By Carla A. Carlisle & Ashley Eiland

Journey to the Son

Nonfiction Memoir | 146 Pages | Hardcover | ISBN: 978-1543971866

Journey to the Son is an emotionally riveting memoir that chronicles a woman’s eight-year battle with the system for the child she loves, who suffers from prolonged trauma caused by his birth mother, a victim herself of perpetual physical, emotional, and mental abuse.

Carla shares her painful, yet rewarding journey of motherhood to prompt discussions about trauma and its impact on children, who are placed in unsafe living conditions. Carla is partnering with private and public stakeholders to lead a movement that focuses on protecting children, like her son, by providing them safe and healthy environments to live in – what every child deserves.

“It’s alright to tell a man to lift himself by his own bootstraps, but it is cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps.”

–  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Carla A. Carlisle is a divorced African-American corporate executive who longs to be a mother after struggling with infertility for more than five years. She becomes a foster parent and takes in 10-day-old Devon, born two months prematurely to a mentally ill, drug-addicted mother, who suffers from untreated childhood trauma. Six months later the system gives Devon to his birth mother. Carla must decide to either give up or fight for her son.


The car isn’t safe. I’m not safe. I’m not safe. It’s the first time I’ve really let the thought sink into my brain. Every day that I’m with these people I am putting myself and my child in danger. I am not safe. I can’t help the tears that find their way down my cheeks. The anger, humiliation, and fear associated with being slapped like a child in front of my son digs into my soul with heat, with shame. No wonder he didn’t respect me. Through my passivity, I’d taught him that love and compassion were weaknesses easily slapped down by the person with the loudest voice. “He didn’t see nothing, Ms. Carla,” Montaya insisted as I unsnapped my seatbelt, fumbling with the door handle, needing to get out of the car.

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Praise for the book:


I can relate to your story on so many levels. I guess that’s why it was so hard to put it down last night. I’m getting ready to eat my dinner, put on my pajamas, and go at it again. It’s refreshing to read a story free from embellishments. I’m sure your story will touch many.

– Pat G.


A MUST READ! What a Mother would do for her child!!!

This book is extremely well written with incredible use of metaphorical description. More importantly, this story is powerful, honest, and moving. You will be inspired throughout. Thank you for sharing this AWESOME love story.

– Amazon Reader


Perseverance is the key.

This was a great read. She accomplished her long time goal through her love and determination. Hopefully this story can help pave the way for many others to come

– Amazon Reader


Parenthood requires Love not DNA

This is a must read. Sometimes we take things for granted even childbirth. I’m guilt after have two beautiful daughters with no problems. After reading Carla’s story I realize some of the pain my sister Carol felt she too couldn’t bear kids. God rest her soul. Thank you for sharing your story Carla and May God continue to Bless you and Devon with a wonderful, fun, loving life together.

– Amazon Reader


An authentic, amazing, courageous and passionate person. Buy her book so that you can find something in her story for you.

– Alice Schulte

Author / Speaker / Mother / Advocate

Carla A. Carlisle

Carla A. Carlisle is an author, speaker, and child and mental health advocate. She started her activism as a result of her eight-year battle to save her son from further trauma.

Speaking Topics:

  • Foster Care and Adoption
  • Social Justice
  • Trauma Informed (Generational Trauma)
  • Path to Resiliency
  • Culture

Carla Carlisle is a contributing author to a new book

As a member of the Charlotte Writing Bootcamp led by Glenn Proctor (Pulitzer Prize winning journalist), Carla is a contributor to a new book based on the crisis called the pandemic. To be released in November 2020. 

TEDx Charlotte chooses Carla Carlisle to be a speaker

Carla will present at TEDx Charlotte. Read more about it here:

Speak up & inspire features Carla Carlisle as a guest

Carla Carlisle as a featured guest  on Speak Up & Inspire Podcast.

Carla Carlisle’s blog post is featured on

Carla Carlisle's blog post is featured for

Carla Carlisle writes guest blog on

Carla Carlisle writes a guest blog on

Interview with Gwendolyn Glenn on WFAE

 interview with Gwendolyn Glenn on WFAE (local NPR station) about Journey to the Son.  Watch the interview:

Carla Carlisle featured as Spectrum News Local Hero

Carla Carlisle - Spectrum News Local Hero Feature.  View the feature here:

The Project interview with Carla Carlisle

The Project with Steve Rutherford” is a LIVE Streaming Podcast Show with guest discussing various topics and The PROJECT is the first podcast show in the SQAIR Media Network. Carla Carlisle was the featured guest from this episode.

Carla A. Carlisle featured in Compass and Light documentary

My son and I were one of three stories featured in the PTSD/Trauma) video in a Documentary series on mental health. Compass and Light: A Series on Mental Health - Silent Images (PTSD/Trauma film) Watch the trailer.

Co-Author / Mother

Ashley Eiland

Ashley Eiland is a mother and high school English teacher located in Auburn, Alabama. While reading will always be her first love, writing is her passion. Ashley loves helping others bring their stories to life.

Upcoming Events

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For speaking and media inquiries or to share your story, reach out via social media or please complete our form below:

Contact Carla

Connect via social media @CarlaACarlisle


10 + 10 =


Here are some resources that have been found helpful in North Carolina. There are many others; these are some Carla has learned from and grown with.

Justice Initiatives:

Mental Health America
of Central Carolinas:

Atrium Behavioral Health:

Living Waters FA:

Harris Consulting & Counseling:

Alexander Youth Network:

Adoption Matters:

Nick Cushing / Tom Bush Law Group:

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare:


Thompson Family Focus:

Family Preservation Services

The Males Place:

The Meck / MecKidz:

Council for Children’s Rights:

Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapists

Trauma Informed Training:

Some available resources for Resource Parents

Rowan County DSS:​

Mecklenburg County DSS:

Project 658:​​

Books to help children with behaviors and feelings:​

Julia Cook’s Books for Kids:

Ty Allan Jackson’s Books for Kids: