On this week’s episode of TLC’s Long Lost Family, a gay man learned that he unknowingly fathered a daughter 30 years ago.
The series follows people as they reunite with relatives they’ve been separated from for one reason or another. Dan, a 49, had a pretty good reason to be apart from daughter Kendra: He never knew she existed.
Dan met Kendra when he was just still figuring himself out. (He says he suspected he might be gay, but “had never acted on it.”) He and Kendra’s mother were both just 19 when they slept together. It wasn’t until about two years later that he decided to come out.
He’s been in a committed relationship for 11 years, but says he wishes Kendra’s mom had told him she was pregnant. “I never knew about it, because I certainly would have been there to help her out had I known. But that was her decision.”
When host Chris Jacobs reveals that Kendra and her mother are estranged, Dan looks heartbroken.
“I’m really sorry to hear that she had that experience,” he says. “If she wants to talk about that with me, I’m all ears.” When Jacobs tells him Kendra has always put him on a pedestal and imagined him in a “shining light,” Dan gets a little misty-eyed. (Us, too.)
“I so wish I could have been there to help her through all that,” he says. “I would have been a knight in shining armor [to her]. I’m sorry that she went through that. But now I can be there for her. If she needs me, I’m here.”
As their meeting draws close, though, Dan also expresses some anxiousness: “I hope I can sort of live up to her expectations. But I’m not sure how she’s going to feel about me being a gay man… I’m going to put it in her hands. If she’s not comfortable with that and needs some time—that would be my only fear.”
Either way, he’s all in for building a relationship if Kendra wants one. “I never thought I would have this opportunity and I’m ready now. I don’t see any downside. It’s all positives. In spades.”
Dan and Kendra’s episode of Long Lost Family airs again Wednesday at 7pm and Thursday at 5pm on TLC. Visit TLC.com for more airdates.