1. Babe Ruth. Born George Herman Ruth, Jr. in 1895. He was one of eight siblings. Six of them died due to disease and poverty. His parents placed him and his sister in orphanages. It was there, in the orphanage, that he learned to play baseball.
2. Bo Diddley. Born Ellas Bates to a poor couple in rural Mississippi, he was given up to be adopted by his mother's cousin. She moved her family to Chicago in the 1930's. It was there that Bo discovered Blues Music. He would go on to be nicknamed "The Originator," record 40 albums, and be inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
3. Steve Jobs. The founder of Apple, was born to Syrian-born Abdulfattah 'John' Jandali and Swiss-American Joanne Carole Schieble. He was given up at birth and adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs in 1955. In his own words, he spoke of adoption:
I was, I remember right here on my lawn, telling Lisa McMoylar from across the street that I was adopted. And she said, “So does that mean your real parents didn't want you?” Ooooh, lightning bolts went off in my head. I remember running into the house, I think I was like crying, asking my parents. And they sat me down and they said, “No, you don't understand. We specifically picked you out. From then on, I realized that I was not - just abandoned. I was chosen. I was special." His biographers, Walter Isaacson, said, "And I think that's the key to understanding Steve Jobs."
4. Dave Thomas. The founder of the fast food chain Wendy's was born in 1932 to an unwed mother who gave him up for adoption at 6 weeks. He was adopted by Rex and Auleva Thomas. His own background and his belief that, "Every child deserves a home and love" is what drove him to found The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. The link to that site is
5. Oscar Winner Frances McDormand. Best known for her role in Fargo. She was born in Chicago in 1957. She was adopted by Vernon and Noreen McDormand. Frances McDormand would later marry director, Joel Coen (of the Coen Brothers). They would go on to adopt their son, Pedro, from Paraguay.