The show Long Lost Family has been checking in with some of the reunited families viewers have met over the years. This time around, they’re finding some of the most memorable searches for a special “What Happened Next” series. Kathleen is a British woman who embarked on a quest to learn about her family history, and she had no idea what she would find.
When Kathleen was 14, she found documents that her parents never intended her to see. Those papers changed everything she knew about her life, including her own identity. Later on in life, she was particularly curious about her mother. Still, viewers watched as Kathleen reunited with several long lost family members, including her long-lost mother in Canada, a sister in Scotland, and then a half-brother who lived near her in London.
Kathleen is a 63-year-old grandmother of 12 from London. When she was a baby, she was put up for adoption. She was then adopted by a woman who sadly died when Kathleen was only three years old. It turned out that Kathleen’s mother gave up her for adoption as she was scared that her mixed-race daughter would become an outcast in 1950s Britain.
According to Kathleen, her grandmother once warned her: “I’ll accept anything, but I won’t accept a black child in the family.” Kathleen decided to apply to Long Lost Family after 40 years of searching for her birth mother.
The Long Lost Family team uses DNA databases to track down family members. In Kathleen’s case, her birth mother was found 3,500 miles away in Canada. Her mother’s name is also Kathleen. Not only did Kathleen discover who her birth mother was through this process, but she also discovered the large family she never knew she had.
Kathleen learned that she had an older half-sister named Jean Thompson. Jean is just four years older than Kathleen. Both women were given up for adoption by their mother, Kathleen Sr. when they were babies. Kathleen Jr. and Jean got to meet each other, their birth mother and their Canadian half-siblings Alison and Graham on the show.
The Long Lost Family team also tracked down Kathleen’s father, named Byron. The DNA search found Teddy, Kathleen’s half-brother, who never even knew he had an estranged sister. Teddy informed Kathleen of Byron’s passing, but also revealed that there were even more siblings, like two half-sisters in London. A later episode followed Kathleen to Jamaica to meet Peta Gay, her youngest sister.
Kathleen continues to live and work in north London. Her profile on LinkedIn shows that she works as a part-time consultant for Chalkhill Community Action. It’s a mentoring program where she works with groups on mental health, welfare, and more. Kathleen is still in contact with her family, located all around the world.