Derek here again... I had some positive feedback on the previous post so I'm looking forward to continuing on with "the rest of the story".
I went into some details previously about Jena and I first hanging out. I had never dated a birth mother before so I had a lot of learning to do. I did however perceive immediately that Jena had very sensitive feelings. Now, she being sensitive may be how she naturally is. She was also very understanding and patient. She was helpful in educating me on the subject of adoption. Now at first, we of course started out as friends. And definitely became "besties" right off the bat. We literally hung out every day! So, you couldn't really say that I "asked her out" so to speak. I even made her pay for her own food on our first unofficial date... (I still had lots of learning to do). We went to lunch at Arctic Circle and I, being a bonehead, didn't pay for her food, because I didn't want her to know that I had feelings for her. It was a defense mechanism and I still haven't lived that one down after 8 years...
So, this story, like any love story, is full of wonderful details but I'll have to publish that novel later. There were certain things I learned early on dating a birth mom. Some of those pertained to the language you use. For example; the term birth mom is appropriate, not baby mama. And an important one is that you never refer to the adoption as "giving up" the baby. The term "placing" is the proper and respectful way to put it.
In my previous post I went into some deep feelings and perceptions of what I think is means to be a birth mom. Now, these things, I should say, don't happen naturally. The woman needs to work on these things. I'm sure there are women out there who may beat themselves up for several different reasons I will not attempt to understand. Or someone continues to mistreat them. And like any person with that "light" or "glow" of something celestial, it can be dimmed or put out. I believe Jena was one who learned and grew from her experience, and didn't use it to negatively affect her life as much. And that was what I was able to see. As I began to learn what made her shine then I was able to help it grow brighter so that others could literally see it, feel it, and grow from it.
Now let's all be honest. Life has its ups and downs in everything we do. Jena and I have had our fair share. Early on I had some struggles of my own. Typical college students who date each other do so mostly for the fun of it. They date for the sake of dating. Most would have college studies or other things to focus on. They will do this for a little while before they decide to "settle down" and get serious. Jena was different. I was still trying to be the hot shot college football player and didn't want to settle down just yet. I knew that entering into something serious with Jena was not just for the sake of dating. She wasn't here to play games and be immature. She wasn't a college girl. She was a woman with real life experience and had to make some grown up decisions before she should have. So, I basically had the option that I could continue on my ways of being immature and living it up or I could follow what was right and participate in what makes Jena so special. I obviously chose the latter. Was it a easy decision at first? No way! But Jena is blessed with patience and turns out our unofficial "song" is "Patience" by Guns 'n' Roses. (Greatest band ever!) I am really cheesy sometimes... well most the time. One of our hang out nights, I sang as many 80's love ballads as I could remember off the top of my head to her and she didn't run away screaming! I knew I had a keeper!
So, I had to make some changes in my life to be able to continue on trying to build a relationship with Jena. She gave me a few ultimatums which were along the lines of "quit doing this certain thing or I'm outta here" type deals... As time went on and the love grew, those decisions were easier.
As a final thought to this post I will sum up my beginning attitude of Jena's adoption experience. I would sit there and support her in what I thought was the appropriate way. I had the attitude that the adoption experience is "her thing". I wasn't there, nor am I the birth father, so what role, if any, do I have? She can go shine on center stage and I'll sit back here behind the curtains. When she is done, then we can get back to being us. It's only been 3 years, maybe this will all fizzle out over time... Now, I would learn that this is the wrong attitude to have. I also will say that most, if not all, of Jena's immediate family members still have this same attitude and probably will forever. And many other birth mothers are in the same situation with their own family members. It doesn't mean they love her any less. They just haven't invested themselves. Next time I'll share how I overcame this attitude and some deep struggles I've personally had as husband to a birth mother.