Friday, February 24, 2012

What would Joanne & Abdulfattah do?

On this day in 1955, Joanne gave birth to a son.  As much as she wanted to marry the baby's father, Abdulfattah, Joanne's own father opposed his daughter marrying a muslim & the baby boy was surrendered for adoption.

But all the opposition in the world was not enough to keep these two crazy kids apart.  By the time their next child was born, they were married (the death of Joanne's father in the interim was probably made it a bit easier to pull off).  Flash forward another five years & Joanne & Abdulfattah were divorced.  Their daughter lived with her mother, eventually taking her step-father's surname as her own.

Abdulfattah would later tell people that while he was aware his girlfriend was pregnant & that he even wanted to marry her (& as I said, eventually did marry her), he was not aware when she traveled to San Francisco late in her pregnancy it was with the intention of having the baby adopted.  I haven't been able to find any person who asked him what he thought had happened when she returned, childless & they got married less than a year later.  Baby Boy would later claim he never met Abdulfattah, barely knew Joanne, met his biological sister as an adult, but considered the couple that adopted him to be his true parents.

So...that baby boy.  He was adopted, like I said, & a few years later they adopted a baby girl (no, not Joanne & Abdulfattah's although that is a good guess).  They were not a particularly affluent couple, but they had promised his biological mother that Baby Boy would go to college & so they made a number of sacrifices & away he went.  & did not stay; despite it all he dropped out in his first year.   Baby Boy's life is fairly well documented from here.  A lot of things happened, he founded a company, he got booted out (after his own unsuccessful attempt to boot others) & then staged a mighty mighty comeback.  He did all of this & more & still managed to die fairly young.

Last year, the week that news of Baby Boy's death was announced, I was standing in line at the supermarket & I remember the headlines on the tabloids were all about the most recent arrest of a "16 & Pregnant"-type baby-mommy who had been arrested.  There have been other baby-mommies & baby-daddies arrested before this & there have been at least two since.  It isn't an uncommon occurrence; I am confident there will be another before the one year anniversary of Baby Boy's death rolls around.

Now when I see those headlines, I cannot help but wonder, what if that baby that got them the reality show gig in the first place....what if that baby had gone to live with a stable couple.  Maybe someone with the maturity to be a parent & the desire to be a parent, someone not completely hopped up on pregnancy hormones who understands that being a parent is 24/7 forever&ever&ever.

Whatever you think about that, there is no doubt our world would be a very different place if Joanne & Abdulfattah had not done what they did.  You can read more about their Baby Boy here & tell me again that every baby's best parents are his birth parents.  On the flipside, his biological baby sister is no slacker either.  She has a string of awards for her writing, & her first novel really did take the world by storm.  It is about a young girl trying to escape her mother, who drags her from pillar to post after the girl's Egyptian father leaves them.

1 comment: