LIFE

This Adoptive Mother Was Stunned When A Stranger Said This About Her Family…

by Todd Briscoe
Todd is a LittleThings editor. He grew up in Texas and has lived in New York since 2003. He doesn't own a Boston terrier, but he will one day soon.

If you come to LittleThings for stories about positivity in the face of adversity, then I think you’re really going to enjoy this heartwarming story from Lauren Casper.

Lauren is a devoted wife and an adoptive mother to Arsema and Mareto. She writes regularly on her blog, where every post ends with a positive message of inspiration, hope, and gratitude. She has written a book about adopting on a budget, and she’s also started a ministry for women called The Carry Camp.

She agreed to let us share one of our favorite stories from her blog below. Titled “Grace at Trader Joe’s,” many of us teared up while reading it. It really sums up just how hard it can be to be a parent, but also how the tiniest act of kindness can make a huge difference in someone’s life.

Lauren encourages her readers to “spread little bits of happy everywhere” they go, which is what we’re trying to do by sharing her story.

If this story moves you and you believe in spreading the happy too, please SHARE Lauren’s story with friends.

Lauren Casper and Family

I was tired, hurried, frustrated, and ready to just go home. John was pushing Mareto in the cart just as fast as he could to leave the store before the melt down got worse. We were frantically trying to open up a cereal bar  in an effort to stem the tears. Arsema was strapped to my chest in the ergo carrier watching it all through wide eyes. Sweat beads were forming on my forehead, caused in part by my embarrassment, but mostly from the heat and amount of energy I was exerting by running through Trader Joe’s with my 18 pound baby strapped to my chest and my toddler year old screaming behind me.

I sure didn’t feel like I was going to be in the running for any mom of the year awards. I felt like a hot mess. In fact, I was sincerely hoping that no one was looking at us too closely… that somehow we were invisible to the people bustling around us. It was chaotic, exhausting, and an unfortunately all too common experience for us.

Our family doesn’t exactly blend in with the wall paper. Not only are we two white parents with a brown son and daughter (something that causes enough stares and questions all by itself), but our son has noticeable developmental delays and different behaviors caused by his autism, and our daughter has physical differences with her missing and webbed digits. In other words, when we all go out together we stand out. Usually I don’t mind, and often I love it. My children are beautiful and so is our story.

Lauren Casper Trader Joe's Josh and Daughter

Sometimes though, on the days when we are very far from having it together, I do mind. Those days I just want to blend in with the crowd and hide far away from the curious stares. Some days I get tired of it all and just want to be a family. Not the adoptive family. Not the family with special needs children. Not the unique family… just a family. This was one of those days.

I was close to tears myself as John took Mareto to put the cart away. I rushed through the doors with Arsema on my chest to get to the car as quickly as possible when a voice behind me slowed my steps.

“Ma’am!!” She called out. I slowed, hoping and praying she wasn’t talking to me.

Lauren Casper Trader Joe's Reads to Son

“Ma’am!”  I stopped and turned to find a young woman rushing toward me. A bright smile covered her face and I immediately noticed her beautiful black curls, just like the black curls snuggled on my chest, tickling my chin. Recognizing her shirt, I realized that she worked there and assumed I must have dropped something. I looked at her, holding back my tears, waiting.

I just wanted you to have this bouquet…” and I looked down to see the flowers in her hands. She quickly continued to explain…

“I was adopted as a baby and it has been a wonderful thing. We need more families like yours.” I stared at her, stunned. Hadn’t she seen what a disaster we were in the store? Didn’t she see that we were barely able to keep it together? Didn’t she see what I felt were all my failures as a mom?

Lauren Casper trader Joes and family

As she handed me the flowers I managed to choke out a thank you and tried to express that this meant the world to me. She patted my shoulder, told me my family was beautiful, and walked back into the store.

My steps were much slower as I finally headed to the car with my arms full of flowers and tears that had spilled over onto my cheeks. On a day when I felt like we were the worst example of family… a day when I hoped no one noticed us… she did.  But she didn’t see what I assumed everyone was seeing. She didn’t think what I assumed everyone was thinking. She saw beauty and love and hope and family. She thought we were wonderful and it made her smile.

I wish I had thought to get her name. I wish I could go back and tell her, two years later, what her gift continues to mean to me today. To the beautiful young woman in the parking lot of Trader Joe’s … thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are a treasure.

Please SHARE this piece of happy with a friend!