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Published Tuesday June 23rd, 2009 at 4:40pm

Original Article by Nicole Back

Susanne and Crystal, May 17, 2009.
After searching for five years and experiencing the feeling of getting nowhere, a Morehead State University graduate has found her biological family. Crystal Dawn Love, who is now a 29-year-old attorney living in Maysville, first found her mother on the popular social networking website, Facebook.

Crystal began "Operation: Find Biological Mother" soon after her adopted parents gave her two letters that her birth mother had written. The letters had been kept in a safety deposit box since Crystal became a part of the Love family.

"I have always known I was adopted," Crystal said. "My mother made up a little song about how they wanted a child and went to get me and loved me very much."

Crystal never had issues of abandonment.

"I think that's a testament to how well my parents handled the situation," she said. "It never occurred to me that it was something to feel ashamed of. I was blessed with such an amazing family that wanted me so much."

She was simply curious as to what it was like to know someone who shared the same bloodline.

"Do I have her eyes? Her smile? Her hands? I wonder, do I have her personality?" she wrote in a Facebook blog/note. "Mostly, though, I search for her because I want to thank her."

She wrote the blog because she said in order to find her birth mother she had to use "guerilla tactics."

She first started her search with the state. Crystal's mother was reported as "deceased or unable to be located." Her name was listed as Virginia Suzanne Page. Her last known address was in Frankfort. This information was not enough to help Crystal find who she was looking for.

"The records released to me were, I am discovering, grossly incomplete, incorrect and misleading," Crystal wrote in a letter to The Morehead News.

There was no listed date of birth or social security number. She did know that her mother was 21years old when Crystal was born.

Crystal eventually found an online yearbook from Franklin County High School in Frankfort. There were 300 graduates listed for the class of 1976.

"I was prepared to e-mail every person," Crystal said.

It did not take much more searching for Crystal to find her birth mother.

Suzanne's name is actually spelled, "Susanne." From the small, black and white photo of Susanne, Crystal could tell the two have the same forehead and eyes.

Soon after locating the yearbook photo and realizing the correct spelling of her birth mother's name, Crystal ran a Facebook search, where she found current contact information.

She sent a message to Susanne and received a "quick response."

"I'm very grateful to Facebook," Crystal said.

The two exchanged e-mails. Through these e-mails, Crystal and Susanne built the foundation for a long-lasting friendship.

Susanne was happy to be found and had always hoped to be. She also had hoped her daughter, whom she had referred to as "Amanda" in her letters, would not harbor any feelings of hurt or rejection.

She explained in an e-mail that her pregnancy was not common knowledge to those other than close friends and immediate family. Her other two children were not aware their mother had a third child.

Susanne had made the decision to "surrender" her baby after spending time at a home for unwed mothers in Nashville, Tenn.

"I went there for the last three months of pregnancy, and much non-judgmental support and counseling," Susanne said in her first e-mail. "Decided that I wanted more for my child than a struggling single mother who would either have to go on welfare, or work so many hours that I wouldn't be able to be a good mother -- wanted two loving parents for my child. So many times I have hoped and prayed I made the right decision."

Crystal made sure Susanne was aware that Susanne did, in fact, make the right decision.

"I was placed in a permanent home very quickly…I was raised by a wonderful mom and dad who are still together (whom, in true southern style, I still call "Mommy" and "Daddy")," she wrote. "I have a younger brother named Sam who is 20 and also adopted. My extended family is close, and my maternal grandmother ("Nannie" -- age 90) is my favorite person in the world."

She said her family was always financially comfortable. She grew up on a farm and attended a small, charming country church.

It did not take long for Crystal and Susanne to meet in person.

"The moment I met my mother I'll never forget when I first saw her," Crystal said, as she struggled to maintain her composure. "I said her name and we ran to each other and hugged and cried. It was the most amazing moment of my life. Most people don't get to remember when they meet their parents."

Crystal has since met her father, sister, brother and maternal grandparents.

"Wow," she said. "That was a very intense month. I expect them to be a part of the rest of my life."

Crystal refers to her adopted parents as, "Mommy and Daddy," and her biological parents as her "mother and father."

"They just happen to be different people," she said.

Crystal's sister, Kelly, is finishing up a PhD in Theatre – Policy, Performance and Practice at the University of Texas. Her brother, Ryan, 22, is a music education and performance major, specializing in jazz at a small college in Iowa.

"As for Ryan, music has always been a very important part of my life (so much so that many were shocked when I didn't major in music in college)," Crystal told her mother in an e-mail.

She said of her sister, "I laughed aloud when you described Kelly as a ‘very liberal democrat and a bit of a political activist,' because, were someone to describe me in a nutshell, that phrase would definitely come up."

Crystal signed her e-mail with two lower case Xs. She said that is her signature. She noticed it also is Susanne's.

Susanne is pleased that her daughters are forming a bond.

"I think they're both astonished at the similarities even though they've been raised by different parents in different states," Susanne said.

There are no immediate plans for her four "incredible parents" to meet.

"I don't want to gloss over my adopted parents," Crystal said. "They have been wonderfully supportive. They've always put me first. They're really amazing parents. A friend told me, ‘I am so jealous of you. I don't even have one mother and now you have two.'"

She said those who adopt should definitely be honest with their children from the beginning. If not, their children may eventually feel betrayed and instinctively ashamed because they were not told up front.

Those who are looking for their parents should find out who they are, get their adoption records released from the state and use unconventional means.

She is pleased to know she was right in believing all these years that, although her birth mother did not raise her, she has always been close to her heart.

"It's not that my birth mother didn't want me," Crystal said. "It's that she did what was best for me at the time. My adopted parents gave me a wonderful life and my biological mother gave me the chance to have that life."