Spreading a bit of inspiration today to lead optimistic lives – I take a look at a few adoptees (many with kinship or step-parent type adoptions) who made some difference or achieved something worthwhile with their lives.
 Babe Ruth – was sent to an orphanage at a young age along with his sister. There he was taught and encouraged to play baseball. Ruth eventually spent 22 record-breaking seasons playing baseball and became one of America’s greatest baseball players.
 Eleanor Roosevelt – by the age of 15, Roosevelt was a double orphan. She was then adopted by her grandmother. Roosevelt would become the longest-serving First Lady of the United States, as well as a United States Delegate to the United Nations General Assembly. She has been called the “First Lady of the World” in tribute to her human rights achievements.
 Steve Jobs – Surrendered and adopted shortly after birth, Jobs was a successful entrepreneur who became the co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc. He has personally been linked to the technological revolution that has swept the world.
 Melissa Gilbert – After being adopted as a baby, Gilbert went on to star as Laura Ingalls Wilder on the NBC series, Little House on the Prairie, from 1974 to 1984.
 John Hancock – Raised by extended family after the death of his father, Hancock became a prominent Patriot of the American Revolution. His signature is so well-recognized from signing the Declaration of Independence that the term “John Hancock” has become a synonym for signature, which point was made in the Will Smith movie Hancock.
 Michael Oher – Adopted at age 17 after spending years in various foster homes, Oher went on to play offensive lineman for the Ole Miss Rebels and then was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft. He is the main character in the movie, The Blind Side, which won an Academy Award movie.
 Nelson Mandela – Raised by a tribe chief after his father’s death (when Mandela was 9 years old), he was President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the first to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. He was known as a revolutionary, politician, and philanthropist.
 Leo Tolstoy – Raised by extended family after the death of his parents, Tolstoy became a famous Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist, playwright, and philosopher. His written work is still widely read today.
 Nancy Reagan – After her parents separated, Reagan (born Anne Frances Robbins) lived with an aunt and uncle during most of her childhood. She eventually reunited with her mom and took her stepfather’s last name, “Davis.” She was the First Lady during her husband’s administration.
 Dave Thomas – Born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, to a young unmarried woman he never knew, Thomas was adopted at 6 weeks old. At age 5, when his (adoptive) mother died, Thomas moved in with his grandmother. As an adult, Thomas became the founder and CEO of Wendy’s restaurant chain.
 Edgar Allan Poe – Born in 1809, Poe’s father abandoned the family in 1810. His mother died the following year. Orphaned, he went to live with the Allan family in Virginia, who then raised him to adulthood. He was an American writer known for his poetry and short stories, particularly his mysteries. He is considered the inventor of detective fiction.
 Gerald Ford – Leslie Lynch King Jr was only 16 days old when his parents went their separate ways. A couple of years later, King’s mother remarried and they changed Leslie Lynch King Jr’s name to Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr, in honor of his stepfather (whom Ford says played a wonderful role in his life). Ford was our 38th President of the United States.
 Simone Biles – After spending time in and out of foster care, Biles was adopted by her grandparents who helped her pursue her dream to reach the Olympics. As an American gymnast, Biles became the 2016 Olympic individual all-around, vault, and floor gold medalist. As an integral part of the “Final Five,” she is currently the most decorated American gymnast with nineteen Olympic and World Championship medals.