For every person we met at Michael’s funeral, my son’s father David always introduced me as Michael’s mom. It was really the first time I felt like I was his mom.
And it’s bittersweet because it was also too late.
— Candace Cahill, birth mom, in Ep 204 of Adoption: The Long View —
↑ Listen right here! ↑
Candace Cahill placed her infant son in 1990. The adoption was semi-open adoption for awhile, but closed when Michael was 8. Shortly after he turned 18, he reached out to her. After navigating the complexities of reunion for 5 years and only a single face-to-face meeting, Michael died in his sleep of natural causes at age 23.
Shocked and devastated to lose him a second time, Candace attended the funeral, where she encountered unexpected compassion from Michael’s family. They proudly introduced her as Michael’s birth mother, which contradicted years of self-sabotaging internal messages. Their acceptance, along with her husband’s encouragement, launched Candace on her path to healing.
Candace is an artist –- silversmith, musician, storyteller, and writer who lives in Denali, Alaska.
Episode 204 of Adoption: The Long View will help you understand mothering in surprising ways, and you won’t want to miss it.
Candace Cahill’s Perspectives as a Birth Mom
Listen in as we talk about:
- Why she chose the parents she chose when planning her son’s adoption;
- Her way of dealing with a sense of powerlessness and despair when yearly letters and pictures stopped arriving;
- The backstory to why there were so many silent years;
- Her son’s death after their one-and-only meeting;
- As well as the surprise source of her healing at her son’s funeral;
- Which of the two kinds of gatekeepers her son’s father was; and
- Candace’s best advice for adopting well and for adoptive-parenting well.
David and the whole family held everything that was left of my son; they were my connection to him.
And for David, every time we saw each other, he could see Michael in me. We were the best connection to Michael through each other.
Prefer to read? Here’s a transcript (but listening is so much better!).
Show Notes from Episode 204 with Candace Cahill
Candace has written a memoir about her experience, and I’ve had the absolute pleasure of reading an advance copy. Goodbye Again, A Memoir reveals how child loss, no matter how suffered, is a universal pain. While she believes there can be beauty in adoption, we must first acknowledge that it begins with the trauma of severing a child from their mother.
- Website: candacecahill.com (memoir)
- Website: thomascahilldesigns.com/about (jewelry, silversmithing)
- Facebook: Candace Cahill
- Instagram: candace_cahill_
- Twitter: @candace_cahill_
- Mentioned: Episode 108 with Rebecca Vahle, “Do your work people!”
How to Tune In Regularly
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A new episode comes out the first Friday of the month. Thank you for sharing, subscribing, and rating this episode!
Lori Holden, mom of a teen son and a young adult daughter, writes from Denver. Her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, is available through your favorite online bookseller and makes a thoughtful anytime gift for the adoptive families in your life. Catch episodes of Adoption: The Long View wherever you get your podcasts.
Lori was honored as an Angel in Adoption® in 2018 by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.