Steve Jobs, Adoptee

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Steve Jobs, co-founder and former CEO of Apple Computers, passed away yesterday after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer.

Mr. Jobs has been described as a visionary.

What you may not know is that  Steve was also an adoptee.

His biological parents were unmarried 23-year-old students. The parents of his birth mother did not approve of the relationship between the two students and pressured the couple to put their baby up for adoption. They did, but eventually married one another and went on to have another baby, a daughter they named Mona who grew up to be novelist Mona Simpson.

Steve Jobs always referred to his adoptive parents, Paul and Clara Jobs, as his “real parents” and believed his character was more the result of nurture than nature.

When he was 27, with the help of a private detective, he found and met his birth mother and sister. Steve enjoyed a relationship with Mona that was such that he once described her as “one of my best friends in the world.”

He never met his birth father, despite the older man’s public request for reunion.

So what can we learn from the life of this visionary man who also happened to be an adoptee?

Well, I think there are a couple of things.

  • No matter who we are adoptees have a longing to know where we came from. Steve Jobs used the resources available to him to find his birth family.
  • Our “real” parents are the ones who raised us; the ones who cared for us when we were sick; the ones who made sacrifices so we could (fill in the blank). I couldn’t agree more with Steve on this one.
My heart goes out to his family. After all, when all is said and done, that’s what matters.

I’m a writer, reader, and creative. I thought by now I’d have things figured out, but I keep coming up with more questions. I think that’s okay. I’m here most mornings pondering ordinary things and the thin places where faith intersects.
  1. Dear Linda, thank you for sharing this probably little-known fact about Steve Jobs. I’ve learned so much from your blog about being adopted; about wanting to find one’s biological parents; and about the “real” parents being those who raised you and give you the foundation that you’ve built on.

    Obviously Steve Job was given a firm foundation by the family who raised him. They must have encouraged him to embrace his passion.

    In my recent posting on my first haircut in the convent, I revealed that when I was much younger I feared that I was adopted. I think that shows a total misunderstanding on my part about being adopted and about being an adoptee. I thought that perhaps my parents didn’t love me as much as my brother because they’d adopted me. So I was totally misunderstanding the whole relationship.

    Your blog can do/is doing a lot of good.


  2. Excellent post Linda!

  3. I also didn’t know this about Steve Jobs until he died and it all came out in print. You have raised my awareness of what it must be like to have been adopted. I know of few people who discuss this, so all my other “knowledge” comes from movies and the odd situations developed around the drama.

  4. Interesting blog Linda. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  5. This is a very touching post, Linda-how you shed light on the adoptive experience through Steve Jobs’ story. I feel certain that your message will resonate with those who are on their own adoptive journey.Although I am not an adoptee, I certainly feel I have a better understanding of what you go through. Thank you for sharing and enlightening me! Lovely.

  6. Your post answers some of the questions I had, after learning about Steve Job’s adoption. Interesting story. His death is our loss.

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