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Saturday, November 27, 2021

Woman finds long-lost dad after 42 years thanks to DNA

A woman, who did an ancestry DNA test, has found her long-lost dad after 42 years.

Kelly Pinkney had done the test to find out about her ancestry, but was shocked to find a first cousin who led her to her dad.

After tracking him down, she met up with her dad, Saeed Sotoudeh, for the first time earlier this year.

She had been conceived in a short fling and was taken into the care system as a young child.

Kelly, 41, is now forging a relationship with her dad who she was never able to find as her mum did not remember his name.

She said: “It’s such an amazing feeling knowing who I am for the first time.

“When I look in the mirror I look at myself in a different way than I did before. I feel complete. I feel like I belong now.”

Kelly was born in September 1980 and was conceived the Christmas before in a one night stand in a London hotel room.

She was raised by her single mum but grew up moving between foster homes before settling with a family for four years.

She describes herself as a “sad” and “unhappy” child who started to run away.

As she was reaching her pre-teens, she began questioning her identity, as she was dark-haired and dark-skinned with brown eyes despite her mum’s family being fair.

Kelly said: “I got bullied at school because further north there were no black people, no brown people.

“I’m not even that dark, but I was the darkest kid in the school, the only kid that was brown, everyone else was white.

“My colour became a thing for me. That was really hard as I was in a children’s home so I was different anyway, I didn’t have a family and I was also different because I had colour and no-one else did.

“If I was white, no-one would ever have questioned me.”

She moved back in with her mum aged ten and began asking her about her dad, but her mum could not give her a definite answer and said she thought he as Egyptian or Arabic.

“Mum didn’t know she was pregnant until eight or ten weeks,” Kelly added.

“She said people said ‘Are you going to get rid of it?’ as there was no father and back in those days it wasn’t the done thing to be having a baby outside marriage.

“She was adamant she loved me and was keeping me.”

Then two years ago, she looked into doing a DNA test after a friend told her she had done one with California-based 23&Me.

At the time, the test was £150 and Kelly couldn’t afford it, but a few months later she bought one on sale for £99.

Five weeks after sending a saliva sample. she received the results that said she was 50% Persian from Iran and that she had a first cousin on the site.

Kelly reached out to the man and explained her story, and the cousin told her that his mum had six brother, meaning that one would be her dad.

Two had died, two lived in the US and others hadn’t been in London in the late 1970s, but he agreed to speak to his mum.

“I didn’t want to cause any trouble but then again I was so excited about this discovery,” Kelly said.

“But he rang me back and instantly his tone had changed.

“He said there was a mistake and his mother and grandmother said it wasn’t possible as the family hadn’t come to the UK until the late 1980s. He thought the company had made a mistake.

“He wished me good luck and then cut me off. But I knew the DNA couldn’t be wrong so I started doing my own research – I was literally like an FBI agent.”

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