Allen Thomas, an American man who lost his two children while stationed in South Korea, will be the feature story of ABC 20/20’s latest report. ABC 20/20 is reporting that they helped Allen Thomas reunite with his children after more than four decades. In the sneak peek video clip for 20/20, Allen Thomas is asked if he is finally ready to see his children for the first time in more than 40 years. We then see an emotional reunion between Allen Thomas and the biological children from whom he was separated all those years ago.
The emotional story unfolded in the early 1960s when 19-year old Allen Thomas was stationed in South Korea while working as a military mechanic. During his time there, he fell in love with Sun-Kum, a local woman he called Connie. The two engaged in a beautiful love affair that produced twins, a boy and a girl, Sandra and James. Allen Thomas ended up marrying Sun-Kum and had plans to bring her and the kids back to the United States with him. Those plans were foiled after problems with Sun-Kum’s passport meant that he had to travel back to America alone. He lost contact with them for a time but was later contacted by Sun-Kum, again, with details on their new location. The last time Allen Thomas saw James and Sandra was during a temporary visit to Vietnam in 1971. But, by 1976, he had lost complete contact with them. Thomas had no idea that Sun-Kum, aka Connie, had put the twins up for adoption. Sadly, he has spent the last several decades searching for them. With the help of ABC 20/20 and Facebook, he has finally located them.
“At that time, I had just went through bankruptcy. It was really hard, and there was just no way I could get over there. I was caught between two worlds. They were adopted under Korean law. Now all of a sudden they got the American law. Well okay, where are my rights? I was told I had no rights.”
ABC 20/20 will air the tearful reunion tonight, detailing Allen Thomas’ journey to find his lost children and what life was like for Sandra and James after their adoption and their move to the U.S. There will also be an update on whatever happened to their mother, Connie.
According to ABC News, eventually Sun-Kum and Allen Thomas divorced in absentia. Thomas remarried a woman named Polly and raised a family in Colorado. Despite having a wonderful life with his new family, he never forgot James and Sandra. In fact, the entire family would talk about them during the holidays and birthdays. Allen Thomas’ daughter, Charlene, stated the following.
“It was like they were always part of the family. It was never a secret. We always knew about them and wondered about them. Their birthday would come along and dad would talk about, ‘Well it’s their birthday.’”
Allen Thomas’ situation is not unique. There have been countless families who have been lost and separated in Korea. Today, there are many groups and organizations that are dedicated to reuniting families who have been separated by the Korean war and the years after the Korean war.
Below are a few fun facts bout South Korea, according to Swig Meets World.
A person in Korea can earn top dollars teaching English to business executives. It is considered one of the top paying countries in the world. Age is very important there. When a person is born, they start at age 1, not zero. The elderly are given deep respect. Technology in Korea is very advanced and very powerful. They also have the speediest internet service. The McDonald’s restaurants there actually deliver.
[Image via Allen Thomas/Facebook]