The Bizarre Adoption Rumors About Malia & Sasha Obama, Debunked

Thanks to Barack Obama's presidency, the Obama family has been the subject of wild rumors, and unfortunately, Barack and Michelle Obama's daughters Malia and Sasha have not been spared. One rumor that started back in 2013 claims that the girls are not the Obamas' biological children. The website Fellowship of the Minds, which is known for promoting conspiracy theories, contended that there were no birth records for either Malia or Sasha. It also claimed there were no baby photos of the Obama girls. That is, of course, not true.

Michelle has shared baby photos of both Malia and Sasha, and so has Barack (here and here, for example). However, the conspiracy theory still trudges ahead by suggesting that the Obamas' family doctor, Anita Blanchard, and her husband, Martin Nesbitt, are Malia and Sasha's biological parents. Like most rumors surrounding the Obamas, this one continued to spread for years. In 2022, a Facebook post took the conspiracy theory even further by asserting that Blanchard and Nesbitt "rented" Malia and Sasha to the Obamas.

While this seems to be the most widespread rumor regarding the Obama sisters' parentage, another conspiracy theory spread after the satirical website The Last Line of Defense joked that a man named Ezekiel Wilekenmeyer, who once claimed to be the Obamas' sperm donor, sued the couple for cutting him out of Malia and Sasha's lives. Despite being satire, the satirical post was repeated by conspiracy theorists as actual news. Michelle Obama is no stranger to absurd rumors, and she has since given insight into her pregnancies that show how ridiculous these claims are.

Michelle and Barack Obama conceived Malia and Sasha via IVF

Focused on their successful careers, Michelle and Barack Obama waited until their mid-30s to start a family. But they struggled to conceive. After suffering a miscarriage, the couple weighed their options as they sought to become parents. Fortunately, they were able to conceive both Malia and Sasha through in vitro fertilization. While their story had a happy ending, it was far from smooth. Undergoing IVF is hard on the body, both emotionally and physically.

For Michelle, it involved administering daily injections on herself. "Here I was alone in the bathroom of our apartment, trying, in the name of all that want, to screw up the courage to plunge a syringe into my thigh," she wrote in her 2018 memoir, "Becoming." The sacrifices proved worth it on July 4, 1998. "Malia Ann Obama, one of the two most perfect babies ever to be born to anyone, anywhere, dropped into our world," she penned.

IVF also proved effective in conceiving Sasha two years later. "Natasha Marian Obama was born on June 10, 2001, at the University of Chicago Medical Center, after a single round of IVF, a fantastically simple pregnancy, and a straightforward delivery," she wrote. Michelle's decision to share her journey had an almost immediate impact. After her memoir, some fertility clinics saw an uptick in Black patients. "Black women don't seek care at the same rate as white women," Dr. Desireé McCarthy-Keith of Shady Grove Fertility said. 

Parenthood changed Barack and Michelle Obama's lives

In her memoir, Michelle Obama described how welcoming her children reshaped her goals and outlook on life. "Motherhood became my motivator. It dictated my movements, my decisions, the rhythm of every day," she wrote. The role also greatly impacted Barack Obama, especially because he grew up without a father. Barack Obama Sr. left when he was two, leaving his mother Ann Dunham to raise him alone. Barack saw him once after that, during a trip Barack Sr. took to the U.S. from Kenya when his son was 10.

He gave Barack his first basketball and played jazz, but fatherhood isn't that. "The visit left me with more questions than it answered, and I knew I would have to figure out how to be a man on my own," Barack wrote in a 2021 Facebook post. The experience motivated him to not only be present but to instill in his girls the security that they would always be a priority. "When Malia was born, I made a promise to myself that my kids would know me, that they'd grow up feeling my love keenly and consistently," he wrote on Facebook in 2020.

Barack's experience also inspired him to promote policies to support young fathers through the Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative. "While no government program can fill the role that fathers play for our children, what we can do is try to support fathers who are willing to step up," he said in 2010.