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Duncan woman finds daughter on Facebook after 10-year search

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DUNCAN, Okla_ A mother and daughter are reunited, and they credit Facebook for it.

Suzanne Bernal's search started about 10 years ago. Today, she lives in Duncan but had spent many years in California with her daughter. That is, until they lost touch 17 years ago.

Suzanne's cousin suggested she join Facebook, in hopes someone would help her re-connect with the little girl she raised. She was about to give up the search when she got a lead back in July. It was a message from her daughter.

She had been looking for her mother all along, too.

"I had all but lost faith and that was all that kept me going, my faith," Suzanne said. "Michelle had been gone for so long."

Suzanne last saw her daughter Michelle when she was 21.

"I can't believe that she's aged so much," Suzanne said. "That's the most surprising thing, is, she's aged. I haven't."

Michelle is now 38 and a mother of eight. Seventeen years ago, she and Suzanne had lived together in San Pedro, California. Then Michelle moved to a different city. Not long after, Suzanne moved a few blocks away, but both remained in California for the time being. Suzanne couldn't keep the same phone number, and Michelle didn't have a phone at all.

"There was no way to reach her," Suzanne said.

Suzanne always thought Michelle would contact other family members, but she never did.

"I really thought, 'She's mad at me. It's over. I'll never hear from her again.' I really didn't know what to do. I just prayed a whole lot. But that's about it," Suzanne said.

Michelle said she did try to get in touch with her mom.

"When we lost contact, it was like I thought maybe she was made at me. So, then I tried to call. I'm like ‘She never wants to talk to me again'. So I just figured I would never see her again," Michelle said.

But Michelle never gave up hope. About ten years ago, she started searching Facebook. She was looking for her mother, and she found her. Michelle said that meant the world to her.

"I'm just happy to have a mother, because I was without a mom for so long."

That was in July.  Then Thursday, they met face-to-face at the airport in Oklahoma City.

"I had a lot of mixed emotions," Michelle said. "It was just hard to believe.  When I saw her, I'm like 'Is this really here? I really finally made it to Oklahoma?' I was just happy."

"I held her and squeezed her and kept touching her to make sure that she's real," Suzanne said. "That was indescribable. Just like the first time I heard her voice after the 17 years. It made me feel whole. There was a big hole in my heart that was suddenly closed."

Now they're making up for lost time, visiting, and reminiscing. They both vow to never let so much time pass without being in touch ever again.

"Constant contact," Suzanne said. "There's nothing else that can be said. Just keep in constant contact."

"I just thank God that we found each other," Michelle said.

Michelle still lives in California but plans to spend all of next week in Duncan with her mom.

 

 

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