Much will be written of the technological contributions Steve has made. I am writing this on a Macbook with an iPhone in my pocket an iPad on the counter and an Apple TV on the shelf. He revolutionized our lives, it’s true. And it almost never happened.
56 years ago a girl got pregnant. Her parents didn’t approve. All of this almost never happened.
In 1954, Abdulfattah John Jandali and Joanne Simpson were a young couple in Wisconsin. Joanne became pregnant and her parents forbid the couple from marrying. Without notice, the Simpsons left for San Francisco where she would give birth to a boy on February 24, 1955. Days later the infant was adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs and given the same Steve.
It almost never happened.
One of the reasons Joanne Simpson was giving her son up for adoption was she was in the middle of her own graduate studies. She insisted that the adoptive family for her son would be an academic one. A lawyer and his wife agreed to adopt her child, but when a boy was born, they withdrew. They wanted a girl.
Paul and Clara Jobs, a high school dropout and college dropout were next on the list. Simpson hesitated and refused to sign the adoption papers until the couple promised that Steve would go to college. They promised and the adoption went though.
It was only a few years ago that Jobs’ birth father, now 80 year old casino vice president in Reno, found out Steve Jobs was his son. He told his story to the Daily Telegraph and admits that apart from a few unresponded emails sent to Jobs on his birthday, he had had no contact with his son.
Jobs never spoke about his biological father, but did keep in touch with Joanne Simpson inviting her to some of his family gatherings. In a 1997 New York Times article he appeared grateful for her long-ago decision to have him and put him up for adoption.
“There was never any acrimony between us,” he says. Yet, biological roots aside, Jobs holds a firm belief that Paul and Clara Jobs were his true parents. A mention of his “adoptive parents” is quickly cut off. “They [were] my parents,” he says emphatically. [source]
Thank you Steve, but, more importantly thanks to Paul and Clara Jobs for opening their hearts, their homes and their lives.
Without them, we wouldn’t have this.
Disclosure: This subject is close to me. My wife is adopted. All of my life as I know it almost never happened too.