Mike Crawford recalls knowing he was adopted from the time he was able to comprehend the term. Both he and his wife, Becky, agree that they think it’s best for a child to find out they have been adopted while they’re young.
Recently, Mike took on the task of contacting his birth family, after his son Michael needed more information about their lineage for some genealogy research. This prompted Mike to take action - and he began by calling the Nebraska Children’s Home.
The tracing work done through the Nebraska Children’s Home took about a year to complete. At first it seemed a struggle to get anywhere, as the home takes its privacy laws very seriously. “We began wondering if it was worth the effort,” Mike stated.
Fortunately, once the information was tracked down and the paperwork began, things sped up. In order for him to contact his birth family, forms had to be filled out by both parties. These forms consisted of agreements ensuring that the people wanted to communicate.
There was also literature sent out on what could be the outcome of such a meeting. As his wife Becky put it, “They want to make sure everything’s okay and that you’re not going to go off the deep end.”
Mike was adopted when he was 3-months-old. Since it was a closed adoption, he never knew who his birth parents were. At the age of 18, he briefly tried to locate them but never pursued it. Today Mike is 72, and the task is finally complete - or as much as it can be.
He was able to track down his birth mother’s name and some information about her, but unfortunately she is deceased. As for his father, Mike wasn’t able to find anything out about him, as he had no idea what name to track him by.
Fortunately, through this process, Mike discovered that he has a living sister who resides in Orlando, Fla. Her name is Jo Adkins and she is 75-years-old. As far as she and Mike know, they are the only two siblings. They both agreed to contact each other and began with a phone conversation.
“I think he was scared to talk to her on the phone,” said Becky, “but after I got them started they had no trouble at all.” Mike nodded in agreement, and added that since that initial conversation he and his sister have talked lots and have exchanged pictures and letters.
When asked if a trip to Orlando was in the works, Mike didn’t hesitate to say no. He went on to say that he does hope to meet his sister, but thinks that the newly discovered, annual family reunions would be a better location.
The latest reunion was held during the weekend of the Sept. 18 and 19 in Missouri Valley, Iowa. Mike and Becky left their home in Broken Bow to travel there where they met many aunts, uncles, and cousins they never knew he had. Some of Mike’s children and grandchildren accompanied the couple to the reunion.
The Crawford’s did miss one person who wasn’t in attendance, and that was his sister Jo. She hopes to be able to attend the reunion this next summer, but until then the two siblings plan to continue building their relationship through calls and letters.