Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Single fathers today stay to raise their children

Jobs's father, Abdulfattah Jandali
Single fathers are standing by their children, a dramatic turnaround from baby scoop era of the mid-twentieth century. Adoption was the name of the game in 1955 when Steve Jobs was born to a single white woman. Jobs’ biological father Abdulfattah John Jandali, 80, has made news for begging Jobs, who just announced his retirement from Apple, Inc, to get in touch with him before it is too late. Jobs is suffering from pancreatic cancer. Jandali says he is overcome with guilt for abandoning Jobs.

According to Jandali, when his girl friend, Joanne Simpson (nee Schieble) became pregnant, her father forbade him from marrying her. Without a marriage license, she had little choice but to leave her town,
give birth away from family and friends, and abandon her son or raise the little bastard on her own--as he certainly would have been called in 1955.

Today, women no longer have to give their children to strangers in order for them to have a father. It’s no longer macho for men to abandon their girl friends, muttering how they’re not going to let that bitch trick them into marriage or pay support for a kid who probably isn’t theirs. Jobs himself went down this road in 1977. When his girl friend, Chris-Ann Brennan, became pregnant he denied paternity, claiming he was sterile. Brennan supported their daughter Lisa Brennan through government assistance until court-ordered blood test proved Jobs was the child’s father and he began paying support. (Interestingly enough, Jobs named an early computer Lisa.)

Jane
According to the U. S. Census Bureau, single women are keeping their children, over 1.7 million children were born to single women in 2007 (1.2 million to white women) and only about 15,000 were placed for adoption. And men are standing by their women and their children. Today, the first stop for unmarried parents-to-be may well be a lawyer’s office to work out shared parenting and support arrangements.

I have a couple of good friends whose sons are helping to raise their children by women to whom they were never married. My friends are as invested in these grandchildren as any grandmother is, attending graduation ceremonies, bringing their grandchildren to Oregon for visits, and so on. Fellow blogger Lorraine has a friend who has joint custody of a seven-year-old son he never expected to have; the boy spends half of his week with his father and is treated like royalty by his three half siblings--who are all at least a dozen years older than he is.

If the mother of their child declines to join him in nurturing their child, fathers offer to do it solo. Such was the case when Lorraine’s daughter Jane gave birth in 1986. Her daughter’s father wanted to raise her with his mother, but was denied by child welfare authorities.

Other fathers like John Wyatt are fighting unjust adoptions laws in Utah for the right to raise their children. Wyatt’s mother is with him every step of the way and should he win custody, will help him raise his daughter. Other fathers in the same state are also fighting anti-natural parent legislation there to raise their own children. In Ohio last year, Benjamin Wyrembek prevailed in court to stop an adoption in Indiana and won custody of his son after a three year battle with Christy and Jason Vaughn.

Fathers are stepping forward because the sword of marriage no longer hangs over their head. They can help raise their children without being forced into a shotgun marriage. If my daughter Rebecca who was born in 1966 had been born a decade or two later, I think it’s likely her father and I could have come to a joint parenting arrangement. I was not keen on marrying him but at the time, marrying him was the only way I knew that would allow me to keep her. If we had married, we surely would have been divorced within a few years. Divorce with its attendant acrimony was not in anybody’s best interests.
Archie Bunker's Chair in the Smithsonian

The culture shift led by the woman’s movement has contributed to a changing view about parental roles. As the 1979 academy award winning film Kramer vs. Kramer depicted, child-rearing is neither solely a woman’s responsibility nor her exclusive right. Google "Father’s Rights" and you’ll find dozens of website, all devoted to the idea that fathers can be and should be as involved in child-rearing as mothers.

I sometimes hear political conservatives pinning for the “good ol’ days” when “gals were gals and men were men.” I’m thankful they have gone the way of Archie Bunker’s chair, to a museum.

______________________________
Kramer vs. Kramer

25 comments :

  1. Your comments about the "good old days" reminded me of the story of my husband's cousin, who became pregnant in high school in upstate New York in the late 1940s. She came to live with Tony's family in Westfield, NJ when he was eleven or so, and while he says he barely knew what was going on, he does remember how the cousin stayed hidden and shamed in the house, was quickly shuttled outside only to see the doctor, and was not treated kindly by his mother. She was merely doing her duty during the pregnancy to lessen the shame of her relatives in Elmira.

    Tony later heard that his cousin's family went to see the young man's family for assistance or simply to talk over what should be done, but they said that his cousin had been sleeping around, which was not true. A few of the boy's friends came forward to say that she had slept with them, and that was enough to brand her a slut for good. Without DNA, there was no way to prove paternity, and the teenager was on her own. A girl was born.

    The doctor who treated his cousin arranged for a private adoption, and the papers are perhaps still in a file somewhere in Tony's brother's papers. He became an attorney in the same town, Westfield, NJ, and died a few years ago. His daughter inherited her father's practice and papers but has not been able to find those.

    Tony says his cousin seemed to never have her life back together, even though she later married had other children. One of them would like to find her sister. The woman she is seeking was born in 1947 or 48 in or around Westfield, NJ.

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  2. Good old days? Is that before adoption cutting the original family ties was invented?

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  3. This story is very sad. It really shows how enormously pro-adoption the culture was during the BSE. The story goes that Steve's bio-maternal grandfather died a few months after he was born and that his natural parents could have kept him. Both parents always regretted that they gave him up and never really got over it. I remember reading some time ago that Steve said that he had lived his whole life in pain because his mother had given him away.

    I hope this first father's motives are pure and from what I've read of the story they are. I guess there's always the cynic in me though who thinks well who wouldn't want to get in touch with their seriously ill son when he's a gazillionaire?? I just wish the first father would step up to the plate and not let his "Syrian pride" as he calls it prevent him from having a relationship with his son even at this late date.

    Btw, there's certainly no doubt that this is Steve Jobs' father. They look so much alike even down to the glasses.

    Sign me....just another little bastard from the BSE lol

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  4. Copied this comment from the Daily Mail U.K. Jennifer Aniston is with her mother in the hospital after her mother suffered a stroke recently.

    "I would love to know how you people come to your conclusions. Jennifer has not had children because she's been unmarried and hasn't jumped on the "adopt a token child so you look good as a person" bandwagon. She chooses not to live her whole life in front of the papprazzi, something Brangelina definitely can't live without. Leave the poor woman alone!"

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2036630/Jennifer-Aniston-heals-rift-mother-Nancy-Dow-hospital-bedside.html#ixzz1XsCsnEo9

    Yep, adoption is everywhere.

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  5. I opened the issue of O that arrived yesterday and happened to glance at the letters. Second letter begins:

    "In 1980 my husband and I were in the process of adopting a baby from the Philippines...."

    And Rosie is on the cover. Rosie, sister of open-records roadblock, Danny O'Donnell. I'd rather watch The Bachelor.

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  6. Jane:

    You are leaving important facts out. Steve Jobs father later married his mother and two years later they had another kid, which he later abandon too when he and his wife divorced. The child, Mona Simpson, and Steve Jobs are very close. But make no mistake; their “father” has a history of abandoning his children.

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  7. Does anyone know why Mona's last name is Simpson? Was she adopted by her stepfather? I see that Steve Jobs' first mother's surname is also Simpson.

    Also, I read Steve's bio on Wikipedia and it mentions both his adoptive and natural parents. Referring to the previous post about the attorney adoptee, I don't understand how anyone can think they have so much privacy anymore anyway in this hi-tech world (thanks to Steve Jobs.. ha ha)

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  8. Thanks, Anon, for the additional info on Job's bio father, Abdulfattah Jandali. I rather suspected that his recent comments were self-serving, minimizing his responsibility for the adoption.

    It was not my intent to tell Jandali's full story. My point was how things have changed for the better. Today, both Jandali and Jobs' mother, Joanne Simpson, may well have behaved differently. Thankfully, today, marriage is not the controlling factor in the adoption decision except for members of certain religions.

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  9. So the Apple doesn't fall far from the tree? Even though Steve Jobs' first daughter was not surrendered for adoption as he was, I hope he will meet his father.

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  10. "So the Apple doesn't fall far from the tree? "

    Haw, haw, haw. Good one, Karen :-)

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  11. Jane wrote:"If we had married, we surely would have been divorced within a few years. Divorce with its attendant acrimony was not in anybody’s best interests."

    I have to disagree. In my case, it would have been better if my natural parents had married even if they later divorced (and they probably would have). At least I would never have been separated from my original family and my n-mother would have been spared the devastation of losing me. My APs like many others divorced anyway. Divorce had become very common for babies of the BSE during the years when we were young children and teenagers. It would have been better for me to have had divorced natural parents than divorced adoptive parents.

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  12. Jane wrote:"If we had married, we surely would have been divorced within a few years. Divorce with its attendant acrimony was not in anybody’s best interests."

    I have to disagree. In my case, it would have been better if my natural parents had married even if they later divorced (and they probably would have). At least I would never have been separated from my original family and my n-mother would have been spared the devastation of losing me. My APs like many others divorced anyway. Divorce had become very common for babies of the BSE during the years when we were young children and teenagers. It would have been better for me to have had divorced natural parents than divorced adoptive parents.

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  13. Robin:

    And it would have been better for Jane I am sure if Patrick had been free and married me and we kept her, no matter what happened after.

    I have a bit more of my daughter Jane's conversation that I will try to post tomorrow. I have been working like crazy on this last draft of the memoir (I sent it to my agent two nights ago) and I'm exhausted and have a cold now.

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  14. Thanks, Robin,

    I wasn't clear. What I meant was not marrying and keeping the baby with her having a relationship with her bio father would have been better than marrying and divorcing within a few years.

    I didn't mean to suggest that adoption was better than divorce, although that was the popular view at the time.

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  15. @Jane,
    I see what you are saying. I was trying to write my comment based on the thinking of the day. When Megan and I were born divorcees and for that matter, widows were not under pressure to give their children up for adoption.

    I do agree that co-parenting probably would have been best. Too bad such a concept hadn't been invented.

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  16. Is Linda Burns part of this website I knew her from TXCare

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  17. In some of my wildest fantasies I used to think that if only my daughters father had said he would try to support us in anyway that I would have kept her. Ours was not a relationship that I would have ever considered marriage but just one person stepping forward to give me a little support probably would have changed my mind. Instead he did what alot of guys in this situation did. He walked away and went on with his life.

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  18. Tim:

    Not really a part of this website, but I have posted about her, and her pictures from a demonstration.

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  19. I have sent him information on searching and someone who will search for him. Thanks, Marilyn.

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  20. Robin,

    Speaking of widows, here's something I heard from an adoption attorney which is really sick.

    Right after 9/11, an adoption attorney who was a member of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, posted a note on the private AAAA message board suggesting that attorneys contact pregnant widows of 9-11 victims to see if they wanted to place their infants for adoption.

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  21. Jane,
    That is one of the most vile things I have ever heard in my life. I'm going to be sick. Georgia Tann is alive and well.

    Here these women so tragically lose their husbands and they have some part of him to hold onto and and adoption attorney wants them to give the child away. There are no words. If this doesn't show that adoption is simply a business with the child the commodity, I don't know what will.

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  22. Maybe, but not as vile as Planned Parenthood offering free abortions to those women.

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  23. Lucille: We have to disagree on that.

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  24. Steve Jobs is now becoming the poster child for adoption. His obit is misleading. It does not clearly state that Mr. Jobs was given up for adoption because he was born to an unwed mother. And that his parents married later when it was too late to get him back and that they both deeply regretted giving him up for adoption. The truth of Steve Jobs' story is that no one should ever make a hasty or pressured decision to relinquish a child because circumstances can change quickly and the first parents may really regret it. I am sure that if Mr. Jobs had been raised by his natural parents he would still have revolutionized the world of technology. I have never read anywhere that his n-mother had considered abortion so I don't think people can really jump on the "Adoption not abortion" bandwagon. I am sorry he died so young, I thank him for what he did for technology and I think his story is actually a good one for family preservation.

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  25. And another thing. Every story about Steve Jobs mentions his first parents but there is never any mention of how they found one another. Did Steve search? Did they find him? I'm afraid this gives Jane/John Q. Public the impression that adoptees and first parents can always find each other and that it is easy to do so.

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