A daughter's search for the woman who gave birth to her 22 years ago ended at the convenience store where she works, when she discovered she had been working alongside her mother for six months.

Tammy Harris, adopted at age 2, searched for her natural mother for a year before discovering it was her friend at work, Joyce Schultz.Three weeks ago, Schultz, 44, overheard Harris complaining about the difficulty of getting information about her natural parents.

Harris brought out her birth certificate, and Schultz, who had been looking for her children, knew she had found her daughter. Afraid to say anything, she asked Harris for a baby picture.

The picture of the little girl matched the pictures Schultz had of her own daughter.

Schultz said she has searched for her daughter and two sons since the children were taken from her by state officials. She was deemed an unfit mother but would not say what reasons the state gave for taking her children.

Schultz still didn't say anything for days, explaining, "I was frightened she might not like me."

But Harris, who wondered why her co-worker had asked for the baby picture, eventually asked Schultz point-blank: "Are you my mother?"

When Schultz said yes, "I just fell into her arms. It felt so natural," Harris said. "We held on for the longest time."

Harris, who is married and has a daughter, said her adoptive parents supported her decision to find her birth parents. She said she was 16 when she first thought about starting the search but waited until she felt she was old enough to cope with what she might find.

Mother and daughter lived only two streets apart for the past two years.

The pair plan to search together for Harris' brothers, Tim and Terry.