Congratulations to former Christopher Closeup guest Andrea Roberts for getting her international Down syndrome orphan ministry, Reece’s Rainbow (named after her son Reece), featured in People magazine.
Andrea Faris Roberts figured her new son, born in 2002, got his almond-shaped eyes from her husband, Rich.
But when doctors confirmed that Reece had Down syndrome, “I couldn’t stop crying,” says Andrea, whose prenatal tests were normal. “I thought, ‘What’s tomorrow going to be like?’ ”
The answer: Reece has not only enriched his parents’ lives but inspired his mom to save kids with Down syndrome around the world. Researching her son’s condition, Andrea learned that in many countries, babies born with the disorder are often abandoned and left in orphanages.
Launching Reece’s Rainbow in 2004, the former account manager wrote grant applications and networked with adoption agencies, ultimately dispersing over $4 million to fund adoptions of more than 850 children from Russia, China, Mexico and elsewhere.
Parents like John and Charissa Urban of Owasso, Okla., wouldn’t know the love of Ava, now 8, adopted from Ukraine in 2008 without the help of Reece’s Rainbow. They turned to the organization to help with funds to bring home little Ava – who weighed only 19 lbs. and was unable to roll over at age 3.
Though she initially had to use a walker to get around, Ava is now running, jumping and playing with her six siblings, including two who are adopted also (one of whom also has Down syndrome). “She’s the center of our family,” Charissa says. “We’re so grateful.”
Andrea says that families are being built every day.