Category Archives: Steve Jobs

On the sunny side of life?

What a week it has been! I began my week helping at an adoption conference, WISE Up.

I met some incredible young adoptees … all third graders. The conference allows the kids to talk about their adoptions and feelings in a safe place. It also gives kids the tools to respond to outsiders’ questions. They can walk away, say, “It’s private,” share something about their adoption story, or educate others about adoption and adoptees.

As you can guess, I personally advocate the last two. I understand the need to walk away if a question is offensive, and many of the younger kids just need reassurance that they have the power to control the situation. Unfortunately, when acting out some of these scenarios, more often than not, the children chose walking away. Some scenarios just involved something as simple as someone asking if they were adopted.

That had me thinking … is adoption a negative thing? Why do young children feel negatively about their adoptions? One girl mentioned that she felt jealous of those who asked her why she was adopted. She wanted what she perceived as the normalcy of a birth family. Looking back, I had some of the same feelings. They were often rooted in experiences in public or at school. In the comfort of my home, I would feel reassured that my home was indeed the place for me.

Perhaps what needs to happen is a better atmosphere in which kids can feel proud of their adoptions. As children, we look for a clan. As I have written, there are many of us.

In this conference, I introduced the kids to Kid President. His effervescence, his optimism, his generosity … they speak to us. We watched his pep talk, and then I explained to them that not only was he in third grade, but he was also an adoptee. One little boy excitedly said, “We just watched an adoptee on an invention of an adoptee!” (Of course, I had told them about Steve Jobs too.)

In my childhood, I wasn’t aware of other adoptees. It took close to 40 years for me to understand that my experience was not unique. Adoption seems better supported than it was in the 1960s and 70s. 

But as Kid President says, “We can do gooder!”

 

 

 

 

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The Beautiful Sea of Adoptees

After 44 years of puzzled looks and numerous questions about my family medical history, I have found my gang.

My gang is a group of people who are diverse. They are varied. Some are angry. Some are witty. Some are awesome … like this young man.

Some have revolutionized the lives of many like this man.

Some entertain us each week.

Some are less in the spotlight but even more inspirational. They have adopted their own children. They continue to care for other adoptees by leading groups of adoptive families. They travel and speak to adoptive families.

They foster a love of the arts in school children. They are the birth children of adoptees who have committed their lives to supporting future adoptees.

All have entered my life in the last two years. I am grateful for this enriching wave of people … this sea of adoptees.

Another Adoptee

The news of Steve Jobs’ death made me feel that it was just the extra punch in the stomach of a very bad day. But then, I watched his 2005 Stanford University commencement speech.

I discovered so many wonderful things about the man I had admired since my graduate days in 1990 and my first introduction to all things Mac.  I already knew he was a man who loved typography and design just as I did. But what I didn’t know was that he was adopted. He was loved just like I had been by two wonderful people who set aside the biology and went with their hearts.

In his speech, it was as though he were speaking directly to me and my day. Some of the words he told me, “Trust in the future … Follow your heart even when it leads you off the beaten path … Start over with the lightness of being a beginner again … Remembering I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered in my life … Death is a destination we all share. Death is the single best invention of life. It’s life’s change agent.”

My mother’s death changed my life, and now, his has also changed my life. Tomorrow will be a new day of discovery, invention and change.

As he said, “Love what you do. Keep looking. Don’t settle.”