Discovering The Wright Identity

SHS History Teacher Undergoes Journey To Relocate Birth Mother


Palak Tohan, Co-Editor in Chief/Co-Sports Editor

Pavlaki. Little Paul. David Wright.
These names are all for the same person, however, he is more commonly known as Mr. Wright, a SHS history teacher, with an intriguing history of his own. He went through many experiences to know about where he first came from.
Jean and Quentin Wright, teachers of the Department of Defense from Spain, were looking to grow their family. Unfortunately, Jean had contracted a condition which limited her ability to conceive. They then turned to adoption. Being that they were not Roman Catholics, it was not permitted for them to adopt in Spain. Upon discovering that, the Wright’s discovered a fairly modern adoption center located in Athens, Greece.
It was there where David was found. You could say he chose his parents.
They continued living in Spain and Morocco for the next five years. In 1963, they moved to Crane, Oregon after adopting another child and conceiving their first daughter. The family moved often, as after Crane, they moved to Le Grand, CA, Parlier, CA, Reedley, CA, Fresno, CA. Sanger, CA is where he currently resides.
Growing up obviously wasn’t super off-putting for David. He had darker hair as compared to the rest of his family, who are majority blonde or red haired. He obviously knew that he was adopted, oftentimes finding himself sharing it with others. However, the big question was who were his biological parents?
Fast forwarding to his early twenties, David met his wife, Doreen, while in attendance at Reedley College. It was she who initiated the journey to find out about David’s biological family.
After planning for a long while, the two gathered enough money to plan out a five week trip to Europe, in hopes of finding some answers about David’s past. With three of the five weeks being used up for traveling for leisure, there were truly only two weeks devoted to searching for his roots in Greece. With this amount of time, there was nothing to expect.
Landing in Madrid, David realized that one of his uncles, James Plessa, had traveled to Greece before on several occasions to visit his own family village. James was able to provide an arranged visit in Athens at a relative’s house. With this, David had more support than ever to discover his ancestry.
One day, a relative was making copies of David’s document’s at a local bank, when one of the employees recognized his mother’s name, Maria. Soon, David and Doreen were informed that Maria was from the island of Naxos. Immediately after, the two caught an eight-hour long ferry, in the hopes of finding Maria.
The adoption facilitator of David’s was contacted, and from there, they were able to make contact with Maria.
With the day coming to an end, the couple found a local hotel to spend the night at. David was immediately perceived as a local Naxiotis, a Naxos-born man. Not only that, but the hotel staff was also able to get the exact village of his roots!
The following day, they headed out once again. Within a couple minutes of walking within the village, David noticed a Greek Orthodox priest, and figured that if he heard Maria’s full name, they would be able to communicate somewhat. (Keep in mind, David speaks no Greek, and no one in Naxos speaks English). The priest understood and pointed in the direction of the nearby Greek village of Koronos. Being so close to his biological mother, they were about to reach her. They did it! They found her! However, Maria had told the facilitator that she could not meet with David and Doreen as she had family to take care of.
Defeated, the two had to wait a while to arrange plans for a meet up.
With one day left of their trip, Maria had ultimately decided she couldn’t meet with them.
Unfortunately, they now had to return back to California. They left the facilitator with their contact information, in case Maria ever reached out, as he would assist in the translation of Greek to English.
Six long years later, after multiple back and forth translated letters from Maria, David and Doreen once again made plans to return.
Maria expressed so much within these six years, including her side of the story.
When she was sixteen years old, she had moved out with only a sixth grade education, to become a maid of a wealthy family. The man of the household had taken advantage of Maria, being that she was so young. She lost her innocence to a man of ill desired intentions. She found herself having to bear a child, ultimately having to make that difficult decision to put David up for adoption. To that day, no one had known about David, except her husband and sister. She was in complete shock when she found out that her son had come longing to discover his birth mother.
Eventually, David found Maria’s address in his hand, and headed back to her village. Maria and David had finally reunited, a lost connection between them, which was resparked. It had been a long 25 years. No moment passed by where they didn’t not hold each other so dearly. They met in a splendid grand manner, immediately being served beers. Everyone was so joyous. After arriving, David discovered that he had two younger siblings, Vasiliki and Michalis, both being under the age of nine. It had been years till they found out they were siblings of David, not a mere friend who received all this love from their mother.
As time went by, David took an ancestry DNA test to fully discover his family tree. Upon the results, he found out he was 62% Aegean Island, according to ancestry DNA test results.
The journey he took was very fulfilling to his soul, answering many questions about the circumstances of his birth. He was informed of family history that the majority of individuals take for granted.
To this day, Mr. Wright continues to learn more about his family, and loves to share his history with others. You can read more about Mr. Wright’s adoption story in Voices Of The Lost Children of Greece, edited by Mary Cardaras.