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An Amazing Discovery

  by Richard Pavlicek

As an adopted child I had a wonderful life. My adoptive parents (Frank and Edith Pavlicek) were kind and caring, as well as assertive about doing the right things in life. If I had a dollar for every time my mother reminded me of the Golden Rule, I could have opened PavCo Cayman Bank in my teens. Okay, okay, just kidding; I wasn’t that naughty, but their devoted marriage and ways set a fine example.

Since as young as I can remember, Frank and Edith were completely frank (no pun intended) about my being adopted. In fact I was very comforted when they explained how “special” I was to have been chosen. Of course my childhood picture of all this was them walking down aisles and aisles of baby cribs, finally announcing “We’ll take this one!” Curiously my adoption at nine months was Edith’s birthday present — hopefully her best present ever, but hey, I’ll settle for the Top 10.

I would sometimes wonder about my natural parents but continually put off any investigation, as I thought it might have made my adoptive parents unhappy. I certainly didn’t want them to feel insufficient in any way, but on rethinking this now, I am sure they would have encouraged and helped me with any venture. After they both passed, I was less keen on investigating, because the chances of finding a living parent were slim.

For the next decade I continued to disregard my ancestry. Though officially retired, I actually had a full-time job as caregiver for my wife, who was afflicted with Alzheimer’s. Difficult times, but if I had it all to do over again I’d choose the same path. We made the best of it. For most of your life love is taken for granted, and only near the end do you realize its incredible bond. On September 9, 2015, the Angels came. Honey, I Miss You

Now living by myself, loneliness beckoned, and I decided to write the state of Ohio to obtain my adoption records. This took over three months with all the bureaucracy and verification required, but I finally received the court-sealed documents including my true birth certificate. All very interesting! I was born Richard Thomas (no, not John Boy), my father was Ronald Thomas, and my mother was Margaret Evans (maiden name) who was born in Wales, Great Britain (now UK).

Alas, both of my parents were age 23 at my birth, so unlikely to be living, and my birth certificate had few other leads. It did provide their Cleveland, Ohio street address, which I looked up on Google Maps only to discover that it’s now a vacant lot. I suppose some people would have hired a private investigator to pursue this, but that was beyond my means. Oh well; a dead end.

Miracle of DNA

My son Rich was also interested in his heritage, not only for himself but for his son (my grandson) Seth, so he enrolled at, where he submitted Seth’s DNA. I had little hopes of this producing anything, but it couldn’t hurt to try, if only to see how this DNA stuff works. Evidently these sites compare samples for common genes, and document the number of matches. A low number might indicate only the same ethnic background, a median number a distant relative, and a high number a parent or sibling. A complete match would mean the same person (or identical twin).

Predictably, nothing significant came up for quite a while — but in December 2019 a modest match was discovered, which DNA experts considered likely to be related to Seth in some way. Rich contacted this person (Christina Kelley) to see if there might be any connection with my birth parents. Lo and behold! She is the daughter of Robert Thomas, who is the son of the late Ronald and Margaret Thomas. Bingo!

We soon discovered I have two brothers (Robert and Ronald, twins) and a sister (Margaret) who were just as flabbergasted to learn about me as I was about them. In order to be sure, I sent a copy of my birth certificate to “Margy,” and she agreed there could be no doubt that we are siblings. I was born in 1945, Margy in 1948, and the twins in 1951. The mystery of course is why I was given up for adoption. Nobody knows, because they didn’t even know of my existence, but we theorize it was because my father was in the military (this was shortly after WWII ended) and his tour of duty made it difficult to care for a baby. Cost might also have been an issue. Anyway, I accept it! Otherwise I might be hearing echoes, “Get rid of that kid before he makes another stupid lead!”

Fate and Destiny

A remarkable coincidence, or perhaps genetic destiny, is that my mother was an avid bridge player! Margy said about our mother’s bridge, “She was very good and had a mathematical mind.” I guess I can brag to resemble that, so thanks Mom! This revelation is especially poignant, because neither of my adoptive parents ever played bridge (though they encouraged me throughout my career).

Surreal! What an amazing discovery after all these years of knowing nothing.

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Margaret Evans (1922-95) and Ronald Thomas (1921-95)
Biological parents of Richard Pavlicek
© 2019 Richard Pavlicek