If Barack wasn't an Obama: book says President's parents considered adoption

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

Obviously, it never happened but if it had, the political history of early 21st-century America would surely have been very different.

The question is raised by a biography of the Kenyan father of the 44th President, to be published next week, entitled 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 when both were 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 with Mr Obama as he applied for an extension to his visa, something he had to do each year.

The official was clearly very wary. The elder Obama, it had been noted by the authorities already, had been "running around with several girls", and it was believed – correctly – that he already had a wife back home in Kenya, along with two children. The INS considered seeking his deportation on the grounds of polygamy, but ultimately decided just to keep an eye on him. But the episode raises more questions than it answers.

President Obama, in his memoir Dreams from My Father, notes hypothetically that it would have made sense for his parents to at least have considered adoption, given the challenge of raising a mixed-race child born then, before the 1960s civil rights legislation.

But, according to Robert Gibbs, Mr Obama's long-time former spokesman, his boss was "absolutely convinced" that his mother never raised the matter with the Salvation Army. Nor is there any mention of it in A Singular Woman, Janny Scott's recent biography of the strong-willed and unconventional Ms Dunham who died of cancer in 1995, aged 52. The most likely explanation is that Barack Senior mentioned adoption in the interview on the assumption it might remove one obstacle to an extension of his visa. President Obama's parents were divorced in 1964. His father was killed in a car accident in Nairobi in 1982.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: KS2 Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is a two form entry primary schoo...

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee