Rachel Wallis, director of Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls®, recently went to Lima, Peru to distribute shoes to vulnerable children. This is her account of helping one young girl find the perfect pair of shoes.
I met Milani in an orphanage outside of Lima. She is young, probably 3 or 4 years old, and like most of the children there, she refers to the nurse who watches her as “mommy.” Milani is one of many children caught in the messy system of poverty and bureaucracy: Because she has living relatives, she isn’t eligible to be adopted by another family. Her family, however, is too poor to take care of her, so she stays in an institution where she can receive regular meals and schooling. She is heartbreakingly young to be without a true parent in her life.
We had the shoes we would be giving the children all laid out and ready to go, and because Milani is tiny, it was clear there were only a few options that would fit. There was a pair of Frozen sneakers, and I really hoped they would work. She was so excited at the thought of those blue and silver sneakers. The shoes were a perfect fit, and when I asked her to pose for a photo, she kept holding her coat wide open, even though it seemed like an odd pose to me. Only later did I realize she was wearing a Frozen sweatshirt too. The workers told me it is her very favorite movie, and she would be talking about those sneakers for a long time.
It’s just a small thing, but I feel like that pair of shoes was God saying to Milani: “You are seen. You are loved. No detail is too small for me.” There is a lot about Milani’s life that is and will continue to be a struggle but she is seen and known by a father who even cares about her favorite Disney movie.