60-year-old woman meets birth family for the first time

Curiosity and a push from her adoptive family led 60-year-old Lori Starr to track her ancestry using “23 and Me.”
Published: Feb. 5, 2023 at 6:17 PM CST
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QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. (KPHO/Gray News) - A woman in Arizona recently experienced the reunion of a lifetime.

Lori Starr was adopted at a young age, and now 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,” Starr said as she met her birth siblings. “Very in shock but so happy. I now have three sisters and three brothers.”

Starr told KPHO was put up for adoption in the Phoenix area when she was just a little over two months old.

“When I was 10 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 and gave me a wonderful childhood,” she said.

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 said. “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,” she said

With the information she got from 23 and Me, as well as information from her adoptive parent before they passed, she dug around on Facebook where she found her blood brother, Gary Chitwood.

“I was driving, and my phone went off,” Chitwood said. “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?’”

Starr’s siblings turned out to be right under her nose. They all live in Arizona.

With the help of a family friend, the siblings had a touching meetup in Queen Creek.

“Pleasantly surprised, we have another sister,” Earl Chitwood said.

Sister Sandra Chitwood said she’s excited for Starr because she’ll now be part of “this great big crazy family.”

“We laugh and have fun and are just so blessed; yeah, that’s a good word for it,” Sandra Chitwood said.

KPHO reports Starr’s mother died a few years ago, so Starr may never know why she was given up for adoption. But Starr said she doesn’t blame her mother and is excited to begin the next chapter with her new family.

“The birth family that I met today has been wonderful, definitely,” Starr said.