My son Ari ran the Chicago Marathon last Sunday and finished. My wife Risa, son Noah, and I were there along with his wife Elissa to cheer him on. As we were driving into the city to see him, my mind turned to Steve Jobs’ biological father, who abandoned his pregnant wife who then put the baby (Jobs) up for adoption.
Jobs’ biological father, a Syrian immigrant named Abdulfattlah “John” Jandali, ironically moved to San Francisco, the same city where Steve had been adopted by a high school dropout who became a machinist, and his wife Clara. Jandali eventually moved to Reno where he started a restaurant and worked at the Boomtown Casino, which he now manages.
John Jandali never met Steve Jobs or his other offspring, an acclaimed novelist named Mona Simpson.
Driving in for the Marathon I felt exhilaration and pride in Ari, as well as the fear of a father who knows that it is likely that at least one person running the Marathon will die before finishing. (This did happen. A 35-year-old firefighter from North Carolina collapsed and died 500 yards from the finish line).
It is hard for me to imagine what it feels like to give a child up for adoption. The huge number of unwed mothers in a world where prevention of pregnancy is relatively easy continues to baffle me, too. As somebody who has always treasured family, the story of abandonment of offspring, whether it is of the great and famous like Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs, or the crack babies in the ghetto, touches me deeply.
Jobs and Jandali never met one another. Sad.
Question: If you were adopted would you want to meet your biological parents?