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Missouri man finds daughter given up for adoption

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  • Missouri man finds daughter given up for adoption

    Missouri man finds daughter given up for adoption

    Staff Writer

    Don Woodson's odyssey to find his long lost daughter — armed with his truck
    and a sign with his phone number on it — ended last week in Nashville.

    He had been searching since July 2002, when his daughter called him at his home
    in Troy, Mo. At the time she called, his mind was muddled from painkillers from
    a heart surgery, so he didn't understand who was on the line.

    The daughter, who had been placed for adoption before he ever saw her, never
    called back, and his search for her began on the strength of a half-remembered
    word: -ashville, or something-ville. Her Southern accent was very thick. Last
    week, he came here convinced that she had said, ''Nashville.''

    Two friends of the woman, now 39, heard him interviewed on the radio and read
    about his quest in The Tennessean.

    By the time they called, the 60-year-old retired St. Louis Teamsters president
    had left town to try his luck in Mobile, Ala. Woodson turned his truck around,
    checked back into the Nashville motel he had just left, and waited for the
    phone to ring.

    ''I was very apprehensive,'' he said in a phone interview from Missouri
    Wednesday about the prospect of talking with his daughter. ''I just couldn't
    believe it was really happening. After hunting that long, then boom! It's here.
    I was somewhat emotional over it.''

    The two talked for about 45 minutes that night, a Saturday, and again for 1½
    hours before she went to church in the morning. ''I was getting ready to hang
    up with her,'' he said. ''I felt so good, I told her I didn't want to hang up
    the phone.''

    Woodson had gifts for her: a ring with sentimental value and a photograph of
    himself in a bathing suit standing on a beach in Naples, Italy, in 1962. The
    photo was taken while he was stationed overseas with the Navy just before she
    was conceived.

    Woodson said his daughter wasn't yet ready to meet face to face. Her two young
    children didn't know they weren't actually related to Grandma and Grandpa, he
    said. For that reason, she asked Woodson not to share her name with the media.

    Once she's had time to talk to her family, he said, he hopes they'll be able to
    get together.

    He's saving the gifts until they do meet. Until then, they'll share phone
    calls, letters and exchange pictures, he said.

    A good friend will come and bail you out of jail . . . but, a true friend will
    be sitting next to you saying, "**** . . . that was fun!"
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