JOURNEY TO THE SON details a struggle so difficult, with cases so rare, that most mothers could never even dream of it happening to them. A successful career woman, from the outside Carla A. Carlisle appeared to have everything—she was beautiful and successful. But something was missing, something she wanted more than anything in the world: a child. After the end of her marriage and several unsuccessful attempts to conceive, Carla begins her life-altering quest to adopt through the foster care system. With the arrival of Devon, a beautiful baby boy, it feels as if her every prayer has been answered. Born to an unfit mother, with traces of drugs in his system, Devon was taken away from his family immediately.
The chances of Carla successfully adopting Devon are high, statistics firmly on her side—she is told that 99% of children taken from the mother at birth don’t go back. But, after caring for Devon as her child for months, the unthinkable happens: he gets taken away and placed back with his birth mother. It is every parent’s worst nightmare come true. For years, Carla sacrifices everything to remain a fixture in her son’s life, co-parenting with Devon’s destructive, abusive birth mother until it threatens to ruin both her and her son’s life. This memoir follows Carla’s tooth-and-nail fight to win back her son, provide him with the safe, loving environment that every child deserves, and piece her family back together in the face of every obstacle imaginable.
JOURNEY TO THE SON is short, and because of this, it tends to feel more like a summary than a fleshed-out memoir. Carla’s love for her son shines through strongly, but the reader barely gets to live through those important moments with her. The book skims over details that could have been more fully explored in order to paint a more complete picture, such as her first minutes as Devon’s mother, or those everyday moments with Devon that might have pulled the reader in further, allowing us to feel their bond and their pain and to further sympathize with their struggles. The story jumps years ahead with little warning, providing flashes rather than the full emotional journey.
Although at times short on details, Carla A. Carlisle’s JOURNEY TO THE SON is a rare, compelling memoir that successfully hits notes of poignancy and heartbreak and packs an emotional punch, proving that there is very little that can go up against the fierce power of a mother’s love.
~Chloe Rabinowitz for IndieReader