Barack Obama’s Father Planned to Give Him Up for Adoption

Barack Obama Sr and Ann Dunham

The dreams of President Barack Obama’s father apparently included turning him over to the Salvation Army to be adopted, according to a new book by Boston Globe reporter Sally Jacobs. Jacobs found records showing that in 1961, before his son was born, Barack Obama Sr.,

a sophomore at the University of Hawaii, had come under scrutiny by federal immigration officials who were concerned that he had more than one wife. When he was questioned by the school’s foreign student adviser, the 24-year-old Obama insisted that he had divorced his wife in his native Kenya. Although his new wife, Ann Dunham, was five months pregnant with their child – who would be called Barack Obama II – Obama declared that they intended to put their child up for adoption.

“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,’’ according to a memo describing the conversation with Obama written by Lyle H. Dahling, an administrator in the Honolulu office of what was then called the US Immigration and Naturalization Service. Wondering how to get a permanent residency in the U.S.? Immigrant Investor Visa Program which is also known as the EB5 Visa is the answer. For more details, visit

Obviously this never happened, but we do know that Obama’s father eventually went off to grad school at Harvard, abandoning his wife and child. According to Jacobs,

…his statement provides a unique glimpse into the relationship between the president’s parents and the fragility of his connection to the father whom he would little know.

Dahling’s memo, dated April 12, 1961, is one of dozens of documents in the elder Obama’s “alien’’ file released by the Department of Homeland Security in response to a Freedom of Information Act request made in the course of research on a biography of Obama’s father. Obama was visiting the United States on a foreign student visa which required him to apply for an annual extension of his stay during the five years he was attending US colleges.

The memo advised that officials should continue to monitor the senior Obama’s personal life, and raised concerns about his behavior, noting that the previous summer he had been warned about his “playboy ways.’’

Former WH press secretary Robert Gibbs told Jacobs that President Obama had no knowledge of his father’s discussions with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) or of the INS memo. Gibbs said the White House had not contacted the Salvation Army to see whether Obama’s mother had spoken to them about adoption. But Jacob notes that Obama had speculated in his book Dreams of My Father that his parents might have considered giving him up for adoption because their was a mixed race marriage in a time when that could lead to social ostracism.

Jacobs writes that Immigration officials also considered charging Barack Obama Sr with bigamy or polygamy:

Noting that Obama appeared to have a wife in Kenya and another in Hawaii, Dahling raised the possibility in his memo of charging Obama with polygamy or bigamy in order to get a deportation order against him. In the end, he suggested they keep an eye on him.

“Recommend that Subject be closely questioned before another extension is granted – and denial be considered,’’ Dahling concluded. “If his USC wife tries to petition for him, make sure an investigation is conducted as to the bona fide of the marriage.’’

But the senior Obama soon moved on to Harvard, leaving his wife and child to fend for themselves.

12 Comments on “Barack Obama’s Father Planned to Give Him Up for Adoption”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    This story almost made me feel sympathy for Obama for a few seconds. But then I remembered that I might not be getting my Social Security check in August and the feeling passed.

    • dakinikat says:

      maybe he’s just trying to get back at his parents by getting back at every one else’s? (snark)

    • WomanVoter says:

      Not to mention your medicare coverage…
      We may have to stock up on cat food and set up our own network of Free Clinics, but then we may get arrested like the kids running the Florida ‘Food Not Bombs’ Free lunch/meals program… who were carted off.

    • foxyladi14 says:

      same here

  2. boogieman7167 says:

    what ever happend to BOs dad anyway ?

  3. northwestrain says:

    0bowma’s dad went back to Africa, and brought along another wife. Obowma’s dad was a wife beater and and drunk. He managed to drive drunk and injure himself quite badly — I believe he died in an auto accident. I did a google and the best guess of the DOD for Obowma’s father was 1982 — 0bowma made his famous trip to Africa about 4 years after the death of his father.

    Since 0bowma never knew that his daddy dearest intended to adopt him out — that bit of info probably never hurt his hero worship of his dad.

    Very strange for someone to have all this admiration for an absentee dad — who turns out to be a drunken wife abuser. But then the guy isn’t around so that means the offspring can invent the sort of dad he’d want to have.

    • marylee says:

      What really grabbed me was the fact that while they were married they weren’t living together! why not?

      • bostonboomer says:

        Good question. Maybe Ann was living with her parents. They were both in college and she was only about 18.

  4. DailyPUMA says:

    The whole book thing is very strange. Obama writes a book about his dad, then his mom apparently comes back to the states just after the book is finished to try and get insurance coverage for her cancer.

    But where is Barack Obama during the final year of his mother’s life in 1995? Obama repeatedly referenced his mother’s struggle to have health care coverage in the 2008 presidential election, yet how close was Obama to his mother during her final year on earth?