Biographies & Memoirs

Journey to the Son


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Journey to the Son chronicles Carla A. Carlisle's eight-year battle to protect the child of her heart from enduring trauma caused by his birth mother, who herself suffers from prolonged physical, emotional and mental abuse. For years Carlisle appeared to have it all: a loving husband, a successful career, a beautiful house and two dogs. Privately, she longed to be a mother and struggled to have children due to infertility. Carlisle and her husband spent thousands on fertility treatments and several hope-filled weeks listening to a heartbeat until it stopped. Their numerous attempts grew exhausting and expensive then ultimately became futile. The quest to get pregnant ruined their four-year marriage and ended Carlisle's desire to give birth – but not her desire to be a mother. In 2010, Carlisle became a foster parent to a boy born two months prematurely. However, six months later a flawed system returned him to his mentally ill, drug-addicted birth mother. Carlisle knew this custody arrangement would endanger his life and set out to protect him at all costs.

“I have always wanted to be a mother.

I watched my niece and nephew grow up under the strong loving hand of my sister, reflected upon the guidance and support of my own mother and knew in my heart I wanted to be that for someone, someday. With my style, success, and a handsome husband at my side. Would I not in fact make a wonderful mother?

I knew the truth: I would.

Another truth: I couldn’t.

After losing the child I was so grateful to carry, my heart began to change.”

“Poised to join my weak and tired egg with my husband’s damaged sperm in my own body, I had doubts. I thought about the babies that needed arms to hold them; and I thought of my own arms: empty, despite the money, time, and effort spent to fill them. I could be a mother, I decided, to the motherless. And though my saddened heart, betrayed by my broken body, had indeed changed, my husband’s had not, and I was alone -- neither a wife nor a mother.

“Why don’t you foster,” my friend Claudia asked repeatedly since taking in her sister’s brood to raise as her own. I eyed her messy, complicated life as one walking in the shoes of another. Could I do what she had done? Could I raise a baby I had no claim or right to? Could I fully give my love to a child that may, at any moment, be snatched from me by a system that cares more about biology than people?

I could.

I did.”

“My son, my sweet little boy, came into the world humbly, delivered to me in a sack full of poison by his mother, Montaya, Montaya, “MawMaw,” as he would later come to call her, would for me represent everything that could be wrong with motherhood. She’ll forever be the woman that gave me my child. She will forever be the woman who tried her best to take him away.”

About the author

Carla is an author, speaker, and child and mental health advocate. She penned her memoir, Journey to the Son, to prompt discussions about the lasting, often perilous, impact of trauma many children suffer from adverse childhood experiences. view profile

Published on January 01, 2019

Published by

20000 words

Contains explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Biographies & Memoirs

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