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.
- “When Steve Jobs was born February 24, 1955, in San Francisco, California” – all true, but after this point it pretty much falls apart.
- “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.
- 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.)
- “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.
- “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.
- “…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
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.