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Obama's father spoke of adoption. Which presidents actually were?

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Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

(Read caption) President Obama walks to the Oval Office to the Rose Garden of the White house in Washington, Friday, July 8.

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What would Barack Obama have achieved in life if his parents had put him up for adoption? His father discussed such a move before little Barack was born, apparently. Barack Obama Sr. told US immigration authorities that he and his pregnant wife, Anne Dunham, would “make arrangements with the Salvation Army to give the baby away,” according to documents obtained by a reporter from The Boston Globe.

Now, it’s not clear that Mr. Obama Sr. really meant this. He might just have been telling an immigration official what he thought that official wanted to hear. But it’s interesting to think about what might have happened if it had actually occurred. Barack Jr. would have been the same person, with the same innate abilities. He surely could have accomplished much. But would that have included the White House? All it takes is but a small shift to set our lives on a different course.

Let’s be clear, though: This doesn’t mean you can’t be president if you’re not raised by birth parents. Two modern US chief executives were, or considered themselves to be, adopted.

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