By Steve Large

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – What started as a woman’s personal mission to find her birth mother is now a widespread social media search.

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She was born in Sacramento, but the search is now covering the country using Facebook.

July 3, 1976: The Sacramento Bee’s headline that day read about the preparations of the country’s bicentennial birthday celebration. Not making the paper that day was the birth of a little girl born in Sacramento and given up for adoption.

Now years later, 36-year-old woman has launched a Facebook campaign to search for her birth mom with a photo that is drawing massive amounts of attention. It was posted last Thursday and has already been shared thousands of times.

CBS13’s Steve Large spoke to her on Skype on Tuesday.

Her name is Mary Ellen Watterson. She is married and living in Utah and knows little about her birth mom, only that she had brown hair, stood 5-foot-7 and was not married.

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“It’s something that I’ve always wanted and I’ve always had that desire I guess to know who I look like,” she said. “She was 21 when she had me, and so that would make her about 57 or 56ish.”

Mary Ellen’s adoptive parents are helping with her search.

“It’s been great,” an emotional Mary Ellen said of her life. “My parents have been very supportive of me and raised me the right way.”

A daughter on a personal mission. Now she’s making her own headline that’s turned into a public crusade.

“Actually I don’t have a question (for her mother),” she said. “I’d just say thank you. You did the most wonderful, selfless act you ever could have done.”

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Mary Ellen and her husband are foster parents and are hoping to adopt soon.