Survival Leads to Discovery, Redemption

            He’s a grown man now, a man who has survived torture and torment, grief from immeasurable losses, disappointments and finally discovery that led to redemption of his true self. But that kind of transformation doesn’t come free of charge. It takes a great deal of acceptance and forgiveness, qualities that are found in vast quantities in this man – Derek DeCosta.

            DeCosta, author and entrepreneur, is now pursuing another passion, possibly the most important one for himself and others, to share his journey so that others may make their own discoveries, find their own redemption from their living hells. DeCosta is gaining momentum as a motivational speaker.

            Since 2014, when a local print shop helped DeCosta produce and distribute 100 copies of “The Moonlight King” primarily to book clubs, much has been written of the author’s passage from his comfortable home in Korea with an intact family to his parents’ divorce, which for him and his sister meant being given away to an orphanage.

            Seven years later, the book has been officially printed and released by Gatekeeper Press, a publisher just outside Columbus, Ohio. In 2021, many more are reading DeCosta’s compelling story.

            As he tells it, divorce in Korea was so heinous, so shameful, that all evidence including any children produced from the marriage needed to be erased. Thus DeCosta and his sister, just small children at that time, would ultimately find themselves being placed in a tragically hostile home on Cape Cod, where abuse of every conceivable type rained down on these innocent beings for years.

            He would come to realize there were only two choices: Sink into total despair and failure or rise above and fly away to discover who he could be. He would eventually choose the latter.

            On December 1, DeCosta spoke to a supportive audience both in person and via Zoom, one of a growing number of local authors that the Mattapoisett Library has hosted as part of its local author series.

            DeCosta said that the years of abuse could have created in him a person who would take a dark path, but “ultimately I choose redemption.”

            His redemption would be a complete mind, body and soul makeover. “In spite of the trauma,” he said, “the horror of living with evil, I found I could save myself through reflection and healthy goals.” The author fully believes that taking good care of one’s body must be part of the program for a healthy lifestyle, and thus it has become a big part of how he spends his time, helping others to strengthen their bodies.

            DeCosta said he wasn’t out to make money off the sale of his book but instead wished to use it as a springboard by which he can reach as many people as possible with his story and the tools needed to free them of negative forces.

            “Change how you think about yourself,” was one bit of advice DeCosta shared. “You become what you believe, what your surround yourself with.” He credits the good people he eventually found with helping to shape the belief system he now promotes for himself and others. A major takeaway was a rather simple but oftentimes overlooked reality. “Your happiness is your responsibility,” DeCosta asserted.

            Throughout his hour-long presentation, DeCosta shared tattered pieces of his time living with his adoptive parents, a time when he believed his mother surely must have been looking for him. The images that those memories conjure up demonstrate the bravery, shear strength of will it takes to overcome devastation. DeCosta knows he’ll spend a lifetime recovering from what others did to him, but he refuses to define who he has become or rob himself the joy that life offers, including love.

            DeCosta told of being reunited with his mother after she had come to America. The little boy in his soul imaged a warm reunion. What he found instead was a woman with her own demons, unable to be a mother and lacking the insight or desire to become one. “She was just a very immature person,” he said. DeCosta had to accept a second rejection and the reality she had not been looking for him.

            Many elements from many philosophies whose core is “the power of positive thinking,” a process first introduced by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, are part of DeCosta’s message today. He talked about the Kaizen method of continuous improvement and the wheel of happiness, a system for gauging how satisfied you are with the use of your time.

            In the current release of his book, DeCosta has added some concrete guidance for those just beginning their journey of discovery and redemption. He wrote of finding and “drafting” likeminded people to help, cutting off toxic relationships, having the strength to walk alone, staying humble and taking “massive” action. The end of the book contains other positive guidance tools.

            The Moonlight King is assuredly a story of survival and redemption, but it is also a story that will continue to be written throughout DeCosta’s life, for the journey of continuous improvement doesn’t have a finish line.

            To learn more about The Moonlight King and Derek DeCosta, visit

By Marilou Newell

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