Saturday 21 April 2018

Barack Obama 'was almost put up for adoption'

Barack Obama is seen with his father, Barack Obama Snr, in a family photo in the 1960s
Barack Obama is seen with his father, Barack Obama Snr, in a family photo in the 1960s

Toby Harnden

The parents of President Barack Obama made plans to have their unborn son adopted by the Salvation Army, according to part of an immigration document made public for the first time.

A few months before Mr Obama was born, Barack Obama Snr, the future president’s father, was under scrutiny from immigration officials who suspected him of bigamy. When they interviewed him in Hawaii in the spring of 1961, the then 24-year-old insisted he had divorced his first wife in Kenya and informed them that his new wife Ann Dunham was five months’ pregnant.

“Subject got his USC [United States citizen] 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,’’ wrote Lyle H. Dahling, an administrator in the Honolulu immigration office, on April 12, 1961.

The memo was obtained under a freedom of information request by Sally Jacobs, whose book about Mr Obama Snr – The Other Barack: The Bold and Reckless Life of President Obama’s Father – is due to be published next week.

Most of the memo had been previously published but apparently the passage regarding adoption had been redacted.

Robert Gibbs, the former White House press secretary, told Jacobs that Mr Obama had never been told his mother had planned to put him up for adoption and that the president was “absolutely convinced that she did not”.

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