I recently delivered the keynote for about 3000 wonderful people. Their last speaker was General Colin Powell so you know I had to step up my game and rock the house! Someone asked me if I had forgiven my mom for abandoning me. The answer is yes … although I do not have a relationship with her. I was able to forgive my mother when I consciously and spiritually chose to do so by releasing all of my bitterness, anger and resentment that I had towards her. It also helped that I had created my own family which brought significance to my life. If you have not had the chance to see my presentation “live”, please take a moment and watch as this video is a good substitute. Please feel free to share this YouTube video with others that you feel need to be inspired. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqb2298gS70
My recent birthday thoughts…..
As a motivational speaker, I am out on the road quite a bit. This year I celebrated my birthday while on the speaking circuit. Once again I did not receive a call from my bio mom … but I did receive a call from beautiful wife, children, my in-laws and my foster mom and dad (whom I consider my mom and dad) They sang happy birthday in their off pitch voices and we had a good laugh. It was a great feeling knowing that I had not been forgotten. I took some time to reflect upon my birth and the crazy life that I have lived. A part of me cannot help but think that my mother must live with a ton of guilt knowing that she gave me up and kept my brother and sister.
Although I will always have the memory of when my mother abandoned me, I want to let you know that I am now healed. I am a stronger person because of it. It was a very difficult time in my life. Here I was, a child desperate for love and affection, a scared little boy who was getting ready for what would be the longest ride of his life. I can’t say I remember the drive to the orphanage, or the place where kids were stored, but I do remember not bringing along any toys. I remember the sun being out and the sky being blue. The day was pleasant, warm, and peaceful, in stark contrast to the foreboding anxieties that were raging inside me. I didn’t know where I was being taken, only that this day would likely be the darkest of my life. The “longest ride” eventually ended at a place I considered an orphanage. It was a big building with lots of space and rooms. I figured it was an orphanage because all I saw were homeless and unloved kids. Kids who were no longer wanted by their Moms and Dads. I could see the sadness and fear in their eyes, and imagined that same fear must be showing in mine. We were now disposable, kids who could be thrown away or tossed overboard, never to be loved or comforted by our parents again.
Seriously, who would have cared if we were drowned or burned to death? At this point, it was already like we were being buried alive. We were being killed, suffocated, by lack of love. We were now the county’s worry, pain and nightmare. My parents had given up! They were weak, and now I had to somehow become strong and survive.
I was the son, paying the price for all of her bad choices. She could have at least said, “Well, take care Derek, I love you.” Or how about just a few basic words of tenderness and encouragement? “You will make it through this Derek.” Even something negative, critical, or hurtful would have been better than nothing: “I blame you for all of this,” or “Derek, I hate you for what you have become,” or “Derek, you forced me to do this, I blame you!” But NO, nothing was said, and the indifferent silence was more painful than any words could have been, no matter how angry or loveless.
I guess it wasn’t like she was wishing me well as I went off to college. I’m sure she quickly got rid of me in order to avoid the emotional impact of her actions, of seeing herself throwing away her own blood, her selfish desire to choose her husband over me, her son. But as her blood son, I probably reminded her of past mistakes, of the regretful choice she made to start a romantic relationship with my biological father.
After she dropped me off, my little life as a boy who nobody could or would love began. At this time, I wasn’t even able to love this little boy. Plagued with insecurities and doubts about my self-worth, I was now going to have to make a home here in hell. I was left alone with all the bigger boys, who just stared at me like wolves salivating at their thoughts of feasting on a weak, vulnerable little lamb. I was the proverbial sheep being lead to the slaughter. I remember thinking that my Mom would of course be coming back for me. I could care less about my stepfather, but I trusted that my mother’s love would override whatever other concerns she had. cried from loneliness and fear.
We slept in what appeared to me like a giant classroom with a bunch of beds placed in it. It was some kind of enormous warehouse for storing kids. I remember hearing lots of crying in the middle of the night, puncturing through the silence. Other kids were missing their moms and dads, brother and sisters. Where were mine? I wondered why my brother and sister got to stay with our mother and I was stuck here in this sad, terrible place. Why was I rejected and deleted from the family? Why was I thrown away like a piece of garbage? Why couldn’t I just be a normal kid that had a family? Why didn’t anyone love me?
I learned at an early age that I was not going to be paralyzed by a pitiful past. I learned that I could take responsibility for the direction of my life and not let my parents mistakes define my life. I have the chance to define my own life and break the cycle. What I thought was a curse in my life became one of my greatest blessings. I now live a very blessed life with my smart and beautiful wife of 17 years and my awesome 4 children. I am truly blessed!
If you know of anyone planning a conference or training seminar, please share my information with them. A Big Thank You to the several individuals who have already contacted me regarding speaking at your events. I appreciate it and look forward to meeting you!
Never Give Up!
Derek Clark, Motivational Speaker, Author and Singer/Songwriter
P.S. I have a brand new website that you are going to love. Please take a moment and visit www.FosterCareSuccess.com