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Woman meets birth family for the first time

<i>KPHO</i><br/>Woolston has driven more than 1
Woolston has driven more than 1

By Steven Sarabia

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    QUEEN CREEK, Arizona (KPHO) — A Valley woman had the reunion of a lifetime. Lori Starr was adopted at a very young age, and at 60 years old, she met her birth siblings for the first time. “I think I had the biggest smile on my face. I was so happy,” said Starr as she met her birth siblings. “Very in shock but so happy. I now have three sisters and three brothers.”

Starr was put up for adoption in the Phoenix area when she was just a little over two months old. “When I was ten years old, I would never have even thought of looking for my birth family because I was so happy with the people who raised me. They were wonderful people who gave a childhood.” Decades later, curiosity and a push from her adoptive family led Starr to track her ancestry using “23 and Me.”

“Nobody knew that my birth mother was pregnant with me. She already had four children. She got pregnant with me, but her husband had died. Back in the 60s, that was a ‘no no’ to get pregnant out of wedlock, so she didn’t tell anybody she was pregnant except her best friend,” said Starr.

With the information she got from ‘23 and Me’ as well as from her adoptive parent before they passed, she dug around on Facebook, where she found her blood brother. “I was driving, and my phone went off. It came up Lori Starr, so I answered my cell phone, and Lori said, ‘hi, don’t be mad, but I think I’m your sister,’ and I’m like, excuse me?” said Gary Chitwood, her blood brother. “One thing led to another, and it’s all been verified by 23 and me,” said Starr.

Turns out her siblings were right under her nose, as they all live in Arizona. With a family friend’s help, the siblings had a touching meet-up in Queen Creek. “Pleasantly surprised, we have another sister,” said Earl Chitwood. “I’m excited for her because now she’s going to be a part of this great big crazy family. We laugh and have fun and just so blessed, yeah, that’s a good word for it,” said Sandra Chitwood.

While Starr may never know why her mother did what she did, as she passed several years back, she says she doesn’t blame her and is excited to begin this chapter with her added brothers and sisters. “The birth family that I met today has been wonderful, definitely.” Starr said her adoptive family was very supportive of her during this time, and she still plans to keep those close bonds with them as well.

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