a lot of laughs,” says Gina Bello (right, with mom Augusta, 82, and family in Nyack, N.Y.). And, she adds, plenty of good food: “We make everything from scratch.” Having lost her beloved father, Michael, five years ago, she savors family time even more. “The torch is being passed to my generation to take over the cooking. We’re not going to have the elders around forever.”

NAME: Adela Vazquez

TODAY: Guarding the border

As a border patrol agent in Carrizo Springs, Texas, Vazquez, 28, stalks illegal immigrants through the desert. In the morning she is home caring for the family she alone supports: daughter Karla, 6, and son Carlos, 2, and her parents. Her children’s father is a student. “There’s a time to be tough and a time not to be tough,” she says. “I don’t bring work home.”

NAMES: Drs. Michelle Drury & Marcie Lavigne

TODAY: Seeing patients, caring for their baby

They relied on med-school know-how to calm their patients’ new-parent anxiety. Until they had a baby of their own. “It’s been eye-opening,” says Marcie (right) of their 5-month-old daughter, Rowan, to whom Michelle gave birth. The two family-practice physicians met as students before moving to Boulder, Colo. “I’m as attached as if I’m the birth mom.” Which she’ll be next year when the couple plan Baby No. 2.

NAME: Devorah Leah Lederman

TODAY: Celebrating Shabbat

In her 20s Devorah was a secular New Yorker working on her Ph.D. in English. “A typical liberal, intellectual baby boomer,” she says. Today, at 46, she’s a Hasidic Jew and a stay-at-home mother of six in Postville, Iowa. “It was an intuitive gut thing,” Devorah says of her transformation. “I was tired of the grime and the traffic of New York. I wanted a real house.” She also wanted a strong Hasidic community, which left the Ledermans considering two options: Israel or the unlikely city of Postville, where since 1987 a religious population has sprung up around a kosher meat processing plant. While her wig and ankle-length skirts sometimes attract curious looks at the local Wal-Mart, Devorah feels at ease. “Everything in my life is shaped by faith,” she says. “Divine providence brought us here.”

NAME: Elizabeth Alequin

TODAY: In a home for ex-inmates

During her 18 months in two New York prisons for a drug conviction, Elizabeth, 31, gave birth to a baby boy, Anthony. She sought help at Hour Children, a program that offers transitional housing, daycare and life-skills support for ex-inmates in Queens. Says Elizabeth: “It’s a stepping stone to getting my own place and doing my own thing. I love it.”

NAME: Dr. Anne Rosenberg

TODAY: Treating cancer patients

“If you had asked me when I was in second grade, ‘What do you want to do when you grow up?’ I would have said, ‘I want to be a surgeon,'” says Anne, 48. Today she is a surgeon, specializing in breast cancer treatment in Philadelphia. Divorced, she often ends the day sharing Chinese food with her two boys at their 50-acre farm. “Most people would introduce me as a physician. I define myself as Ryan’s and Evan’s mother.”

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