Creating a Family

Photo by Heather Spencer

Submitted by Heather Spencer

As a teenager, I had this idea of how my adulthood would look. Marriage. Children. Perfection. It was difficult to wake up one day after fifteen years of marriage and realize that 2/3 of my life goals had still not happened.

My husband, Greg, and I went through years of infertility treatments with no success. After much soul-searching and prayer, we decided that adoption was the perfect way to create our family. Once the decision was made, we began a six-year journey of searching and hoping for a child to join our family. Through a series of miracles, we have been able to adopt two precious daughters. We have open adoptions with regular communication and visits with our children’s birth mothers. Their birth moms, T and M, are the most amazing women! We are so thankful to be a part of their lives.

As a trained economist, it is difficult for me to wrap my head around the adoption triad. This is because it seems like an unequal transaction. T and M gave us everything, and we pay the state for the privilege. The law of supply and demand is also at work. There is a limited supply of babies placed for adoption and many families hoping to adopt. We feel truly blessed to have been chosen by T and M. These women did not “give up” their daughters; they placed them in our hearts and in our arms. We will be forever grateful.

As I have transitioned from working outside of the home to working inside of the home, I find myself amazed at how almost effortless it has been to slip into mothering patterns. With a 3-month-old and an 18-month-old, life can be hectic, crazy and sometimes difficult. But, nearly every day I find myself cashing a “mommy paycheck”. This happens when my toddler brings books to the baby to share, or cuddling the baby while smelling her sweet cheeks, and especially when gazing on the precious, contented faces of my sleeping girls.

Photo by Heather Spencer

I find myself wanting to freeze every moment.I know that my daughters are still young, but they seem to grow up very quickly. Perhaps the most important thing I have learned in my motherhood journey is to cherish each moment. This is true even (or especially) when both girls are crying and it seems like forever until my husband will get home.

Motherhood is truly my greatest challenge and my greatest adventure. I want to do more, be more, create more. I want to eradicate all of my bad habits so I will not teach them to my girls. It can be very overwhelming when I consider the scope of the responsibilities I now carry. I have to remind myself of something a wise friend once told me, “I can do anything, but I cannot do everything.” At this time in my life, I can play with baby dolls and board books and balls and rattles. I can change diapers and warm bottles and make mashed potatoes. I can love and snuggle and cherish. But, I cannot do it all at the same time.

Photo by Heather Spencer

Ultimately, here is how my life goals list looks: Marriage? Check. Children? Check. Perfection? Most definitely, check!

QUESTION: How can we, as mothers, choose to freeze and cherish small moments with our children?

CHALLENGE: Avoid the trap of trying to do and be everything to our children while realizing that life comes and moves in many stages.


  1. says

    Lately I find myself telling my children, “If I had 3 more hands and 1 more brain, I might be able to help you. But for right now, I have to…” stir the pot, or finishing changing the dirty diaper, or feed the baby, or finish on the phone. You are sooo right. I can do anything but I can’t do everything at the same time. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Beth says

    It is so amazing how motherhood can remind you of the simple pleasures in life. Life slows down a lot and most of the unimportant things fall away. A quiet afternoon with no fights or messes can be the highlight of the whole day.
    Thank you for sharing your perspective. The love you have for your daughters and for your birth mothers is so palpable in your words, it is inspiring to read.
    I am going to have to put that quote on the fridge. “I can do anything. I cannot do everything”

  3. says

    Well written Rachelle. We love Greg and Heather and their girls and to watch this story unfold over the last few years has been great. Thanks to you and the Spencers for sharing!

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