So imagine being born 3 months early, your birth mother had planned on having you adopted, but because you have so many challenges, nobody wants you. Finally, at 13 months old, you are placed in a foster home with wonderful people. However, 8 years later, you are taken from them and put into a dysfunctional environment. Dean Clark has the most incredible story…
Hear Dean tell his story on the KKLA radio show.
I was born 3 months premature to an unwed mother in her Van Nuys apartment and weighed only 2.5 lbs. She had originally planned to give me away, but I was considered "unadoptable" due to a tumor in my windpipe. An emergency tracheotomy was performed so I could breath... but GOD had a plan!
My first 13 months we spent in a rehab hospital: Rancho Los Amigos. I was considered developmentally retarded and could not make any sound due to the tracheotomy. The doctors gave no hope for a normal life... but GOD had a Plan!
Terry & Pauline Clark decided to bring a foster child into their home ( along with their 3 kids). Miraculously, the day the social worker toured their home; they were baby-sitting the boy pictured on the right with braces. The sight of him in the yard prompted the social worker to ask if they wanted a handicapped child... me! Amazingly, I was the first of 10 special needs foster kids they would take in.
I went from very sick baby to healthy kid in around 7 years. Even though I had a tracheotomy tube in my throat, I somehow taught myself to speak in gasps by forcing air past the tube. The Clarks endured 14 surgeries with me and I was finally declared healthy. I was blessed to experience a safe Christian home and loving parents for 8 and a half years. My stay with the Clarks unfortunately would not last... but GOD had a Plan!
The Clarks had decided to adopt me and I thought my dream was finally to become reality. My bio-mom refused to sign away her parental rights and pulled me from the Clark's home when she discovered their plans. I moved from La Puente, CA to Sunland and lived with a family of strangers: My mother, stepfather, and my drug addict half brother.
As sad as this was for the Clarks and me... God had set into motion a series of Divine Appointments. During this time, I discovered art and would meet a number of friends that would change my life.
My new life was very different from the stable Clark house. I ended up living in 14 different places, had 3 step-dads, started on drugs at 12, and was arrested at 13 for dealing.
At 14, I lived in the same house as my dealer and was part of a stealing drug dealing group of kids. I survived to 15 and then moved to Hollywood. My new best friend in Hollywood was Chris Weber, founding member of Guns n' Roses ( GnR )... but GOD had a plan!
I now lived in the Hollywood Hills with my Mom and her new boyfriend. I met Chris Weber in 10th grade at Fairfax High School, home of famous rock bands like GnR, LA Guns, and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
I only lived in Hollywood for one year and finished 11th and 12th in a different city. In 12th grade, Chris picked me up and drove me to Hollywood to introduce me to his new brand: AXL, which would become Hollywood Rose and then GnR.
I grabbed my camera and took photos of Chris, Axl Rose ( singer ), and Izzy Stradlin ( guitarist ) in front of a billboard on Sunset Blvd that Izzy spray painted: "AXL Rocks".
Some of these photos are the earliest of the band and have been featured in many books and magazines included Rolling Stone.
After graduation, Chris called and said: "Dude, I scored a house, do you wanna move in?" I moved sight unseen into the GnR party house in the Hollywood Hills.
The house was the second home to Axl Rose, Izzy, and Steve Adler ( drummer... he slept on my couch! ). We also opened our doors to a colorful cast of druggies, groupies, and freaks of all kinds.
You can imagine my bad decisions during this time... but I was miraculously spared from serious drug addiction. I witnessed many close friends getting hooked on heroin.
It was devastating... thankfully, GOD still had a Plan.
During this time I worked at a luggage store at the corner of Hollywood & Vine. One Saturday, Rob Langer came in looking for a briefcase. Rob mentioned that he had just placed an ad for a "runner" at the CSUN Career Center.
This was a huge Divine Appointment: ( I had found this luggage job at CSUN Career Center ). I boldly ( stupidly? ) told him to cancel his ad because he just found his guy! Rob looked at me and said, " you're hired."
Crazy... I now worked in Commercial Real Estate and still had no idea what the job was... " runner?! "
My first day on the job was spent in a suit shop with my new boss buying me my first ( and only ) suit and tie. I became the Leasing Agent for the two high rise buildings at the corner of Hollywood & Vine. In 2 short weeks, I went from funky black clothes and spiked hair in a luggage store, to a suit and tie in an office with a secretary who looked like Whitney Houston.
My newfound business man appearance started to sober me up on the outside before I got sober on the inside.
After a year of well funded partying, I went to a movie called " Like Father, Like Son ". In the movie Dudley Moore ( dad ) and Kirk Cameron ( son ) switch places.
He like an adult in a suit on the outside but inside was an irresponsible 17 year old. I felt God saying to me, " that's YOU! " I had taken God's blessing of my brith and survival as well as this new career... and nearly destroyed both through reckless living.
I went home shortly after that and announced I was quitting my cigarette, cocaine, pot, and beer habits. Very soon after that, I came home to find my roommate moving out ( he owned everything in the house ). God knew I probably was not strong enough to stay clean on my own and used this incident to remove the temptation to party. I had no bed or furniture... but GOD had a Plan!
Out of the blue, a friend from my drug dealing years called and asked if I knew of a room for rent ( I was literally standing in an empty apartment ). He then said, he had one problem... He had a whole house FULL of furniture!
Surprisingly, my new roommate had turned has back on the drug scene and was the positive peer pressure I needed to stay clean. He eventually introduced me to the person that took me to church.
As a present to my mom on Mother's Day, I got dragged into a very large church. I was shocked to see normal and even " cool " people there. What really amazed me was that in a room of 3,000 people, the words of the pastor were speaking specifically to me and my circumstances.
I had achieved much of the success ( through real estate ) that the world said would fulfill me, but I was finally aware how truly empty and unfulfilled I was.
I appeared clean on the outside, but finally realized I was a sinner in need of a savior. After 4 weeks I made a decision and met with their counselor. I thought that God couldn't forgive me due to my dark past. The guy responded that God rescued him from serious sexual addiction and the Lord could forgive my past as well.
I grew up in a Christian home and heard a lot about Sin. I also heard repeatedly that you need Faith ( "I Believe" ) and need to Repent ( I'm Sorry" ) to be saved or have a personal relationship with the Lord.
Recently I found a clearer definition: Sin means missing God's target for you. Faith means putting your full weight on Christ. This is risky dependence and belief that will cost you something. Repentance does not just mean, "I'm sorry" but rather is a full 180 degree turn from my normal habits and behavior and a full desire to seek God's direction.
With the counselor, I prayed and proclaimed my belief that Christ died for my sins and rose again. I then asked Jesus to come into my heart and be my Savior and Lord ( meaning I would live for Him and seek His will for my life through His Word: The Bible ).
I admitted that I was a sinner and repented with a 180 degree turn. I then accepted Christ's forgiveness through Faith by putting my full weight on Him.
The Lord answered my prayer that day and my life began at that moment... but GOD still had Plans for me.
God even managed to use my Guns n' Roses past for His Plan. In 1989 GnR was the biggest band in the world and it led me to share this story for the first time.
Two years later, even though a committed Christian, I was continually haunted by the bad choices I had made. I feared being found out and mistakenly thought that Christians didn't continue to struggle like I was.
I finally talked to a friend and expected him to reject me. Instead, he shared a verse that set me free:
Romans 8:1, " Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of Life set me free from the law of sin and death."
The Lord opened my eyes to the fact that my past, present, and future sins were paid for ( forgiven ) by Christ's death and resurrection. I finally began to heal and several months later, after 2 years of no dating, my future wife Laura entered my life.
I feel the Lord waited for me to deal with these issues before putting me into a dating situation.1990
Ever since 9/11 and now with our current recession, the foundations that American's had placed their hope in have been shaken. NOW, I rest easier knowing I have a FIRM foundation ( my faith in Christ ) that can not be shaken even though the world around me crashes and burns.
My life before Christ was one of fear, self-loathing, greed, jealousy, and gossip. I still struggle in many areas but now I can see love, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self control.
Life in Christ is not easy or always happy... but I now have an inner hope, peace, and joy that comes from a personal relationship with GOD.
I want to challenge those reading this to pray for an openness in their heart to recognize GOD's Plan for them, their family, and their work. Do you have questions about God, the Bible, Church, Faith, or Sin? Are you hurt, angry, indifferent, or confused about God due to earlier life experiences? Please email me or visit a local Bible teaching church to help you sort out your questions or direct you to the answers you seek... GOD has a plan for YOU! Thank you for reading... I would love to hear from you.
- Dean Clark 661-644-8189 firstname.lastname@example.org