After more than 40 years of searching, one American veteran is hoping that social media may be the key to reuniting him with his long-lost twins.
As NBC News reports, Allen Thomas was a young soldier when the Army sent him to Korea. During his tour, he met and married Sun Kun Thomas and the two were soon the proud parents of fraternal twins. James Allen and Sandia Lynn (a boy and a girl) were born on September 10, 1967 in Seoul.
Thomas planned to take his young family back to the U.S. after his tour was over, but while he was trying to get the paperwork together, the marriage fell apart. The twins’ mother refused to leave for America or to let the children go. Thomas wanted to take his children with him, and even considered going AWOL to make it happen, but decided that it would be more sensible to try to arrange for them to join him in the U.S. The last time he saw James and Sandia was as they bid him goodbye at the airport in 1971.
Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned. The twins’ mother sent back Thomas’ letters unopened, frustrating his efforts at a reunion. Eventually, Thomas accepted the inevitable and obtained a divorce. He married a childhood friend, adopted her children, and continued looking for a way to reunite with the twins.
In 1974, he came tantalizingly close when their mother contacted him with an offer to relinquish the children. Thomas was going through financial hardship at the time, and appealed to the Army and Red Cross for help, but couldn’t afford to bring the twins to the U.S.
As soon as he had the resources to do so, Thomas tried again to find James and Sandia, but learned that he was too late. Their mother had given them up for adoption in 1976 and would not reveal where the twins had gone. The only clue was that they had been adopted by an American family.
For years, Thomas searched for his missing children. He tried working with Korean-American groups and later turned to the internet, but had no luck. Then, with the help of his daughter, Charlene Roberts, he brought the quest to Facebook and found an army of people ready to help them in their search. TheFacebook group dedicated to reuniting the family now boasts more than 26,100 members who share leads, hope, and prayers that James and Sandia will soon be found.
Roberts says that they are grateful for the support they’ve received, especially as the search for the missing twins has been difficult for her father.
“It’s just gut-wrenching,” she told NBC News. “My dad doesn’t cry, but this has ripped his heart out. It’s very difficult.”
Thomas says that he’s aware of the possibility that even if found, the twins might not want to pursue a reunion. He’s prepared to respect their wishes, but will not give up the search.
Most of all, he wants them to know that he has never stopped looking for them. “I just need to know they’re OK and tell them I love them,” he said. “These are my kids, and I’ve never stopped loving them.”