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A fateful decision

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Kendall McArthur became an expert horsewoman, earning fistfuls of ribbons. She performed on Dec. 15, 2002, with the Classical Equus Royal Vaulters in Lake View Terrace. Over the years, she hung her prizes on a string across her bedroom -- 98 ribbons in all, a satin rainbow of blue, yellow, red and pink. (Lawrence K. Ho / LAT)
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After three failed marriages and trouble finding work that paid enough to support two children as a single mother, Patti Sheets joined the Army and became a Patriot Missile operator at Ft. Bliss in El Paso, Texas. As Patti sought to resume a relationship with Kendall, 12, she sent a photograph of herself in uniform. ()
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Dorrie and David McArthur get dressed at their home in Silver Lake for a concert at the Neighborhood Church in Pasadena with Pasadena Pro Musica, a classical choral group. (Damon Winter / LAT)
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In November 2005, Patti Dick (in red) hugs Dorrie McArthur in the McArthurs’ Silver Lake home. Four years earlier, Patti, angry at Dorrie because Kendall had not come to visit her birth mother in Germany, had vowed never to speak to Dorrie again. The two mothers, brought together by the birth of their granddaughter, had not seen each other in six years. (Damon Winter / LAT)
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Kendall McArthur’s birth mother, Patti Dick, left, plays with Kendall’s 4-month-old baby, Kaitlyn Rose, in the car after picking Patti up at the airport in Burbank. Patti had arrived to see her grandchild for the first time. In the back seat is Kendall’s boyfriend, Devin Coury. (Damon Winter / LAT)
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In 2005, Kendall McArthur, 22, holds her 4-month-old baby girl, which she and her boyfriend named Kaitlyn Rose. Kendall became a sweet, doting mother. ()
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Kendall McArthur’s two mothers take a walk together in Griffith Park in November 2005. During each visit between the two families, birth mother Patti Dick and adopted mother Dorrie McArthur made a point of taking a long walk together along the park’s dirt trails to catch up. (Damon Winter / LAT)
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