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Adoption and the Secret of Steve Jobs' Success

I can’t run without my iPod. It seems like I can’t work without my iPhone. And I’m looking for any excuse to go out and purchase an iPad. These technological innovations are part and parcel of everyday life for millions of Americans. They are part of our culture, thanks to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who recently lost his battle with cancer.

There have been countless articles written commending Jobs as a genius, risk-taking entrepreneur, and visionary. But a recent "60 Minutes" interview with Walter Isaacson, who was chosen by the Apple co-founder to write his biography, revealed a lesser-known fact — Jobs was also adopted.

Given up at birth for adoption, Jobs was raised by Paul and Clara Jobs, who were unable to have children. Adoption offered Jobs loving parents and a life of opportunity; it shaped his self-image and allowed him to see himself as a highly unique individual.

According to Issacson, Jobs’ defining moment came when he was just a child and a playmate told him that adoption meant he was unwanted and abandoned. Devastated, Jobs ran crying to his parents, who, in turn, assured him that he was not abandoned, but specifically chosen. From that point on, Jobs saw himself as special little boy, adored by his family. What a blessing!

What would the world be like without Steve Jobs and Apple today? Would there be iPods or iPads or Macs? Would those little white ear buds be such a recognizable part of our culture? Maybe. But probably not. And let’s not forget Job’s brilliance spawned a mega-industry reported worth $380 billion, which, in turn, generates millions in federal taxes and employs approximately 48,000 individuals.

Without Steve Jobs, there is no doubt this world would be different and devoid of some wonderful technology. But even if adopted kids don’t grow up to be like Steve Jobs, the world is still a better place because biological parents made the right choice and gave their children life.

Unfortunately, we will never know what great innovators were lost among the 50 million American babies aborted since the ruling of Roe v. Wade. But we do know that because of the decision by some women  to place their babies up for adoption, America has been given several dynamic leaders, including President Gerald Ford, former First Lady Nancy Reagan, and one of our Founding Fathers, John Hancock.

When the heartbreak of an infertile couple gives way to the joy of waking up every day to their adopted child’s smile, life becomes incredibly precious and irreplaceable. 

In the United States alone, the Department of Health and Human Services reports approximately 107,011 children are still waiting to be adopted — waiting for that couple to come along and give them a reason to smile.

Mother Teresa, who cared for the “poorest of the poor,” many of whom were unwanted and unloved homeless people or orphaned children, said that, “Unborn children are among the poorest of the poor. They are so close to God. I always ask doctors at hospitals in India never to kill an unborn child. If there is no one who wants it, I will take it.”

Many families who adopt say those same words — “I will take it.” What a beautiful testament of selfless love, to take another’s child and raise him as your own.

Thanks to celebrities like Angelina Jolie, adoption has stepped into the spotlight all over the world. But famous or not, parents who adopt are just as special as the children they take as their own. 

I hope that through the story of Steve Jobs’ own life adoption reaches an even higher level of awareness in our culture as a viable and loving option for those facing an unplanned pregnancy. 

Somewhere in the country a scared young woman may be contemplating what to do about the unplanned pregnancy of the next American who will change the world for the better. For all our sakes, let’s pray she gives her child — and a hopeful family — a chance at life.

Penny Nance is CEO and President of Concerned Women for America.

Penny Young Nance is president and CEO of Concerned Women for America