“No, it won’t all go the way it should, but I know the heart of life is good.” This quote from one of my favorite John Mayer songs does a pretty good job of summing up life. It’s sometimes messy, sometimes sour, sometimes doesn’t go the way you plan, but at its core, it’s beautiful and good. My personal life journey certainly didn’t go the way I initially thought it would when I was a kid. Twists, turns, and some dark moments were peppered in between laughter, love, and happiness. But I’m an eternal optimist, and have found that especially when life gives you lemons, you’ve got to make lemonade.

My infertility journey is one I’ve written about before, but to condense it here’s the Reader’s Digest version for you: Got married, got a step son, wanted other kids right away, thought I was pregnant, diagnosed with premature ovarian failure, adopted my son, got pregnant, had a miscarriage, got pregnant again, delivered my daughter. Talk about twists and turns! For this article, I’m going to focus on events concerning the adoption of my son, and how my family and I tend to make the best of what wasn’t always an easy situation.

Everyone has heard the phrase when life gives you lemons, make lemonade! It means when you’re handed something ‘sour’ in life, do your best to turn it around into something positive and delicious. Whether we want to admit it or not, adoption does have its sour moments. Adoption in its nature is born out of loss. Regardless of how deep that loss goes, it’s there, and it’s important to recognize it. Because you can only help if you’ve recognized the issue. There was the loss of my fertility, my son’s loss of his birth family, and my son’s birthparents’ loss of their child. That’s a lot to process, especially when you think about how they are all interconnected.

I grieved for the children I was told I’d never have. I grieved for the child I miscarried. I grieved every adoption placement that wasn’t ours. It was a loss like I’d never experienced or ever wished for anyone to experience.

My son is only two, and he has a two year old’s understanding of adoption and being adopted, but I know there will come a time when he will grieve for his birth family. And it will be a different type of grief and a different type of processing as he grows.

We saw my son’s birthparents the day we took him home from the hospital. They asked us to love him, to get him baptized, and to make sure he always knew they loved him. It was such a heartbreaking, bittersweet feeling. I remember saying to my husband as we were driving home that the happiest day of my life was the saddest day of theirs. And I didn’t (and still don’t) know how to reconcile those feelings in my heart.

The losses are incredibly ‘sour’ and sometimes sad, but here is what we need to do. We need to recognize each loss and address it. Talk about it. Acknowledge that it’s hard and sometimes we don’t always know what to do or how to best handle every situation, but that we will always do our best to help each other through the hard times.

So, while my son doesn’t understand the loss yet, we talk to his birth parents almost daily (group texts are the best!) and we visit with them often. We talk about them, pray for them, and truly love them. They are a part of our family, and our son will always know them and hopefully know how loved he is from all angles. And while adoption doesn’t cure infertility, it did make me a mom–and that’s some sweet lemonade right there.