Could Barack Obama have been adopted?

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Before he was born, did President Barack Obama's parents consider giving up their child-to-be for adoption?

This is the question posed in a biography of the Kenyan father of the President, which will be published next week: The Other Barack: the Bold and Reckless Life of President Obama's Father, by Sally Jacobs, a journalist on The Boston Globe newspaper.

The crucial passage is in a 1961 memo by an official at the office of the US Immigration Service in Honolulu where Barack Senior and Ann Dunham, the President's mother had met as students at the University of Hawaii. "Subject got his USC wife 'Hapai' [Hawaiian for pregnant] and although they were married they do not live together and Ms Dunham is making arrangements with the Salvation Army to give the baby away," said the memo which details an interview held when Mr Obama applied for a visa extension.

President Obama, in his Dreams from My Father, notes hypothetically that it would have made sense for his parents to have considered adoption, given the challenge of raising a mixed-race child born before civil rights legislation.

But, according to Robert Gibbs, Mr Obama's long-time former spokesman, his boss was "absolutely convinced" that his mother had never raised the matter with the Salvation Army.