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Publisher Description

A heart-rending but uplifting story of the human spirit’s ability to prevail.

From the day he is five-years-old and dropped off at his foster home of the next eleven years, Stephen is mentally and physically tortured. No one in the system can help him. No one can tell him if he has a family. No one can tell him why, with obvious African-American features, he has the last name of Klakowicz.

Along the way, a single faint light comes only from a neighbor’s small acts of kindness and caring—and a box of books. From one of those books he learns that he has to fight in any way he can—for victory is in the battle. His victory is to excel in school.

Against all odds, the author succeeded. He attended college, graduated, became a successful corporate executive, and married a wonderful woman with whom he established a loving family of his own. Through it, he dug voraciously through records and files and found his history, his birth family—and the ultimate disappointment as some family members embrace him, but others reject him.

Readers won’t be the same after reading this powerful story. They will share in the hurts and despair but also in the triumph against daunting obstacles. They will share this story with their family, with their friends, with their neighbors.

Biographies & Memoirs
January 9
Thomas Nelson

Customer Reviews

Nicole Alivia ,

So amazing

One of the best books I’ve read. I can’t even believe what he endured through his childhood and the fact he overcame is simply amazing . I would recommend this book to anyone .

Rozebramay ,

Powerful story, tragic yet filled with hope

This story speaks of a child whose path to success was steep, dark and full of dangers. That he excelled in spite of active efforts to break his spirit by people chosen to protect and guide him. Having worked for a state agency that dealt with this sort of abuse, I know that his was not a unique situation. And it hurts to read case files that indicate that, in hindsight, case workers have not responded appropriately to such situations. That said, they do care deeply and are often bound by legalities that are in place to protect caregivers as well as the children, and by the shortage of placement options for these children.
The book is beautifully written, and the author’s story will benefit children at risk, as he was, to understand that their struggles are not unique, and benefit the people who work in that government system by pointing out the ways malevolent caregivers operate. Hopefully, it will also encourage people with good hearts to step forward and risk bringing in a child who needs protection, guidance and a reason to hope for a better future. For all of us on the periphery, we need to be mindful of listening to children, sharing something of ourselves when possible. Our contribution may seem small to us, but it may provide the one spark of hope they need to keep moving in the direction of their dreams.

D.J.Young ,


When I read this book, it gave me hope. I got the chance to meet Steve during an internship I had years ago and his story stuck with me throughout life. The obstacles he faced made me compare myself to him and fight even harder for what I believe in. I personally want to thank him for creating this book and telling his story.