CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Carla Carlisle has fought for custody of her adoptive son for nine years.
His biological mother was addicted to drugs and the boy went back and forth between the two for years.
“From the day that I met him and I saw those beautiful brown eyes,” Carlisle said. “There was no way I was going to give up.”
She agreed to foster the boy when he was ten days old while his birth mother was addicted to drugs, battling trauma and abuse.
“As I got to know his mother, I felt so sad for her because she didn't trust anyone,” Carlisle said. “The people who were supposed to take care of her hurt her, but they hurt her because they had probably been hurt as children, as well.”
She said that cycle continued with the child.
Within six months, the courts reunited the mother and son stripping Carlisle of any rights as his foster parent.
Six years ago, Carlisle agreed to help the boy's mother raise him.
“I contacted an attorney when I saw my son just really getting sick,” Carlisle said. “He also attempted suicide twice when he was 6.”
“Without some type of treatment, it typically carries on into adulthood, and without some type of support, it becomes a cycle,” Carlisle said.
Carlisle said she fought for emergency custody and won and later was granted full custody.
He is now 9 years old, and she said he has issues dealing with his behavioral health.
“There's a lot of conversation around stigma,” Carlisle said. “I didn't care about the stigma. I wanted my son to live.”
Channel 9 is committed to breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health and will offer real solutions.
Carlisle is hosting a community conversation focused on how to stop the cycle
She's partnered with local judges, doctors and mental health providers.
The event starts at 6 p.m. Thursday at Sage Restaurant in Charlotte.
Click here for information.
“Charlotte’s Hidden Crisis” airs at 8 p.m. on May 29.
We'll have stories of people who have overcome mental health challenges and connect viewers with potentially lifesaving resources.
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