Lorin Mills received one of the best gifts she could have wished for this holiday season: a reunion with her long-lost sister.
A homeless couple gave birth to Mills and her two younger siblings, a boy and a girl, in California. When authorities alleged that the parents were abusive and addicted to drugs, the children were taken away and put up for adoption. Mills was raised with her half-brother; her other two siblings were separated. All four of their names were changed, and they wouldn't see each other for over 30 years.
When Mills turned 18, Adoption Services told her that she had a younger brother and sister. She spent 17 years looking for Donna Azar. A search through Adoption.com led her to Facebook, where Mills found Azar's profile. As soon as Mills saw Azar's picture, she immediately knew she had found her sister.
"It was quite a search," Mills told KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh. The query included finding Azar's adopted name, then using her wedding registry to find her new last name. "My husband was sleeping. It was late at night, and I rolled over, and I woke him up and said, 'Look at this photo!' and he said, 'What are you showing me a picture of yourself and another man for?'
That is how similar the two look. From online to real life, Mills's search would next take her to Wexford, Pennsylvania. When Azar was young, her biological parents brought her across the country to visit extended family in Washington, D.C. On the bus ride back, passengers allegedly alerted the driver that Azar's parents were abusing the child. The driver pulled over in Wexford, and Donna was taken away and placed with a foster family.
In a stranger twist of fate, Azar would eventually move to California, where she lived 45 minutes away from Lorin. But Donna didn't know Lorin even existed, until her brother received a phone call.
"He said, 'You have a sister,'" Donna recalled to KDKA. "And he said, 'You have a brother, too, and a half-brother.' And my head almost exploded."
Now that the sisters are reunited, they are searching for their younger brother, John. Mills believes his name was changed, but after the joy of finding her sister, she won't be giving up hope any time soon.
Lorin did eventually find out the fate of her parents. The sisters' birth mother passed away, and their father is still homeless and reportedly battling addiction in California.