President Barack Obama speaks as he hosts military fathers and their children for a screening of Disney/Pixar movie 'Cars 2' in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex, Wednesday, June 15, 2011. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) (AP)

Was Obama nearly put up for adoption?

U.S. Immigration files reveal Obama's father expressed plans to give up the president as a baby

Natasha Lennard
July 7, 2011 8:08PM (UTC)

President Barack Obama's parents may have planned to put their son -- the now president -- up for adoption. The Boston Globe's Sally Jacobs, whose book on the life of Obama's father will be released next week, wrote in the Globe Thursday about U.S. immigration files which indicate the elder Obama planned to give up his child.

"Subject got his USC wife 'Hapai' [Hawaiian for pregnant] and although they were married they do not live together and Miss Dunham is making arrangements with the Salvation Army to give the baby away," read a memo written by an administrator at the Honolulu office of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.


The memo, which dates from April 1961, was released by the Homeland Security Department in response to a Freedom of Information Act request made by the author.

Jacobs notes that it is possible that the elder Obama made up adoption plans simply to appease immigration officials, who were allegedly concerned about the Kenyan student's "playboy" lifestyle. Sources close to Obama's mother, Ann Dunham -- including her uncle -- told Jacobs that Dunham had always been committed to bringing up her son and had never mentioned adoption.

Similarly, former White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, told Jacobs that the president had never before heard of his parents' adoption considerations and did not believe that his mother actually ever contacted the Salvation Army.


Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email

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