“Thanks for Not Aborting Me”
Abdulfattah Jandali cared nothing for the son born to him and his American girl friend, Joanne Schieble. Joanne was left with the decision of what to do with an unplanned pregnancy and an unwanted child.
Marriage at the time was out. Jandali, from Syria, was attending graduate school at the University of Wisconsin. Joanne’s father strongly objected to her dating someone outside of the Christian faith. He further threatened to disown her if she married him. Joanne didn’t heed her parents concerns and now found herself with a child from a man who didn’t share her spiritual convictions, she couldn’t marry, and who didn’t care about the child, anyway. What was she to do?
An abortion was not an option for Joanne. Her Catholic upbringing outside of Green Bay, Wisconsin instilled a strong pro-life ethic in her. But, as a single woman with no immediate prospects for marriage, and with a father who was on his death bed and would not be around to help her, Joanne knew her options were limited. So, she put her child up for adoption.
A World War 2 vet named Paul and his wife Clara were the lucky couple privileged to adopt the new baby, which they named Steve. Paul and Clara did their best to provide their son with the best they had to offer. They were open with Steve about his adoption, and never discouraged him from seeking out his biological parents should ever want to know about them. But, Steve was content with his adopted parents and showed little interest in tracking down the man and woman who conceived him. In fact, he didn’t like having Paul and Clara referred to as his adopted parents; they were his parents, period.
Steve was extremely talented and smart, so much so that his teachers had a hard time keeping him occupied in school. Steve was able to do his work and still have ample time for pranks, like the time he and his buddies posted signs around school announcing the next day as “Bring Your Pets Day.” When dogs started chasing cats around the hallway, school officials did not see much humor in Steve’s prank. Another time he convinced a bunch of classmates to give him the number to the padlocks on their bicycles. He then switched all the locks on the bicycles. At the end of the school day there was pandemonium when many of the kids could not get home.
Steve graduated high school and went to college, but dropped out. He was looking for an outlet to develop his creative side. He found it in electronics. With a couple of friends he started a business that went on to become quite successful. In fact, by the time he was only 25 years old, this college drop out was worth 100 million dollars.
Perhaps it was inevitable, but in time Steve did begin wonder about his birth parents. He tracked his birth mother down but did not initiate contact with her for fear of offending his parents. But, when his mom, Clara, died in 1986, Steve thought the timing might be right. He talked to his dad, Paul, and Paul said he had no problems with it at all.
So, in 1986, thirty-one year old Steve called Joanne who was now living not far from him in California, and said, “Hello, this is your son.” Joanne met with her son and apologized profusely for giving him up for adoption. “I had no choice. I was pressured into it. And I have wondered and worried about you ever since,” she said.
“It’s ok,” Steve assured her. I’ve had a good life. Things have turned out well.” Later Steve said, “I wanted to meet my biological mother mostly to see if she was okay and to thank her, because I’m glad I didn’t end up as an abortion.” And we can all be glad of that, because every baby, whether planned by us or not, is a child of God.
Also because, the young man who visited Joanne that day to thank her for the gift of life happened to be the developer of the Macintosh computer, the iPhone, iPad and iPod. For the Steve that was given up by Jandali and Joanne and was adopted by Paul and Clara was none other than, Steve Jobs. Thank you for the gift of life, indeed, since all life is granted by God’s grace and power. (Information about Steve Jobs in this article is from the book, Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson).