' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: The King of Pop Leaves a Legacy of Angst to his children
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Thursday, July 2, 2009

The King of Pop Leaves a Legacy of Angst to his children

Michael Jackson Through the Years

Michael Jackson Pals Around With His Kids

Michael Jackson and his three kids at Prince Michael II's (aka "Blanket") first birthday party. Seated left-to-right: Prince Michael Jackson II, Michael Jackson, Prince Michael Joseph Jackson I, and Paris Michael Katherine Jackson.(Zuma Press)


Maybe yes, maybe no. Say the celebrity writers here.

The purported mother of the first two children, Debbie Rowe, does not even seem to be in the mix as a candidate for custody, and she certainly has not stepped up to the plate demanding any kind of rights or contact with her "offspring." She reportedly has said (when she was pregnant with Prince, the oldest) that she was going to carry a child "for a friend," so my supposition is that she was merely the surrogate, and the ova was from another donor. (When she signed over all rights to the children, she reportedly got $8 million, plus a house, and $750,000 a year.) Whether the sperm is his or not is up for debate because the delicate facial features of the kids are not like Jackson's--that is the Jackson before he had several surgeries to change his facial structure with his slender upturned nose and cheekbones to die for. Another point: the two oldest children resemble one another, so maybe they do share some of the same "genetic material," that is their DNA. Perhaps they have the same biological mother. If their eggs were purchased, it is highly unlikely that the woman knows who they were for, as Jackson would have had good financial reason for not disclosing his identity to her.

The fact that Prince and Paris, the two oldest, look quite "white" is in fact, less of an issue since that skin tone is genetically possible (though not likely) with a white mother and because both of his parents are obviously mixed genetically. My guess: ova from elsewhere; Rowe the surrogate mother, sperm...unknown. There is some speculation that the genetic material came from Rowe's boss at the time, Jackson's dermatologist. But he does not have fine facial features, nor does Rowe. I would imagine that Jackson picked out the egg donor from a book of pictures, looking for the "white" features that he obviously craved and eventually, created for himself.

The third child, Prince Michael, aka Blanket, has more of Michal's features and is also darker than the other two, and apparently on his birth certificate there is no mother listed. Ova and womb, rented; sperm, possibly Jackson's.

One can debate endlessly where the genetic material (which is what sperm and ova are called by the legalese) came from, but what we are Birth Mother, First Mother Forum are concerned about is the mental and emotional void that this kind of engineering leads to. One can appreciate Jackson's dancing (innovative, mesmerizing, influential) and music (excellent) but we are appalled at his, or anyone, making children this way. Simply because he (and Sarah Jessica Parker) had enough money to do so is not reason enough.

If we have learned anything in all the years we have been involved in adoptee-rights work, it is that where one comes from--whose DNA one carries--is a crucial facet of one's emotional bearings, and the psychic confusion that results from not knowing this is the cause of endless ennui and angst. While these children are not adopted, are they going to feel, completely and wholly, that they are the King of Pop's children? Or will they have that niggling and persistent sense of lack of completion that adopted people speak of?

While there have been reams of literature written about the adopted person's quest to know his true parents, his genetic, biological parentage and heritage, as far back as 1972 the American Academy of Pediatrics had this to say:
"Determining identity is a difficult process for someone brought up by his natural parents; it is more complex for the individual whose ancestry is unknown to him....To state that a 'feeling of self' is paramount in the development of a strong and functioning individual is not an exaggeration. The driving need for identity and independence is not only indigenous to the individual but it is also a dominant force in entire national and ethnic groups. Minorities within national states express these needs; examples of this are painfully evident in our country and in other parts of the world....

What [the adopted person] is really seeking is to achieve a unity and persistence of personality in spite of the break in the continuity of his life. The struggle with this problem may reach its peak in adolescence and, in the extreme, result in running away in search of real parents."
As readers of FMF know, I found my daughter when she was fifteen and reunited with her, with her adoptive parents blessing, within the week. Was it the right thing for Jane? Yes, yes, and yes.

All through the years, my daughter Jane collected bits of data about who she was through how we were alike, and while I enjoyed coming upon these similarities, only occassionally would I become aware how important these pieces of connection were to her, even though they all seemed so small and unremarkable at the time. We sang off key, could not snap our fingers on our left hands, wore the same makeup shade (and like to wear makeup, which is why this meant something to her), had the same taste in what we wore, overcame our fears of public speaking. We frequently stood the same way, one foot crossed in front of the other, we both had a heavy step. We had the same kind and color of hair, the same eye color. And other "coincidences" kept adding up: we both had affairs (she married him, I did not) with men more than a decade older than we were; liked to garden, and collect stuff--a trait she did share with her adoptive mother.

If the makeup reference seems frivolous, note this: she once commented offhandedly that what she lost by being adopted was not learning how to apply makeup at her mother's side when she was a teenager; one of the fun things we did when the first time she came to New York was to have makeup applied by the masters at Saks in Manhattan. Yes it was a treat for both of us. I'm not saying she could not have done this with her other mother at a department store counter in Madison, Wisconsin; but the likelihood of this occurring with her other mother, who paid makeup and clothes little mind, was zero to none. We've written about what character traits are inherited before, what we can never write enough about is what the lack of them means to the person who is cut off from them.

I am sorry for Michael Jackson's children. All the riches and baby lions in the world can not make up for what they appear to be without: a known genetic connection to their heritage. We can only hope only the best for them.

1 comment :

  1. I NEED TO LET YOU KNOW NOT ALL CHILDREN TAKE ON THE DARKER FEATURES OF GENETIC MIRRORING. MY ADOPTED DAUGHTERS HUSBAND IS CAUCASION, MY DAUGHETR IS ITALIAN AND AFRICAN AMERICAN OUR GRANDAUGHTER HAS NO FEATURES TO SUGGEST SHE IS ANY THING OTHER THAN WHITE BUT SHE DOES HAVE A SLIGHT TAN TINT AS DOES PARIS. WHEN YOU HAVE CONTACT WITH MANY PERSONS OF MIXED GENETICS YOU CAN SEE THE MIXTURE OF HERITAGE. NO ONE SEEMS TO BE LOOKING AT THE REAL PROBLEM WITH PEOPLE LIKE MJ. HE LEFT HIS KIDS UNPROTECTED BY HIS INSANE LIFE. CAN YOU IMAGINE BEING IN THERE SHOES FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE?

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