"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Our Eyes Opened, Part 1

“Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act.” -Proverbs 24:12

Last year I was able to share with you a little bit about what finally spurred me into action regarding the orphan crisis, especially related to special needs children living in foreign countries.  I had been following bits and pieces on the issue for about 8 or 9 months, but it took something that truly horrified me, to finally get me motivated to do something about it.

I was frequenting one of my many Reece’s Rainbow affiliated blogs, and one of them suggested I read a book called “The Boy from Baby House 10: From the Nightmare of a Russian Orphanage to a New Life in America”.


I immediately downloaded it and stayed up until the wee hours of the morning finishing it… I hadn’t done that with a book in a very long time.

If anyone of my readers would like a copy of “The Boy From Baby House 10”, I will happily send you a copy for FREE. Just email me your address at slwann@gmail.com!

This book is the true story of a little boy named Vanya, now John Lahutsky, a cognitively normal little boy with mild cerebral palsy, who was grossly misdiagnosed in the immediate post Soviet-era Russia. As is still the practice today – once Vanya aged out of the baby house at the age of 6 years old, sometimes it happens to children as young as 4, he was sent an adult mental institution, and worse, because of his cerebral palsy, he was sentenced to one of the dreaded “Laying Down Rooms”, where children are seldom taken out of their cribs.

To read about the day Vanya was dropped off, please click HERE.

Today I would like to share with you about the day he was visited by his beloved friend, Vika, a girl who used to care for him at the baby house.

First it was the smell that hit me. It was like a stable, and it nearly knocked me over.  It was a bare room full of cribs. I suppose I had expected to hear ‘Vika, Vika,’ Vanya’s glad cry of welcome. But as I scanned the cribs I could see no sign of a boy with curly hair and a happy smile. All I could see was children in torment – rows and rows of them. Some were lying down immobile, and others were rocking from side to side. Some were banging their heads against the sides of their cribs, and others were tied up in straight jackets with their naked bottoms in the air.

In shock, Vika looked around for a caregiver or even a cleaner to point Vanya out. There was no adult in the room. Ilya indicated the far corner of the room. She forced her way between the cribs, all her senses alert for the signs of the boy she had known. Then, on a bare mattress, with a pool of urine on one end, she saw a boy kneeling and swaying quietly backward and forward. His head was shaved and he was wearing only a T-shirt. He slowly lifted his head to look at her and his vacant features broke into a feeble smile of recognition.

As I wrote last year, John was never held or cuddled or talked to by anyone who worked at the asylum.  He was drugged so that he would always sleep and not be a problem. He was only taken out of the crib to be changed and fed. He was left for hours naked or half naked, freezing, lying in his own filth.  He was slowly losing his ability to talk, to chew food, to do any of the previous things that he had been able to do. 

Eventually by the grace of God, Vanya was removed from the adult mental asylum.  However he would have been returned had he not been finally adopted by a single woman living in the United States, where today he is an honor student, boy scout and generally happy, All-American kid.


I am so thankful that he was rescued!

But the place he was in… that is the same kind of place that Heath is in.

80% of children who are transferred to asylums die within the first year – if they have Down Syndrome, that number jumps to 90%!

And Sonny is in a place like that.

sonny after

And little Suzanne.


Their heads have been shaved. They are surrounded by psychotic adults.  They listen to moans day in and out. They receive no therapy or love.

I am begging you, they need out!  And you can help them.  Please consider donating to their grant funds today, and in return, I offer you the chance to win some fun Christmas presents. A large grant fund means that a family who is hesitant to commit to adopting them due to the high cost will be that much more likely to step forward!


  • Use the links below to go to the sites where these precious children are receiving donations. Follow the directions there to make your generous donations.
  • THEN, come back to this blog and leave a comment to let me know two things: (1) that you donated to Sonny, and (2) the total amount that you donated to ALL THREE of the children (if you chose to donate to more than one child).
  • If you prefer not to comment, you can email me at slwann@gmail.com.
  • The giveaway will end on December 15th and the winner will be announced on the 16th.
  • If you have any questions, please feel free to leave one in the comment section or email me at slwann@gmail.com.

Please use these links to make your donations.

Donate to Sonny.

sonny beforesonny after

Donate to Suzanne.


Donate to Daphne.



16 GB iPad with Retina display – a $500 value!


Kitchen Aid 5-Quart Stand Mixer – a $430 value!

stand mixer

You will be able to select the color of your choice – there are 25 options!

A $150 gift to card to your choice between Best Buy, Pottery Barn or Home Depot!

best buy cardpottery barn gift card


Please let me know if you have donated even if you don’t want the prizes! If you win and you don’t want the prize, you can choose to donate the equivalent cost of the prize to the child of your choice. BUT please feel free to keep the prizes if you win! Smile


  1. Hi Stori,

    We made another contribution to Sonny. This time it is $15 through Julia's blog. Please put it under my son's name --- Eric H.

    Thank you for the post above. Honestly, I don't think I can read that book yet!


    Sue H.

  2. Oh my goodness. That story just breaks my heart, PTL that there was a happy ending!


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