Father and Son Reunited

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Updated: April 24, 2019 



Updated: April 24, 2019 

Reunion Stories

Father and Son Reunited


Posted: 6/2/2011
Note: Names, Identifying informaiton and details may have been altered to protect personal identities.

I am looking for my birth father because I have never met him as he left a month before I was born. I am now 37 years old, married with 2 children. My life is good but I feel that there has always been something missing. I feel like there is a whole part of my life that I don't know about, that I need to know about. I used to be very angry about this, but I'm past that and I would just like to meet my birth father and any siblings I may have. I don't know what to expect with this, but if I am able to speak to him I really want to know from him why he left and hopefully he will want to meet me.

I know his name is John Woodruff. He was last seen in New York somewhere, and would be about 62 today. I think I remember hearing that he moved from Boston State University in Massachusetts to Rochester, New York in the December of 1971. He and my mother did not even date for a year before she got pregnant. They went to school together from 70-71. I have one photo of him with my mother, which as you can imagine is pretty worn by now. He is a black with light skin, medium thin build, about 6 foot 4 inches tall. At the time they dated, he has light brown, almost reddish hair. They look happy.

I have tried doing internet searches, looking on Facebook, and even flipping open phone books every now and again hoping that by chance I will run into the right John Woodruff. Every time it turns out to be the wrong person, I tell myself it was a long shot anyway, but I feel the hole in my chest getting wider each time. I am ready to find out for real what happened and why he left me. That's why I contacted SQA in April. Julie Jones helped pick my brain and straighten out all the facts of the case.

Julie spoke with my mom and found out that my they met at a part in Boston, but John Woodruff did not attend Boston State College. He said he was going to Ohio State. She remembered an old address of his on Risley Place in New Rochelle, New York. Julie searched through city directories and found the people living at that address in 1970 were Hattie and John Woodruff, my grandparents. Julie also found out that this John Woodruff was the same John Woodruff who was a Gold medal Olympian in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

This entry in the directory led her to my father's current location and phone number. He is alive and well, and is an attorney practicing in Brooklyn. All of a sudden I realized that my father was only a phone call away. I panicked! I couldn't seem to pick up the phone and had no idea what I would say. Julie walked me through the process, and asked me to write down what I want him to know about me when she made the initial contact. I still have the email I sent her.

It says: "I'm okay! I don't want anything from him I just want to hopefully meet my biological father and learn about the other half of my family. I have always felt like there was something missing in my life and I know it is not knowing him and the rest of my family. I have always wondered about him but I guess I was afraid to really act on searching for him, well since becoming a father myself I just feel like it is time to at least try. My only real fear right now is that he will not want anything to do with me, but I am hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. I guess I will have to move on if he is not interested in knowing me or doesn't accept me. At the very least I want him to know about me and what I have done with life thus far.

I was born January 16, 1972. My mother's name is Carol. Her family was from Lynn, Massachusetts.

I graduated from Peabody Veterans Memorial High School class of 1990 in Massachusetts (15 minutes North of Boston), I played Football, but I excelled at Track, specifically High Hurdles and Triple Jump.

I was amazed to learn about my grandfather being a Gold medal Olympian in the 1936 Berlin Olympics no less. I even wrote a book report on Jesse Owens' role in those Olympic games when I was in the 6th or 7th grade. I was an art major in high school, but I really wanted to go into Law Enforcement.

I graduated from The Police Academy in December 1997 and I have been a Police Officer ever since. Since 2001 I have been a detective. I have been married to my wife Jessica for 7 years this May, but we have been together for 12 years. We have 2 children (his grandchildren) Lila who is 5 and Allison who is 3. I do have questions that I hope he will be willing to answer, but ultimately I just hope he just give this a chance."

Julie called him the next day at his office and left a message. He called back that afternoon and asked Julie to have me call him. She said his tone was "professional, but receptive." Our first conversation was surreal for me. My father is a man I can be proud of, and I hope he can be proud of the man I have become as well.

All throughout this case I kept waiting for answers, and at times I just wanted it to be over, one way or another. Now that I have found my father, I realize that this journey is just beginning. I have siblings I have never met, my dad has two beautiful granddaughters who can't wait to meet him, and we have about 40 years of my life to catch up on. I just want to say Thank You to Julie and SQA for making this possible. For the first time, I feel like a whole person and I have you to thank for that!

Written by Mica Burton on Oren's behalf.

(Client ID# 266806)

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