It has been a VERY long time since I wrote an adoption update. This month our daughter turned 17, yep, that’s right, I have a 17 year old (yikes!). She asked me to make a cake for her dinner party and while I was making the cake I felt like it was such a good representation of where we are at as a family, so today I’m sharing the pictures of her cake, along with our story.
Let me be the first to say it, adoption is hard. Not that I ever thought it would be easy but I never imagined the way it would stretch and pull me and expose things I didn’t know were hidden inside of me.
Have you ever heard of a “naked cake”? I hadn’t either until Gabriella came to me and asked me to make one for her. At first I was kind of annoyed because I like making pretty cakes, cakes that look pretty on the outside and taste delicious on the inside. But then I realized something, naked cakes are pretty too, but in their own unique way.
They aren’t perfect on the outside like a pinwheel cake or a button cake, they are exposed, which is exactly what adoption has done to me, to my daughter, to our family. I have wounds that are being exposed, that don’t always look pretty when they come out, but they are making me more beautiful each day as I chose to work through them.
And my daughter has wounds, lots of wounds, because she’s never known a family’s love, no one that has ever said they loved her has stuck around, she’s been abandoned time after time. And when those wounds come out, when they rear their ugly head in the form of depression, attitude, walls all around her to protect herself, they aren’t pretty either. But every day that she chooses to stay, to endure love, to work through those wounds, everyday she is a little more beautiful.
There have been days and weeks where I thought it would never look pretty, where we’d be stuck in this ugly, miserable place forever. I’ve never questioned “why” God asked us to adopt because I know His love is so great and that His heart is to save His children. But there have been many days that I’ve questioned “at what cost”? So we rescued a girl, we gave her a life, a home, a family, but at what cost? Sometimes I feel like that decision has cost us everything.
It has cost us so much. Sometimes I look at my friends, and their “normal” lives and wonder what it would be like. But then I wonder if I could ever be happy living a “normal” life, knowing I hadn’t taken the risk that God asked me to. And then I leap.
I dig deeper inside myself, I chose to love, even though some days I think it might actually kill me. I chose to work on myself, I chose to expose the things I didn’t know were hidden, even though it hurts more than I ever thought possible.
But then the Lord, in His graciousness, reminds me to have eternal perspective. He reminds me that He’s molding me and making me more like Him. He reminds me that it’s not just about our daughter but that it’s about her kids and her kid’s kids. He reminds me that He is with me and that “He will never leave me or forsake me”. He reminds me that sometimes it’s good to get out of the moment and look at the bigger picture.
Because the bigger picture isn’t clouded with emotion, pain and heartbreak. The bigger picture is beautiful, it shows growth, it shows God’s grace, it shows me that each day is worth living and that the things that hurt so much will become beautiful when they are molded and shaped by God.
I know it’s not the adoption update you probably expected but I want to be real, I want you to really know me and to know where we are at. Because adoption is hard, but just like Gabriella’s naked cake, the more it is shaped and loved by it’s creator, the more beautiful it becomes, not perfect, but beautiful.
Truly beautiful people never feel beautiful (humility, insecurity, unaware, focused on others not on self ). Your entire family is beautiful, Anna!
I drop by your blog often. So you have an adopted daughter, I am sure she is growing up to be a lovely young lady surrounded by a loving family. I only found out 2 years ago that I am adopted! I am not a teenager, I am not even a young woman any more! In fact I am a grandmother of 3 and married 43 years. So yes I am a silver surfer! To say my world turned upside down was an understatement when I found out my about myself. But I had a safe happy childhood with my parents, who adopted me at age 3 weeks. Yes, they are my parents as I knew of no other parents. I went to Edinburgh to see my adoption papers a few weeks later, and on reading them I do not think I would have had such a happy life if I had not been adopted. So that is the shortened version of my adoption.
How could I get to that age and discover that I am adopted? But in my day these things were hushed up. No one spoke about it.
I did not have any idea of the bomb shell that would drop on 22 November 2012. I will always remember the date as that was your Thanksgiving Day.
So heart felt. Thank you so much for the post. I have a special needs son and I have often felt through the years exactly as you have written. I admire people that can put their emotions into words so people can feel what they feel and have a better understanding of their situation so they too can learn. Thanks.
Richella Parham says
Anna, ever since that day at Haven when I got to have lunch with you and hear the story of your journey with your precious Gabriella, I have been hoping and praying for you, eager to hear more of the real story. I am so very, very happy for you–so glad to hear of the progress you’re making in become more like Christ. It’s HARD, isn’t it? And yet it’s beautiful if we’ll let it be. Thank you for being faithful to the call. Thank you for sharing your story with a wide audience. Thank you for being real and beautiful.
Mimi Moseley says
Oh, Anna, I am crying with tears of admiration for this account of your journey. I am SO incredibly proud of you. This is a VERY special message which God will use for years to come. You are beautiful!
So very touching – thank you for sharing.
Absolutely beautiful cake and post. And you are becoming more beautiful each day as well. Beyond the palace….
I’m a mom to an adopted daughter and I relate to your post. It hasn’t always easy, in fact at times its been very difficult. Thank you for sharing. The cake is beautiful and so are your words.
Karen Dove says
Anna, I went to school with Mimi, in Atlanta, GA. I was married in California. After 2 children, My husband and I split up. He was a mental abuser, so I left him. Then I found out I was expecting our 3rd child. I was 32, 2 babies and homeless. I Gave her up for adoption. People said “it must have been so hard”, but God prepared me by letting me not become attached. Today she is almost 28. I (with God’s help) picked out her family. We have stayed in touch for all these years. She knows her other brother and sister (my 2). I know this is nothing like your story, but with God’s plan, everything is possible and we all grow. Love your story. And I’ve become an advocate for adoptions!
Susie Reeder says
Precious words. Thank you for sharing from the depths of your heart.
Heidi @ Honeybearlane says
I love this post! The cake is beautiful, I adore that style of cakes. But I also love the metaphor it poses for your daughter. I am so happy to have met you in August because you are a blogger I seriously admire so much! God bless you!
Thank you so much Heidi! I loved meeting you too. 🙂
Bonnie @ Uncommon Designs says
Oh Anna, I love this story. We never know where or how God will use us. And yes, you are changing not only her life and yours but that of future generations.
I do my fair share of reading blogs, sometimes I find an interesting tip amongst the text or recipe to try. I never post a comment. Frankly, so many blogs are presented in my opinion as being ‘too perfect’ … the perfect crafts, the perfect dinner, the perfectly redecorated room, the perfect photo to show the perfect crafts and dinner. It’s rare you come across an entry where someone is willing to put their feelings out there so honestly and quite frankly relatable to many. I read this entry a couple days ago and your words have stuck with me. I feel compelled to write a note. Your were so eloquent even though it’s clear how difficult it is for all of you sometimes. The naked cake you were asked to bake may not be perfectly frosted but it is still a beautiful cake because it was made with love for someone you deeply love. If you think about it, each year that ‘frosting’ becomes a bit more ‘perfect’ as the love and trust your daughter is developing grows deeper. Opening your heart to an older adopted child is beautiful but the day to day dynamics of their past can absolutely be difficult on all of you. It’s a process that takes time and consistency, it’s not always easy. But, none of you have given up and you keep working to move forward and that’s absolutely amazing. What a lucky girl your daughter is to be a part of a family like yours. Remember, on those tough days, none of us really have the perfectly frosted cake family. It’s the special few who are willing to share their naked cakes. What an awesome post. It’s a beautiful cake and a beautiful post. It’s one that’s made me think that’s for sure …
Blessings to you and your family as you continue on your journey. Oh, and happy happy birthday to your daughter!
I have been on similar journey with my adopted son. 18 months ago I wasn’t sure where we would be as a family. When a young life stargazing uncertainty, abandonment and pain the wounds are deep. There are still rough patches but he is maturing and emerging into the young man I always new he could be.. I love your naked cake.