Are Facts Stubborn Things or are Lies “Well-Rounded” Points of View?


Dear Ms. Feverfew –

Good night, why do I do this to myself? I will be sailing along and then on a whim, decide to go drop by the R House, just to see what’s up in Adoption Nirvana. Lindsey, the blog author, recently posted about Steve Jobs’ passing. As an Apple devotee, I thought it was a nice tribute.

Until I followed the links.

The first site she links to is a blog “My Inspirational Quotes.” http://www.my-inspirational-quotes.com/inspirational-stories/steve-jobs-inspirational-story/ This particular blog states:

When Steve Jobs was born February 24, 1955, in San Francisco, California , his unwed mother decided to put him for adoption because she wanted a girl. So in the middle of the night, his mother called a lawyer named Paul Jobs and said, “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?”

Uh….so how much of this story is a fabrication? Well, pretty much all of it.

Let me dissect it.

  1. When Steve Jobs was born February 24, 1955, in San Francisco, California” – all true, but after this point it pretty much falls apart.
  2. “his unwed mother decided to put him for adoption because she wanted a girl” False. According to his natural parents, Steve Jobs was placed for adoption because his grandfather forbade his parents to marry. In short, his grandfather was a racist and didn’t want his white daughter marrying a Syrian.
  3. It was the FIRST set of prospective adoptive parents that wanted the girl and turned down the chance to adopt Steve Jobs. In his commencement address delivered at Standford in 2005, Steve Jobs said, “…everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out *they* decided at the last minute that *they* really wanted a girl.” (Start viewing at 01:14, ends at 01:36.)
  4. So in the middle of the night…” Whew – a bit more truth finally! His future adoptive parents did get a call in the middle of the night. Steve Jobs said, “So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night…” But it most certainly wasn’t from his first mother. It was most likely from an adoption agency representative. While good, decent, and loving parents, Paul and Clara Jobs were no one special – they just got the next baby in the que.
  5. “his mother called a lawyer named Paul Jobs…”  Paul Jobs was Steve Jobs’ adoptive father, but he was not a lawyer. He was, in fact, a high school drop out and a machinist. (Not that there is anything wrong with dropping out of high school – I did myself and now hold a PhD). And to reitterate, it was most likely NOT Joanne Schieble who called Paul and Clara Jobs in the middle of the night. It would have been a representative of the adoption agency calling the next people in line.
  6. “…and said, “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” According to Steve Jobs in the commencement address, this is how it went down so I will take his word for it since it was er..uh…HIS LIFE STORY. And of course, Paul and Clara Jobs jumped at the chance and the rest, as they say, is history.

So there it is.

A little teeny bit of truth mixed up with a whole pack of lies about Steve Jobs’ mother and his life. When I pointed this out to Lindsey and suggested she might want to remove the link to the blog-o-lies, her retort was,

“I do not personally know Mr. Jobs and therefore do not know the intimacies of his adoption story nor do I pretend to. And seeing as his story was reported differently in EACH of the links listed above, I decided to post them all and give my readers a well-rounded POV to read.” (emphasis added)

To which I replied:

But Lindsey, how is a lie a “well-rounded POV”? We have the TRUTH about his life, from Steve Jobs’ *own* mouth. Is it respectful or right to let others reconstruct his truth simply to provide the allusion of a “well-rounded” point of view?

Lies are never “well-rounded” points of view. They are always lies.

Would you stand for the same treatment of your own adoption stories? Would you be perfectly fine with someone posting a bunch of links, some with outright lies on them about your beloved birth mothers, simply to give a “well rounded POV” of view of you or you children’s experience? Let me repeat: Lies are not “well-rounded” points of view, whether they be told about Steve Jobs or about your own children.

You are right, we don’t know Jobs personally and we cannot pretend to know his adoption experience. However, the author of the first blog you have linked to IS pretending to know. By removing the link the blog that perpetuates a lie about his beginnings, you would be honoring *all* adoptees – the only ones who didn’t have voice in the adoption process. LET THEM SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES. Let Steve Jobs’ OWN WORDS stand as a testimony for what happened. It is *HIS* story – what other “point of view” is needed?????? (emphasis added)

P.S. I DID watch the entire video on the SECOND link. I even included the transcription of the text in my comment above. It is the part where Steve Jobs *clearly* states in no uncertain terms that is was the wealthy, educated PROSPECTIVE ADOPTIVE COUPLE that wanted a girl and therefore turned down the chance to adopt him when he “popped out.” To quote: “…everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out *they* decided at the last minute that *they* really wanted a girl.” (Start viewing at 01:14, ends at 01:36.)

And I really feel that way. Adoptees should have the final word on what their adoption story is and how adoption affected them.

I hope that you are able to find your voice and find a tribe of people who will respect and honor your voice – even if the TRUTH makes them feel uncomfortable.

In the words of the immortal John Adams,

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” ~ Argument in Defense of the Soldiers in the Boston Massacre Trials,’ December 1770

Much love,

M.

Updated: While writing this blog post, Lindsey over at The R House read my response and graciously left this comment in return:

I see what you are saying, Melynda and would be happy to remove that link. Thanks for the comments. :)

To which I say Thank you, Lindsey. I fervently believe adoptees should have the last word about their life and their experience, even if it doesn’t fit our agenda.

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15 thoughts on “Are Facts Stubborn Things or are Lies “Well-Rounded” Points of View?

  1. Why DO you do that to yourself? I have an icepick you can use to stab yourself in the eye- it’s the same thing as reading that drivel. Kidding on the icepick, girl.

    Yes…adoption loving idiots have stolen Jobs’ story and twisted it to serve their ill-informed & magical love of adoption. He is rolling in his grave, Im sure.

    • Well, I like to have a well-rounded point of view. Seriously. I am trying to understand all angles of this whole phenomenon of infant adoption in the US and in the LDS church in particular. Call it research, as it were. And sometimes, there are things on her blog (and others like hers) that make me think, reconsider, ponder, and expand my understanding.

      Reading about an adoptive mother’s experience is best done by…well, reading what they have to say about it, not just what pointy-headed academics have to say about their experience (though academia can provide some insight). Its akin to trying to learn about an adoptee’s experience – I have to read what THEY wrote, and not what some blogger recounts in a third-hand way. Their stories, their truth.

  2. The untruths being published on the day after his passing just made me sick. I was especially upset by the Good Morning America story that started off with “before he was…(everything that made him Steve Jobs) he was an “unwanted infant.” I even sent an email to the GMA show that day telling them how they had discredited his first mother and other women like her and a disservice to him as well as he was most definitley not unwanted! Oh, and you probably noticed, but I also took issue with the R House post that day!

    • Yes, Desi, I noticed which is why I piped up as well. Lindsey totally blew you off – which just wasn’t cool, by me. I am glad she listened to some reason in the end.

      We certainly have an uphill battle, don’t we?

  3. I could not agree more, as I usually do with you Melynda.The truth is the truth and every detail important for adoptees who live so many lies.Anyone who does not understand that does not understand adoption or adoptees.Shame!!

    • “…and every detail important for adoptees who live so many lies.”

      Wow – that’s an amazingly powerful observation, Von. I think that is perhaps way I balked at the incorrect portrayal of Jobs’ life, especially since he had his story, in own words, immortalized in that brilliant commencement speech at Standford.

  4. “Not that there is anything wrong with dropping out of high school – I did myself and now hold a PhD”

    Off topic, but how? Every single job (excluding stuff like McDonald’s or Tim Hortons) requires that you have graduated high school. If you did get a job, it would have been lower wage and then other work companies wouldn’t have taken you seriously because you didn’t bother to finish your compulsory education. Most people would take one look at your resume and trashed it.

    Or were the times so radically different then that you could drop out and still go to post-secondary?

    • No, times weren’t so radically different, I was just a very determined individual.

      I dropped out of high school in February of 1990, the spring semester of my senior year. My sister had died the August before (You can read a bit about it here: http://www.sostinkinhappy.com/2011/08/old-endings-and-new-beginnings.html and here: http://www.sostinkinhappy.com/2011/08/old-endings-and-new-beginnings-part-ii.html) and the center of my world – my family – was beginning to unravel at an alarming rate. High school became too much and not enough, all at the same time. I mean, what is geometry and U.S. History compared to the death of your sister and the complete meltdown of your family????

      After I dropped out, I was kind of aimless for a few months. I moved as far from my family as I could to try to protect myself from them (not knowing that in those situations, the family trauma/dysfunction follows a person like an oily river). I worked at retail jobs for a bit and saved up money to start school at a local community college that was willing to take a chance on a girl like me. I went for one semester before finances forced me to quit – my parents were divorced at the time and my mom still had 8 kids at home under 18. I worked for a while to help provide an income for her and then I went to beauty school on a scholarship (seems silly to me now – a beauty school scholarship??? Really, Melynda???)

      After working for a while in that industry, I went to a Sam Brocato hair show. The backdrop to the stage was a huge white banner which had the words, “EDUCATION OFFERS OPTIONS” on it in 6-feet tall red letters. I sat there oblivious to the snipping and styling happening on the stage and just stared at the words. I decided my mind was a terrible thing to waste and so the next week I went back to the community college and did what I needed to get re-enrolled. I eventually took the a high-school equivalency test (scored the highest in the state of Utah for that year and was awarded a gift certificated to the now-defunct ZCMI). It took me a terribly long time to earn my BS because during that time period, I got married, had a baby, and then divorced. My MS & PhD took me a normal amount of time. And just to round out the story: My PhD was paid for by a merit research fellowship. It was totally awesome to get paid nearly $52K + free tuition to go to school!

      Sam Brocato was soooooo right. Education really does offer options. I have so many options, it is hard to decide which one to pursue! (A total first-world problem, I am very well aware).

      • Thanks for sharing your journey. The popular view is that we all finish high school, graduate college, find a great job, get married, buy a house, have kids.

        I’ve seen almost no one follow that script! Yet we still manage to build decent lives for ourselves.

        Congrats to you!

      • Exactly! Very, very, very few of us make a bee-line through life, hitting all the socially approved milestones at the socially approved times. That is one of the fallacies used by agencies such as LDSFS and the NCFA to convince young mothers that they are somehow incompetent mothers. We didn’t do it the “right way” at the “right time” therefore we don’t “qualify” to be a parent – some other woman who did do it the socially prescribe “right way” deserves our child more than our child deserves us!

        M.

      • Pretty much sums up what I did in a round about way. Nothing I ever do seems to be straightforward – I always take the long road. 🙂

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