May 19th, 2011
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SCAN0007-e1286292271937-300x193Forgive me for my book report like post today.  I always hated writing book reports in school.  I never quite understood the need for them.  I read the book…it was good or bad…what else did they really need to know?

Anyway, this book report is about a book I think all parents adopting from Russia should read.  The Boy from Baby House 10, by Alan Philps and John Lahutsky.

The story is about Vanya, a young Russian boy, who by the grace of God and his own perseverance somehow managed to survive years living in a baby house, then a mental asylum, overcoming physical adversities, and then beating the Russian bureaucracy to find a home in the United States.


This story was particularly poignant to me because having been to Moscow and to a baby house, the descriptions of the caretakers, the doctors, and the living conditions made me feel like it was 1999 again and I was visiting Elle for the first time.

In Russia, a baby house is an orphanage.  Elle was born in a hospital and at one month old, she was transported to a baby house where she lived until I adopted her.  The children’s ages ranged from infancy to three or four years old.  When I asked what happened to the children that weren’t adopted, I was told they went on to a children’s home and the chance for adoption became almost impossible.

As I learned from reading The Boy from Baby House 10, if it became impossible for a child to be adopted after a certain age, if that child was handicapped, the odds go from almost impossible to never going to happen.

These were the odds against Vanya.  He was older, handicapped, and was labeled an imbecile and uneducable.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  He had a spirit and determination to learn how to speak in a world of silence, and when he was confined to an iron barred crib in a mental asylum, he never let go of the possibility that someone would help him, love him, and give him a home.

This book is about the miracle of a small group of people working together to give Vanya the chance of a real life.

I will admit this was a tough read for me.  Reading about the children that didn’t get adopted and what happened to them when they were written off was extremely difficult.  Elle has voiced an interest in reading the book, and I think she should.  She needs to understand where she came from and how lucky she was to be adopted.  One day soon, she will be ready.

The Boy from Baby House 10 is a must read for Russian adoptive parents, and frankly for any adoptive parent, because it does highlight the adversities our children face, and how with love and a lot of luck, these special children can shine.

Photo Credit. LanitaM

One Response to “The Boy From Baby House 10”

  1. My husband and I are just starting the adoption process of a disabled little boy, who just turned four years old. He’s facing institional time if we don’t rescue him quickly – as of now, he’s in a hospital recovering from surgery, thank the stars. There is nothing wrong with him, psychologically speaking, his legs just aren’t cooperating with him! We are already parents to a disabled child (biological) and have no fear of what he presents with. Compared to our son, he’s a cake walk. I am so hopeful that we can raise the funds to adopt him – and that hiccups from our past will not interfere with his adoption. I’m afraid to read this book – it’s going to make me even more worried than I already am, but I am so glad that you have brought it to readers’ attentions. Perhaps by doing so, you have spared some other children from a doomed life….

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