Friday, May 31, 2013

The Boy From Baby House 10

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The Boy From Baby House 10 is one of those books that you love reading because the story is so well told, it's also one of those books that you cannot say you loved because the story is nothing short of horrific.  And more so because it is true.

His name was Vanya back then ... when he was an orphan in Russia.  His name now ... John Luhutsky.

I love what the inside cover says about this book ... "The Boy From Baby House 10 is a harrowing but ultimately uplifting story - proof that people seemingly without power can challenge and beat a cruel system."  

Vanya was completely and utterly helpless ... born prematurely and with cerebral palsy he was mistakenly diagnosed as mentally handicapped, abandoned by his alcoholic birth mother at 18 months old, left in a cot to do nothing for the next three or four years of his life, after which his situation just worsened.  He was all but ignored except for a very few people who had minimal contact with him and eventually were instrumental in helping him escape ...  His life was full of neglect, confusion and abuse at the hands of people who were supposed to be medical professionals and his carers  BUT ... and this is the part that I love ... he never gave up.  No one taught him not to give up.  He just didn't.  He seemed to have been born with an uncrushable spirit.
And a gift ... 

A gift his friend Vika describes like this: "Vanya has an amazing and rare gift that saved his life - the gift of connecting with people.  He immediately remembers your name and knows how to talk to you.  Talking to him is a treat for the soul." 

He taught himself, and others, how to talk.  He reached out at any opportunity, longing for human contact.  He chose to hold onto and think about the few good moments and human interactions he had experienced during the long hours that he was left to do nothing. 

This is a recent story.  John was born in 1990.  I wondered after I read the book if there was more info on him on line.  There is.  Last night I sat for just under two hours watching video footage of him telling his story ... Part 1 ... Part 2.  And also the story as it was shared on Dateline, with footage from the actual baby house and mental asylum where he was kept.

The story is difficult to hear, but not even a fragment as difficult as it would have been to live. 

It's a story that gives me hope.

It's a story worth reading ...

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