Reunions
Vet who searched for over half a century is finally reunited with his children
It's been almost half a century since he started the search for his lost twins. Now, the search is finally over.
Cherie Gozon
11.17.21

Nobody wants to be separated from their loved ones.

Our families are our treasure.

YouTube Screenshot|ABC News
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YouTube Screenshot|ABC News

That’s why U.S. veteran Sergeant Allen Thomas was fueled with determination to find his lost twins, even after decades since he last saw them.

Sergeant Thomas entered service at 19.

It was 1966 when he was sent to serve in South Korea. There, he met Pae Seong-Kuem, who he later called Connie.

They got married and had twins.

Sandra and James. He also legally adopted Connie’s son from her former relationship, Jae-Im.

He had a happy family in South Korea until it was time to fly back to the U.S.

YouTube Screenshot|ABC News
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YouTube Screenshot|ABC News

He failed to secure passports for Connie and Jae-Im, so he returned to the U.S. leaving his entire family behind.

He continued to write letters and send money to support his family, miles away from him. He missed his family fiercely.

So, he asked to go back.

YouTube Screenshot|ABC News
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YouTube Screenshot|ABC News

In the middle of his service in Vietnam, he asked for a 30-day leave to visit his family in South Korea.

He did so, but he noticed things were already different between him and Connie. Leaving them one more time was the hardest, as he couldn’t see himself turning away from his family.

What Sergeant Thomas didn’t know was that it was the last time he’d ever see his family.

It was 1971.

YouTube Screenshot|ABC News
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YouTube Screenshot|ABC News

He continued to send letters to Connie, but this time, they kept coming back to him. Three years later, he received one last letter from her asking to take the twins away.

Even if he wanted to, he couldn’t; he was facing bankruptcy and had no funds to do so.

In the ’80s, he got an update.

YouTube Screenshot|ABC News
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YouTube Screenshot|ABC News

He received a letter from the U.S. State Department and the Pearl S. Buck Foundation that the twins were put up for adoption.

The only glimmer of hope was that the twins were adopted into the U.S.

But he hit another roadblock.

No one would give him any more information, due to privacy laws at the time.

He and his wife, Polly Paquin, used all their resources to find the twins, but to no avail.

YouTube Screenshot|ABC News
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YouTube Screenshot|ABC News

In 2020, they got help.

Sergeant Thomas posted his story on Facebook, which caught the attention of ABC News, who tapped investigative genealogist Pam Slaton.

Slaton got a Facebook message from Korea. It was Keonsu Lee.

YouTube Screenshot|ABC News
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YouTube Screenshot|ABC News

Lee works as a policeman in Seoul, South Korea, specializing in finding missing children in hopes of reuniting them with their parents.

With the help of ABC News’ Seoul Bureau Chief, Joohee Cho, they could put the pieces together. Slaton went back to Pearl S. Buck Foundation to get more information.

She found a lead.

YouTube Screenshot|ABC News
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YouTube Screenshot|ABC News

She found out that they changed the twins’ names, but they gave her a hint about their new names.

Sandra’s name was changed to something similar, while James’s was changed but ‘kept part of his name.’

As Slaton went over her database one more time, a name caught her attention.

Timothy James Parker

YouTube Screenshot|ABC News
Source:
YouTube Screenshot|ABC News

She called James and his roommate answered the phone. He confirmed that James was half Korean and had a twin sister named Susan.

This confirmed Slaton’s investigation that led her to reunite Thomas with his twins.

See their full story in the video below!

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By Cherie Gozon
hi@sbly.com
Cherie Gozon is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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