The Boy from Baby House 10: From the Nightmare of a Russian Orphanage to a New Life in America
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The Boy from Baby House 10: From the Nightmare of a Russian Orphanage to a New Life in America

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  398 ratings  ·  86 reviews
Aboy named“Vanya” wasbornin Russia with cerebral palsy andis abandoned by his mother.A British couple discoveredVanyaand vowed to save him. On the other side of the world,awoman inthe US found herself longing to save a child when she heard about Vanya through her church.One little boybroughtthem alltogether.The Boy From Baby House 10is thereal-life story of John Lahutsky,...more
Paperback, 312 pages
Published February 15th 2011 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published September 29th 2009)
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As an adoptive mom of a child who lived in a Russian orphanage, I was hoping to learn a lot about what goes on behind the scenes in Russian orphanages. I was not disappointed.

I truly appreciated this well-researched true story of the horrible things one child had to endure during his years in Russian orphanages. It helped me understand Russian attitudes towards abandoned children, what conditions are really like for children who must live in orphanages, and why so many children get caught in the...more
This is an astounding story. I appreciate how well-written it is. It would have been difficult to gracefully piece together such a story that involved so many in a severely disorganized setting. Philps made the book a page-turner and I could easily keep sorted the names and events.

I must admit I was clueless to this aspect of the fall of communism. I really had no idea. I've heard of babies in Romania who lay in cribs without stimulation, but the details and extent of Vanya's story brought it h...more
This was a heartbreaking and important book about a boy given to a Russian orphanage at a very young age. Diagnosed at birth with cerebral palsy, Vanya was considered ineducable and was left to languish in a single room in one of Moscow's baby houses (an orphanage for children under 5), never even going outside. He managed to teach himself to talk and longed for a connection with someone--anyone--but few connections were available.

The view of the baby house presented in this book and backed up...more
As the mom of a son adopted at age two from Russia this book touches my heart and mind in a way that will stick with me for all time. It is so sad, so appalling, so unbelievable that it goes on...I wish every one who could would adopt one child. I have gained much insight into what my son Sean has been through and it has helped me gain more empathy for some his his struggles.
Maria Brantly
This book is very hard for me to read. Very sad. I was in a bad orphanage in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. At almost 5 years old I was the size of a 1 year old and developmentally, how sad! I thank the Good Lord I don't remember it! So blessed to be here in America with my loving family!! :)
I've started this review three or four times and keep deleting it and starting over because none of my words seem sufficient to convey the power of this story. So here's take five...

Brace yourself before opening this book. It is emotionally devastating to read of the horrific conditions in which children were left unstimulated, practically alone, and shown no love or affection. It was even more difficult when I realized that at the beginning of the book Vanya is 6 (the age of my middle son) and...more
There is no way I could "like" this book, and thus I call it "okay." It's a decent narrative.

...very disturbing. The conditions in post-Soviet "social" institutions during the nineties were pretty much unspeakable. Recent times are not that much better, though a few places have received infusions of cash and equipment. But I have seen enough of hospitals in major Russian cities (for just one example) to know that things are still very bad indeed.

Is exporting every Russian orphan to America the a...more
This book was both gripping and difficult to read. The words in this review cannot do its content justice. I was impressed by the spirit of Vanya (Ivan), even as a little boy he retained his dignity in a world that seemed to strip him of every comfort, both physical and mental. His inner light shined through, and it was not lost on the many lives that he touched, even as a small boy. The reason why I gave this book only four stars was not because of the content, which is moving beyond words. I c...more
This is probably the most well-written true story I have ever read. Most true stories seem to be written without too much description relating to settings or character development. This book is different. It reads like fiction. And is true.

I am amazed at this boy's (John) inner strength and appalled at the status quo in Russia regarding care of its little children. I'm not just appalled because I read this book...I also lived in Russia in 1995 and some of the things that frustrated me back then...more
Emily Rose
Emily MacDougall
Book Review: The Boy From Baby House 10

The Boy From Baby House 10, by Alan Philips and John Lahutsky, follows the life of an inspiring young boy, afflicted with cerebral palsy, as he spends his childhood in a network of state institutions in Russia. Abandoned by his mother as an infant, this boy, called Vanya, had to spend his childhood in Baby House 10, an orphanage in Moscow. The Boy From Baby House 10 is the inspiring and true story of a boy who refused to lose hope, even in

This compelling book traced the life story including the countless heartwrenching life challenges that young John (Russian name, Vanya) faced during his first ten years of life. It traces his horrific mistreatment as he was bounced back and forth between a Russian orphanage, a Russian mental asylum (or internat), and a Russian hospital. Vanya ultimately through much work was placed with a Russian family in foster care before his permanent placement with an American woman who learned about him th...more
Truly an inspiring book. It tells the story of how one very determined little boy rises far above his terrible circumstances. I found it more amazing than sad. John (called Vanya in Russia) was handicapped at birth and abandoned by the time he was year. Sentenced to the Russian orphanage named Baby House #10 he was subjected to extreme neglect and mistreatment. As a result of that, he was labeled "a cretin" and sentenced to Filimonki mental asylum (called an internat) at age 5 or 6 and put on pe...more
My fear in reading this book was that the truth of Russian orphanages would be too horrible to learn. But the reviews had been so positive that I decided to tackle it anyway. Once started, I could not put it down. The true story of Vanya, born prematurely with disabilities, was heartwarming and heartwrenching at the same time. As a one year old, he was given up to the state orphanage and labeled an ineducable imbecile. Yet, in spite of his bleak surroundings, Vanya learned to talk and began to r...more
This book was difficult to read. It is the story of a young child in a Russian orphanage who was diagnosed as retarded, and the horrible conditions he was kept in, and his amazing journey from those inhuman conditions to his life in America with his adoptive mother. The courage and resilience of this child is astounding. The conditions described in this book would be illegal here in America--for DOGS. We'd prosecute anyone keeping animals in such conditions. It is unconscionable that anyone keep...more
Jo Cully
I would recommend this book to anyone who has adopted from Russia, experienced a Russian orphanage or is interested in these subjects. Although John Lahutsky was handicapped, and therefore, presumably saw some of the worst of the Russian system, reading this book confirmed some of the things that I suspected and experienced when we adopted our son in 2005. It also documents the system and the process as it was at that time.
Chelsie Lakeman
I can't imagine not wanting to adopt after reading a book such as this, it shows how much promise children have even if they've been cast off by those meant to care for them. I think the most amazing part of this book is that it all occurred in the 90s. It’s not a story of long ago orphanage horrors, it happened as I was growing up. While I was in elementary school being carefree, listening to the spice girls and playing with pogs Vanya was locked away in a crib naked and drugged. It is amazing...more
One of the saddest books I've ever read. At times you see things on tv about the Russian/Romanian orphanages and you never realize it is STILL like that. These kids are left to rot where their only way out if they don't (and it's not likely) get adopted, is the morgue. I'm sure Jon is doing remarkable now as he always has. Well written book, and had it not been for Sarah and Vike especially, he probably would have been left to rot like many of the other kids.
Chelsea Waterman
This book was so inspiring and the biggest eye-opener to me. I had heard of abuse such as this in other countries, but never in Russia. In fact, I could not put the book down as I was so hooked on making sure Vanya's guardian angel finally came. Part of this is the way the book was conducted, almost sometimes feeling like fiction.
I still find it hard to believe that this book is so recent especially as little Vanya (or John) was born in 1990. That the torture and conditions he experienced were a...more
Angela Mondragon
This book presents a heart-wrenching view of the cruelties that were considered commonplace in Russia concerning abandoned and otherwise handicapped children, as one young boy who was destined for a life of hell made himself known to a group of people who made it their work to help him escape what seemed to his fellow countrymen and caretakers as an inevitable fate. Heavy reading, a bit graphic with details of the treatment of these children, but inspiring and powerful. All my life I had conside...more
Heartbreaking story and shocking to know these atrocities happened when I was an adult and ignorant of what this. Not very well written, lots of typos, poor grammar, difficult to follow and the author often repeats events that confuses the reader. I felt as though the story jumped around too much and I would have liked to know more about his assimilation into American culture. I am also left wondering more about his present connect with his older brother and sister and how they fit into his life...more
Eye-opening first hand account of an imperfect, premature child's life in post-Communist Russia from 1991-2008. Appalling is the first word that comes to mind...
unbelievable nightmare this child went through. My heart goes out to all children born with a problem in Russia.
May 11, 2012 Shana rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves kids
This is an inspiring, amazing book about a little boy with nothing going for him but amazing resilience and inner strength. He has no family but people go out of their way to help him because it is clear that he is special. No matter what happens to him, he just won't give up. This is an amazing story about the triumph of the human spirit. Everyone can learn something form this book. This book says a lot about how children with disabilities are treated in some parts of the world and how they jus...more
This is an amazing true story of survival. It's jaw-dropping how the Russian system 'handled' any child with the slightest disability. You'd think this took place 100 years ago, although it's still terrible, but this book is current and Vanya was in that system only in the mid-late fact I'm not sure it's even changed much today.

Being the mother to a son adopted from Russia, I picked this one up as it is about a little boy who suffered HORRIBLE things during his first 9+ years of life living in the Russian orphanage system. The first night I read, I had to stop as I was crying my eyes out (this book hit a little close to home) and after that, I was just mad, and hoping for it to end alright. I do not recommend this book lightly, as it will make you cry/ maybe even physically ill at parts, but I am glad that I read it to...more
This is an unbelievable story - a true story of a young boy who survived the horrors of the Russian orphanages and an asylum in the 1990's, was identified as an imbecile, and was repeatedly deserted yet he somehow had the strength and self-will to persevere and was ultimately adopted by a single woman from Bethlehem, PA! A British reporter and his wife met this boy and kept in touch with him during the four years when he was assigned to work in Moscow. Ten years later the reporter decided to wri...more
Coming from someone who has a younger sibling with special needs, this story is absolutely heart-wrenching. Vanya, orphaned as a young child and diagnosed with cerebral palsy, undergoes inhumane torture and horribly unfair sabotage on his adoption from the Russian government. This book gave me much insight into what my sister has had to deal with, and what we will be rescuing her from. While it takes a strong heart and a strong stomach to read this book, I highly recommend it.
I bought this book because the boy lives in my state, and I know where this town is located. So, I guess you could say he was a neighbor of sorts. It also interested me to learn more about the Russian orphanages, and what this boy went through before he landed up in Pennsylvania. What an ordeal! That this boy, Vanya (now John), never gave up hope is a miracle in itself. I am so happy for him that he found a mother who truly "gave him a chance" at a real family life in America.
Is this really published in 2009? My mind wanted to make it be in the 30's or 40's. But no, this is modern-day Russia and the awful orphanages that exist there. The institutionalizing of children in Baby houses with almost no care and then transferred to adult asylums at 5 or 6 years. The bureaucracy of the whole situation will frustrate you. However. this is the wonderful story of a survivor who actually made it out of the system and now lives in Pennsylvania.
Dina Tanners
The book was fascinating...the boy Vanya/John was an amazing child, extremely bright living in horrific conditions in the former USSR where children with special needs were all lumped together in one category, often kept in one room, and given scant attention.

So many factors came together that enabled him to escape a short horrific prison-like life and come to the US to be adopted by an amazing woman who helped him develop his potential.
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