Legendary musician David Crosby recently died on January 18, 2023, at the age of 81. The American singer-songwriter was best-known for his work with folk-rock groups The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash, who released their biggest hits between the 60s and 80s. Aside from being an icon in the music industry, the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Famer was also a father to six children. One of those children – a son – was placed for adoption in the 1960s. Crosby and his son reunited three decades later and formed a close relationship before his death.
Whether or not you know David Crosby’s music, chances are you have at least heard his name. His work spans decades and has influenced many current songwriters, across multiple genres. What many do not know about this Grammy-winner, however, is that he was also a birth father to a son that was placed for adoption. Their story began in 1962.
The Adoption Story of David Crosby’s Son
David Crosby enjoyed years of success in the music industry, but he also struggled with substance abuse. While he was dealing with these health issues, his then-girlfriend, Celia Crawford Ferguson, became pregnant. David Crosby was 21 years old at the time of this unplanned pregnancy. The couple was unsure if they were ready to raise the baby. They decided to place the child for adoption when he was born in 1962.
The son, named James, was adopted as a newborn by the Raymond family. He enjoyed a happy and supportive childhood in California. James Raymond knew from an early age that he was adopted. He did not try to search for his birth father until his late 20s.
Unbeknownst to him, Raymond was following in his birth father’s shoes by pursuing a career in music. He studied classical music and later discovered his love of jazz. By the age of 30, he was already working as a musical director for an award-winning series on Nickelodeon and working as a touring sideman for big musical acts like Chaka Khan and Take 6.
When he saw his biological father’s name on the birth certificate, the young musician was shocked. “I didn’t think it was the David Crosby,” he told The Baltimore Sun.
Raymond contacted Crosby just before the legendary artist underwent a life-saving liver transplant in 1994. The two met for lunch three months later, thus beginning the next chapter for the father-son duo.
The Adoption Reunion: Crosby and Raymond’s Second Chapter
As David Crosby prepared for his surgery, he learned that his adopted son had been looking for him. He explained that he never forgot about the son he had placed for adoption.
“I was in the hospital dying, and I knew that I had a son out there some place,” he told The Baltimore Sun. “I had been beating myself up for years about not being there for this kid.”
This guilt is a common feeling for birth parents in closed adoption arrangements. Closed adoption means there is no contact between the two families. It often leaves many questions unanswered.
Once they met in person, however, Crosby recalled having an instant connection.
“He was this nice, decent young guy and we became friends immediately.”
Not only did the two become fast friends, but they also went on to collaborate in their careers. In addition, Crosby and Raymond found they had similar taste and sensibilities in music. They started writing songs together and teamed up with Guitarist Jeff Pevar to form the group Crosby, Prevar and Raymond – or CPR for short. By January of 1997, CPR was touring and performing live together.
In July 2021, Crosby released a solo album – For Free – which was co-written and produced by his birth son, James Raymond.
After Crosby’s death in January, Raymond said the following:
“I am deeply saddened at the passing of my birth father, David Crosby… I feel very fortunate that we found each other and that he so graciously invited me to experience that rarified air of creativity that surrounded him. I’ll miss him immensely.”
David Crosby Was Also a Donor for Melissa Etheridge
James Raymond was not the only person to be touched by adoption in David Crosby’s life. Bailey Cypher and Beckett Cypher, the children of Melissa Etheridge and her then-partner, Julie Cypher, are also the biological children of David Crosby. Crosby was the couple’s sperm donor.
Crosby did not raise the children with Etheridge and Cypher. He once said, “If, you know, in due time, at a distance, they’re proud of who their genetic dad is, that’s great.”
Melissa Etheridge shared a tribute to Crosby after his death last month. She revealed, “He gave me the gift of family. I will forever be grateful to him.”
Adoption is Not Goodbye Forever
As we recount the incredible story of David Crosby and his birth son, James Raymond, we are reminded that adoption does not have to be goodbye forever. It does not signal the end of a chapter. It is the start of a new journey.
While adoption may not be the right path for everyone, birth parents considering adoption should know that this loving choice can help create wonderful opportunities in the years ahead. It might grow into an ongoing open relationship with the adoptive family.
Thanks to open adoption, a common and modern type of adoption plan, expectant/birth mothers can now take comfort knowing they can:
- Choose a loving family to raise their child, and meet them (if they wish).
- Maintain contact with the family over the years, witnessing their child grow.
- Have the opportunity to speak with their child in the future, and explain to them their decision for making an adoption plan.
In the past, these types of adoptions were typically closed. This means that no identifying information was shared between the birth and adoptive families. David Crosby and James Raymond were an early example of this, as the two did not have contact for decades. Because of this lack of connection, Crosby felt a sense of guilt. Raymond went on to live a very fulfilling life, but eventually saw the importance of meeting his biological dad. Reunions can help complete an adoptee’s identity, allow a birthparent a sense of closure, and allow each of them to build a stronger sense-of-self. When the two finally reunited, their closed adoption became an open adoption plan.
If you are considering adoption, or would like to learn more about the process, contact Adoptions With Love today. We can help answer your questions about adoption and guide you through the process. Contact us online for more information.