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Thomas tells his personal story of adoption

By Mark Washburn
Mark Washburn
Mark Washburn writes television and radio commentary for The Charlotte Observer.
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David T. Foster, III - dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com
WBTV Meteorologist Eric Thomas addresses the audience at A Place To Call Home Luncheon sponsored by the Children’s Home Society of North Carolina.

WBTV (Channel 3) chief meteorologist Eric Thomas had been up much of the night monitoring tornado warnings, but still delivered a stirring luncheon speech Thursday to the Children’s Home Society in Charlotte.

Thomas told about his own adoption, and the mystery of his birth mother to the group that serves 17,000 children and families through adoptions, foster care and parenting education.

Thomas’ birth mother was an 18-year-old college sophomore in 1960 when she got pregnant, he said. Attitudes on unwed mothers were different then. “She was in a tough spot,” Thomas said. “She probably had to endure criticism.”

She had to decide whether to terminate the pregnancy, he said, “or would she finish what she started. Well, here I am.”

His uncle, a surgeon in New Jersey, knew the woman and set up the adoption through the family and the courts. “I cannot imagine what it would have been like to have that nurse come in and take her baby away,” Thomas said.

Deciding to give up her baby to adoption must have been the “ultimate expression of love, selfless and unconditional,” he said.

Thomas was raised in the Pittsburgh area by Magda and Egon Dezubay (they are German). His father was a nuclear engineer and his mother a teacher.

He remembers the day in second grade when his mother called him away from the TV and asked: “Did you know you were adopted?”

What does that mean, Thomas asked.

“You weren’t born from me. You were born from someone else,” she replied. “OK,” he said, “Can I go back and play now?”

While it had no impact on him then, he came to think about it in later years. He never knew his birth mother, and the only details he knows came from the uncle. She only had one other requirement for her son: That he be raised Catholic.

He has never reached out to find her. “I don’t spend much time thinking about it. There’s no void in my life,” he said.

Media Movers

WBT-AM (1110) has extended its contract with mid-morning host Keith Larson and on May 22 will restore his show to the 9 a.m. hour. Last year, the show was cut to two hours, 10 a.m. to noon, to extend “Charlotte’s Morning News” with Bo Thompson another hour. It will return to its former schedule, 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. …

Former WCCB (Channel 18) anchor Christine Noel joins the NBC affiliate in Denver as reporter and anchor. … USA Today’s “Go Escape Summer 2014” edition is on newsstands featuring a story by Sam Boykin on Panthers quarterback Cam Newton’s favorite Charlotte hangouts, including Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar, Sullivan's Steakhouse, EpiCentre’s Studio Movie Grill and Polished Nail Bar, where Newton gets foot treatments. …

Gannett Broadcasting has chosen Deborah Collura, a veteran news executive, as the new general manager of WCNC (Channel 36). WCNC has been without a full-time general manager since the December retirement of Tim Morrissey, who left the station when Gannett purchased it. Collura comes to Charlotte from Houston, where she served as news director of the NBC affiliate as well as vice president of news for Post-Newsweek stations. One of her first duties will be to name a news director for the station, which has been without one since Corrie Harding left in February for a job with NBC.

Washburn: 704-358-5007
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