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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  ·  Rating Details ·  617 Ratings  ·  102 Reviews

A boy named“Vanya†was born in Russia with cerebral palsy and is abandoned by his mother.  A British couple discovered Vanya and vowed to save him.  On the other side of the world, a woman in the US found herself longing to save a child when she heard about Vanya through her church. One little boy brought them all together.  The Boy From Baby House 10

Paperback, 312 pages
Published February 15th 2011 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published September 29th 2009)
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Sandra Heinzman
As a mother of adopted children, I was actually shocked to read of the horrific conditions Vanya endured in Russia, after the time I had adopted my children. How could things like these happen in the 1990's? This is a book about hope and resilience and happy endings for some, but it was a very emotionally heavy story. I read it in one sitting as I could not put it down. I was recently in Russia this summer (Murmansk) and was dismayed at the horrible conditions there, in this age; and to realize ...more
Aug 19, 2012 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, adoption
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
Maria Brantly
Feb 07, 2013 Maria Brantly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!! :)
Sep 13, 2011 Heidi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 11, 2010 AnnaMay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 14, 2010 Jane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 12, 2009 Kathy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this book. Im having a really hard time finishing it. It seems to be more of a listing of what happens without really getting into the emotions or lives of the characters. I would have liked it better if it was written as a novel...I will try to finish.
Dec 31, 2014 Holly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
very good book. don't want to spoil it for anyone so i won't say too much but some of the things in this book are so hard to imagine yet they really happened.
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
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

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
Dec 28, 2009 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Mar 28, 2011 Debbi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 24, 2015 Booksaddicted rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Non so bene come sviluppare una recensione,ma ci proverò. Cinque stelle meritate per l'emotività della storia. Un racconto senza dubbio estremamente toccante,angoscioso e profondo. Rende partecipi di tutte le vicissitudini del povero Vanja,tanto che ad un certo punto mi è parso di trovarmi a Mosca,negli anni '90. Ogni parola,ogni frase,ogni capitolo trasmettono un'emozione diversa,direi soprattutto un senso di rabbia profonda e di grande angoscia,che tiene con il fiato sul collo fino all'ultima ...more
Apr 15, 2011 Bridget rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 13, 2009 Laurie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
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
Feb 25, 2010 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: around-the-world
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
Mar 27, 2016 caicue rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
poorly written and biased.

the author consistently made out that him and his wife, sarah, a key character were victims in the narrative and that adela, the head doctor with a communist mindset was to blame for everything. if you're going to blame anyone, it's the system and lack of education.

page 104: "months had been wasted because of adela's passivity"

for example, in this particular incident sarah is just as much to blame as adela for waiting months to gather the courage to even see vanya.

I un
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
May 11, 2012 Shana rated it it was amazing  ·  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
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
Jun 22, 2011 Sherry rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
May 05, 2011 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 17, 2010 Staciel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
Apr 29, 2015 Cassandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adoption
Review to come. I cried. Again.

"Vanya, what would you wish for most of all?"
"You say first."
"No, you."
"No, you."
The two children fell silent. There were some thoughts that were too painful to share. In the hospital they had seen that they were not like other children. They were different. Other children had one special person, a person who brought them food that tasted so good, a person who comforted them when they lay in pain after operations, a person who took them to pee whenever they needed
Mar 29, 2011 Magda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Very wow. The horrific story is told well, being empathetic while matter-of-fact. This young man showed phenomenal strength and patience from a very young age.

I was also blown away to realize that he and his mother are parishioners at Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick's church in Emmaus, Pennsylvania. It really brought this story close to home.

Very moving book. I think I cried for sorrow and for joy both.
Esther Bradley-detally
Dec 26, 2009 Esther Bradley-detally rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Esther by: found it at library under "new"
Compelling, compelling, compelling. Horrific but a must read. If anyone doubts man's capacity to be inhumane, the doubts would be removed by this book. But this young boy triumphs along with all who helped him. Having lived in Russia, we were not aware of this, but saw horrible things, children surviving by just living on trains and more. We have our work cut out for us to make the world a better place.
Jo Cully
Aug 16, 2014 Jo Cully rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
This an amazing story, but I don't think it's told very well. I would probably give it a 5/10. This book feels way too long, like the story could have been told in way fewer words.There are way too many details that don't really matter to me as a reader. Also, maybe because it's written by a journalist, its just a record of what happened. Perhaps that's why it feels too long as well. Again, amazing story of persistence and survival, but wasn't really a pleasure to read.
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