John was born in Moscow in 1990. He was removed from his parents aged 18 months and sent to an orphanage, where he was classified as incurably disabled. Despite having a lively mind and fluent speech, he was consigned to a mental institution where he spent 10 months before being rescued.
In 1999 he was adopted and moved to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, taking the name John Lahutsky.
His memoir, The Boy From Baby House 10, was published by Phoenix in 2010.