SIX LAKES, Mich.-- A moment 71 years in the making became a reality on Saturday in Montcalm County. Two brothers met for the first time since one was adopted in 1946. That man never knew he had siblings until just a few months ago.
Lewis Crawford and Al Gregaitis have the same mother, but different fathers. Their mother got pregnant with Lewis while her husband was in Germany during World War II. She ultimately decided to give him up for adoption. The boys grew up only a few miles from each other and it's likely their paths did cross in the past, but Saturday was the first time as family.
It was the first of many hugs to be shared between these two brothers.
71-year old Lewis Crawford was born in Six Lakes, his birth certificate referred to him simply as 'Baby Gregaitis'. Crawford was put up for adoption and grew up in Edmore just a few miles away from the family he never knew.
"Mom never talked about it," said Al Gregaitis.
Al Gregaitis knew he had a brother he never met: a baby born while hid dad was serving in Germany during World War II. A few months ago, he got a Facebook message from Lewis Crawford's daughter.
"She asked me if I had a brother or a relative that had been adopted at childbirth because she knew her father was adopted at childbirth," said Gregaitis. "My mom passed away in the year 2000. We did find a birth certificate that said 'Baby Gregaitis'. It was dated May 8, 1946. She said 'Oh my God my dad was born May 8, 1946'."
"I got a text one day from my daughter saying 'Dad! You have two brothers in Florida!'," said Crawford. "About five minutes later she said I had three sisters in Florida and I was a deer in headlights."
The brothers eventually would speak on the phone from their new homes in Florida and Texas.
"I made contact with him by phone and when he answered the phone I said, 'Is this Baby Gregaitis?' and he said 'Yes!'."
Lewis met his biological family on Saturday at the Six Lakes Campgrounds.