By now, it’s no secret that the cast of TLC’s “Kate Plus 8” is missing one very important cast member — one of the sextuplets, Collin.

Kate Gosselin previously explained that Collin, who has special needs, was sent away to an institution that she said would help him thrive in life.

She explained to People in August 2016:

“Collin has special needs. [There’s] a fairly fluid diagnosis of what those needs are, but he needs to learn certain strategies to help him deal with things. This has been a struggle we’ve had for a very long time, and it’s one I’ve dealt with on my own. I’ve felt very alone in this. By the same token, it’s not something that has only impacted me or him — our entire family has been impacted.”

However, since revealing that Collin has not been living with his family since last year, Kate has rarely talked about Collin on the show.

Many of the “Kate Plus 8” fans have been vocal about Collin’s glaring absence during the show’s sixth season:

Now, all of that has changed.

Though Collin is still away learning “the skills he needs to be the best him he can be,” Kate did mention her son while celebrating the sextuplets’ 13th birthday.

During the season six finale of “Kate Plus 8,” the matriarch threw a “glamping” party for the girls and a camping party for the boys. After the girls enjoyed a spa session and the boys completed a scavenger hunt for food, they sat around two cakes to sing “Happy Birthday.”

That’s when Kate got nostalgic:

“The photos around the cake, I have them for every year, every child, every birthday. We always have the big birthday party and then at home on their birthday, we got them for every year. It’s definitely an iconic moment.”

She continued by discussing Collin’s absence:

“This year, much like last year, obviously the difference is that Collin wasn’t there. I am comforted with the fact that my kids — all of them, each a unique child — is receiving exactly what they need and that hasn’t changed. I said it before, I’ll say it again.

It’s a bittersweet moment, we’ve had many of them. You can’t do anything without realizing he’s missing and so we may not say it, but it’s always there.”

It’s still unknown when Collin will be reunited with his family, and Kate has not indicated how often he gets to see them. But it’s obvious that Kate firmly believes she is doing what is best for her son.

As the season comes to an end, the future of “Kate Plus 8” remains unknown. TLC’s vice president of production, Wendy Douglas, told MultiChannel News that there is nothing “formal” — such as a new season — to announce, adding that “there’s always an interest, but there’s a lot to take into account.”

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