Those Eyes…

Those eyes, looking past me, hesitant to make eye contact, afraid to hope… those eyes that track from just below my face to one of the babies…

That look, deep in those eyes, with the stoic knowing that our only interest must be in the babies…

That hesitance to engage with us, with me, in any way, knowing that we are only visiting, the avoidance, that emotionality; all these things tell me you are guarded because you have lost so much in your short life, you have hurt so much, you have lost hope.

The eyes of the older orphan absolutely break my heart.

Each orphanage visit, there is always at least one child that grabs my heart and takes up permanent residence. I will never forget their faces, their eyes. For me, it is generally a slightly older child. I know that the older a child is, the less likely he or she is to be adopted. I see through that look to their pain, and I want to take it away from them. I want every child to have hope and no child to have to worry. I want every child to have a home, food, love, and a family.

Adoption is a beautiful way people can grow their families for whatever reason. Maybe a family wants a little girl after two or three baby boys. Maybe a family has had difficult conceiving. Perhaps there are medical issues involved in the decision. There are many wonderful reasons to adopt. For me, however, it is a responsibility. I feel selfish every time that I stop for ice cream when there is a child who has not eaten today. I know I am blessed with a home and a comfortable bed, but I also know there are children sleeping on broken concrete floors. I know there are others who will adopt the youngest children, the beautiful children.

It is not the most beautiful child, the healthiest child, the youngest child that calls to my heart. It is the one no one else will take…the one that most needs love, a family, and a home.

Brooke Randolph, LMHC, is a parent, therapist, and founding team member of MLJ Adoptions, Inc. with more than 20 years of experience working with children and families. She is the mental health expert contributor at, a national diet and fitness column; a private practice counselor in Indianapolis, Indiana; and the Vice President of PR, Outreach, and Communications at KidsFirst. She is a single adoptive mother who has authored adoption education materials and presented at numerous conferences and workshops throughout North America. Brooke is primarily motivated to encourage, equip, and empower parents and individuals to make changes that strengthen their lives, their careers, and their families.