China’s Changing Family Planning Policy

How will this affect adoptions from China?

Written by Dana Woods, China Program Director – Kentucky Office

Yesterday the headline news from China was the end of their long-standing One-Child Policy. Certainly, those who are adopting from China or who are considering an adoption from China are curious as to how this may affect the number of adoptions completed. As Director of the China Program at Nightlight, I wanted to share history, facts, as well as my thoughts on this with our Nightlight community.

China’s One-Child Policy, officially termed the Family Planning Policy, was introduced in 1978 and implemented by the Chinese government in 1980. It was a method of controlling China’s growing population in an effort to alleviate social, economic and environmental problems in China. The original policy allowed many exceptions and applied mostly to Han Chinese, the majority ethnic population of China. The policy was enforced at the provincial level through fines which were levied based on income as well as other factors. It is estimated that the policy prevented 400 million births. Over the years, the policy was relaxed. A report from China Daily in 2007 stated that only 36% of China’s population was subject to the one-child restriction and 53% were allowed to have a second child if the first was a girl. In 2013, the laws were officially relaxed to allow a second child to couples where one of the couple was already an only child. It is my understanding that the ban will officially be lifted when government officials meet in March, 2016. The new Family Planning Policy will allow every married Chinese couple the choice of having a second child.

I am excited for the people of China who desire to have more than one child to be given that opportunity. I think it is difficult for American citizens to imagine our reproductive rights being controlled by a government to the extent of limiting us to ONLY one child. Alison Yu, our coordinator in China who lives in Beijing, reports that everyone seems happy for the decision. She stated “many children who are the only one at home feel lonely, they need siblings.” Alison and her husband have two children, a son, born in 2002 and a daughter born in 2004. She and her husband paid a large fine after their daughter was born in order to have her properly registered with the Chinese government so that she could receive medical treatment and educational services. This is a good change for the people of China!

According to the United States Bureau of Consular Affairs, between 1999 and 2013, the number of children adopted by U.S. citizens from China totaled 249,694. The largest number was in 2004 when 7,903 Chinese children entered the United States through adoption. A very large decrease was seen between 2007 and 2008. This slowdown can be attributed to two major things. (1) The Hague went into effect in 2007 and (2) China changed their eligibility laws greatly reducing the number of families who qualified to adopt from China. The adoption numbers have steadily declined. The most recent numbers are from 2013 and show that 2,306 children from China entered the United States on adoption visas.
Nightlight has been very transparent to our adopting families as the climate of adoption has changed. The rate of healthy referrals from China has continued to decline. Families whose dossiers were logged in after December 31, 2006 continue to wait for a referral of a healthy child. The majority of those families requested an infant female. These families have now been waiting nearly eight years and that wait time continues to increase.

Love Without Boundaries is an organization whose goal is to provide medical care, foster care, education and nutrition to orphaned and impoverished children in China. Amy Eldridge, Executive Director of Love Without Boundaries, in her article entitled “The End of the One-Child Policy” stated: “There is still a widely held (and mistaken) belief that orphanages in China are filled with healthy children, given up due to the one-child policy, [however], orphanage populations have shifted completely since I first began working in China over a decade ago. It is extremely rare for a “healthy” child to even enter orphanage care these days, and those that do are quickly adopted domestically.”

What Ms. Eldridge reported and what I have seen during my visits to China, specifically in the orphanages with which we have a One-to-One Partnership, is that the children who are entering the social welfare institutions all have medical needs which vary from very minor and/or correctable to severe and life-altering or life-shortening. China is a culture whose people highly value physical health, therefore, they prefer healthy children, whether the child be male or female. Knowing this, I suspect that children with medical issues will continue to be abandoned, and I do not anticipate that the new two-child policy will lower the need for families who are willing to adopt children with medical needs.

Many people are thrilled at the recent news that Chinese couples will be given the opportunity to have two children if they so wish. I think the culture of China will be slow to change in their desire for health and that the Chinese adoption program, which has already shifted from a healthy child adoption program to a special needs program, will continue. In 2008, China was the #2 adopting country behind Guatemala which closed its doors to adoption that same year. Since 2009, China became and has remained the #1 top adopting country according to numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Consulate Affairs. Nightlight continues to recruit families for the many waiting children that are available for adoption in China and look forward to serving those clients from their first inquiry call until long after the child has arrived home.

Tender Hearts Grand Opening Celebration

I am not even sure where to begin.  The trip to Uganda last week and the grand opening of Tender Hearts Baby Home was overwhelming to say the least.  First, I want to thank all the mission team members from Nightlight’s team and Grace Life Fellowship for working so hard to get the final touches complete before the event.  Everyone worked so hard.  Over 200 people attended the event.  A few attendees were from the US, but many were from the local community.  Those in attendance included probation officers, police officers, friends and family of the Ngandas, church members, grandparents of children adopted through Tender Hearts into the US, and families who had been reunited with their children.  All in all, it was a great day and a great celebration!  We all sat back in amazement observing what God has done since 2009, when I made that first trip to Uganda and met Ken and Cathy for the first time.  We want to give God all the glory and honor.  He is able!

Uganda 1

The Entrance Gate to the Baby’s Home

Uganda 2

Twenty-three team members from two teams

In Uganda, when you are excited about something, you dance!

Uganda 4

Ken and Cathy honored all of the Tender Hearts staff.

Uganda 5

A few of the children performed for us.

Uganda 6

Ken and Cathy gave speeches and thanked everyone who had helped bring the Baby Home to this point.

Uganda 7

One story that really touched my heart was of a father whose son had gone missing for 10 months.  He had left his son in the care of relatives while he traveled.  When he returned, the relatives told him they had abandoned the boy because they thought he would not be returning.  He searched for him for 10 months.  He went to radio stations and ran advertisements to no avail.  That young boy is named Alex.  He is 6 years old.  Alex was found by local police and sent to Tender Hearts.  He was old enough to tell his caretakers some things about his family.  The social workers were able to locate his grandfather who called his father.  Alex’s father spoke at the grand opening and said, “Can you believe that these people cared for my son for 10 months, and they did not ask me to pay anything?”

Uganda 8

Alex and his Dad

Their story is one of many reunifications that have happened in Uganda through Tender Hearts.  In 5 years, they have had 90 children come through their doors.  Of those 90 children, 18 have been adopted into loving homes in the United States.  Tender Hearts is currently carrying for 28 children.  Thank you Ken and Cathy for your heart for children and for answering God’s call to care for orphans.

New book by Dan Nehrbass

WhosUsingYou-Cover_Proof_0406Receive a copy of the new book “Who’s Using You?” by Nightlight’s president Dr. Daniel Nehrbass when you donate $20 to Nightlight.This book is published by CLC Publications and is to be released Fall, 2015.We will send you a copy of Who’s Using You for a tax-deductible donation of $20…all proceeds go to Nightlight Christian Adoptions.

“Most of us don’t like the idea of “being used” – especially if we’re used by others, or even the the enemy of our soul, for negative purposes. But we fulfill our created purpose when we fully open ourselves to being used by God for His work and glory. Dan Nehrbass shows the difference and gives insights for being used the right way – by the Lord.”

Jim Daly, President – Focus on the Family

“Daniel Nehrbass not only gives us a fresh and powerful framework for viewing our lives, faith and daily patterns. He also helps us see the small, often unnoticed choices that become the watershed between a life that is ultimately useless and one well-used for things of eternal value.”

Jedd Medefind, President, Christian Alliance for Orphans and author of Upended: How Following Jesus Remakes Your Words and World.

“When I was 14 years old, I cried out, ‘God, I know you are real and I want you to use me for your purposes, but please don’t make me a Pastor or a Missionary!’ Ha! Now 15 years into full-time vocational ministry as a Pastor, I am thankful that God agreed to use me, but didn’t listen to my caveat! In Daniel Nehrbass’ book, Who’s Using You?, we gain valuable insight into how to be used by God as a vessel for his great purposes. Nerhbass’ book reminded me that we are either being used by God, others or the enemy. With only a short life to live, I want every moment to count and be used by God. This book encouraged me on this journey.”

Matt Doan, Pastor, Calvary Church Santa Ana

Who’s Using You allows you to explore the infinite imagination God has in using our lives for His glory, others’ blessings, and our fulfillment. With exciting stories and biblical principles you can begin to dream how your life can be used and others’ lives can be changed. I can’t wait to get this book into the hands of our congregation.

Dr. Bill Staffieri is the Senior Pastor of Beachpoint Church and an adjunct professor at Biola University.

“Dostoevsky once wrote, ‘people are people and not the keys of a piano.’ Dan Nehrbass understands this truth. He also understands that humans have a telos, an end for which we were created. Just as a hammer was made to pound nails, so we were created for God’s glory. Nehrbass helps us understand the beautiful music God desires to create in our life. Take, read, and be challenged.”

Dr. Hank Voss, National Director of Church Planting, The Urban Ministry Institute

What’s “Christian” about adoption?

Recently someone saw our agency’s name on a banner at a convention, and they asked, “What’s Christian about adoption?”  Great question!  Three things:

1. Adoption Fulfills the Great Commission.

Olya was adopted from Russia as a teenager. She wrote the following about her experience: “What does it mean to me to have been adopted and have a family? A gift. A second chance. A renewed hope. Joy. A miracle. A future. Unconditional love. Security. I was given a life. I was saved. I don’t have all the right words to even begin to paint a picture of what adoption has done for me. I am aware that too many children have not found homes, especially if they are older. Many of them end up on the street without an item to their name, begging for food and shelter. I myself have spent some time begging for food from strangers.  The family that adopted me at the age of twelve could have easily overlooked my picture, fast forwarded past my part on the video. Then and there could have been the end of my happy future. But they didn’t. They stopped…they watched. They wanted me, despite my age and despite the problems I could have been bringing with me. They chose me! This still brings tears to my eyes. Tears of happiness and disbelief that they picked me out of thousands of other children that they could have picked. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for picking me. I still have to pinch myself just to see that this is not merely a dream. I know that only by God’s grace and His perfect sovereign plan am I here today…alive and well and very happy. I am one lucky and thankful girl.”

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 22:37, NIV). We know this as the “great commandment” to love God and our neighbor. Adoption is one of the most tangible, certain, permanent, and effective ways to love our neighbor. We know that another life will be permanently improved by bringing a child into a loving family.



2. Adoption Fulfills the Great Commandment

Natasha is a 14 year-old Chinese girl adopted from foster care when she was 2. Her father went on a business trip, and when he opened his suitcase he found the following note: “Dad, you are my hero. You adopted me, and brought me to Christ. You let me be weird, and I love you in all the weird ways I can. You are a light, my motivation, and my question-answerer. I love you, dad!”

Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matt 28:18-19, NIV). We know this as the Great Commission to share the good news about salvation through Jesus with all people. Adoption is one of the most effective ways to make disciples of all nations.

3. Adoption is Central to the Christian Message

When we think of adoption, we consider the permanent entrance and complete acceptance into a new family. That’s exactly what God offers.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “In love God predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will” (Ephesians 1.4, NIV). Since Jesus was God’s son, those who join His family, by adoption, have the right to call upon God as their father. This means they have the inheritance fitting of children of God, such as salvation, eternal life in heaven, and forgiveness of sins. “The Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15, NIV).

Daniel Nehrbass, Ph.D. | President

The Importance of Parental Attachment in Adoption

segel-1On July 28, 2015, Dr. Dan Siegel will be presenting a webinar on behalf of Creating a Family called the Importance of Parental Attachment Styles in Adoption. In the past attachment issues have been seen primarily as something to do with the child, but in reality it is a two-way street. Parental styles will have negative and positive impacts on the ability of child and parent to connect.

Dr. Siegel, literally wrote the book on the importance of parental attachment style.

Dr. Siegel is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, and New York Times bestselling author of The Whole-Brain Child and Parenting from the Inside Out.

Register today to participate in this evening webinar, July 28.

Webinar discussion topics will include:

  • Key components of a secure parental attachment
  • How parental attachment styles impact an adopted child’s attachment
  • Ways to assess parental attachments
  • Tips for improving parental attachments
  • And more….

This program is Approved by the National Association of Social Workers (Approval #886705666-2918 ) for 1 Social Work continuing education contact hours.

China Program No Waiting!

Earlier this month, Nightlight staff traveled to China to re-sign our One-to-One Contracts with orphanages in Beiliu (Guangxi Province) and Tongren (Guizhou Province).  In addition, we have signed two new One-to-One contracts with orphanages in Xiao Xian (Anhui Province) and Qing Dao (Shandong Province).

As a result of these partnerships, Nightlight is expecting to receive as many as 60 new files of waiting orphans in the next 12 months.  Many of these children are toddlers and can only be matched with families who have a dossier logged in with the CCCWA.


Dana Woods, Director Li, Daniel Nehrbass, and Alison Yu

The really good news is that if you start the adoption process now (home study and dossier process takes about 6 months), we anticipate that your family can be matched with one of these children as soon as you are ready!

Nightlight’s China program has among the lowest fees in the country and the highest quality of services. Families desiring to be matched with these children must meet the following China qualifications:

  • Must be between 30 and 50 years old
  • Must have a high school education
  • Must have a BMI below 40
  • Must have a household income of $10,000 per family member.
  • Must be in good physical health
  • Psychotropic medications are allowed only for one spouse if the other spouse is perfectly healthy.
  • Must have a net worth of $80,000


Signing the contract with XiaoXian


Signing the contract with QingDao

For more information regarding our China program, please call one of our China program experts: Stephanie, Dana, or Hannah at 859-263-9964.

Stephanie Bleuel:

Dana Woods:

Hannah Walker:

Nightlight launches new Crowd-Funding site


Adoption Bridge_logo_final_4-24-15



Nightlight has created a new adoption crowd-funding (tax deductible) site for all adoptive families working with any agency:

Start raising fund for your adoption, share your story with friends and family, link to your Facebook, and get one step closer to that home coming!


Uganda-The Pearl of Africa Mission Trip

Mission Team 2010

Uganda Mission Team 2010

Nightlight Christian Adoptions began working with Tender Hearts Baby home in 2010.  Since that time, we have been pleased to lead 8 short term mission teams to Uganda to work with Tender Hearts.  In addition, we have had two additional churches bring their own mission teams.  Over the years, we have seen the Lord bless the work of Ken and Cathy Nganda as they care for orphans and widows in their distress. In addition to the countless orphan children Ken and Cathy have cared for, they also care for 3 widows who live on the baby home property.

In 2014, thanks to many donors but primarily Grace Life Fellowship of Hastings, NE and Providence Church of Denver, NC, we were able to see a dream realized.  Tender Hearts Baby home was moved to Mokono, Uganda where a new facility had been built to care for more children in a better environment.  This year, our annual mission trip will take place August 22, 2015 through August 30, 2015 to allow our team members to participate in the final preparations of the Grand Opening of the Tender Hearts Baby home, as well as, be present for the event on August 29, 2015.   This grand opening is a communal ceremony which is very important in Uganda.  IMG_0129The community gathers to celebrate this monumental occasion.  Also in attendance will be government officials, judges, probation officers, church members, community members and so many more.  At this event, Ken and Cathy will share the Heart of a Child mission, build relationships, and ask for the community’s support.  We are expected to have 100 to 200 people attend the grand opening.

The mission team will be working on landscaping, finishing cabinets, and decorating.  In addition, we will be ministering to those in the community through prayer, Vacation Bible School, and fellowship.  We would love to have someone skilled in videography who can bring their equipment to document the occasion and then freely give Ken and Cathy the videos.  The cost of the trip is $2,700 per person, and we are limiting our team to only 10 members.  Another church will be bringing a team to help along with our team.  We have to limit our numbers to ensure that everyone has a place to sleep.  Please prayerfully consider joining us on this trip.  Ken and Cathy would very much like to see returning team members who have invested time and money to this project over the years.


IMG_0144Here is a list of projects to complete both before and after the mission trip and their costs:

Lightening Arrestor-$4,000


Office Furniture and Washing Machines-$9,000

Landscaping, cabinetry, finishing the guard house, smoothing and widening the road, parking lot, entrance gate sign posts, etc. $43,500

Grand Opening Event-$5,000 (food, chairs, photographer, etc.)


If you are unable to make the trip but would like to donate to the projects, please click the link below.  


To request a mission trip application, please e-mail as soon as possible.  For planning and fundraising purposes, the application deadline for this trip is June 15, 2015.  The cost is $2700.



Why You Should Stop Waiting and Switch to the China Special Needs Program

If you have you been waiting for a “healthy” referral from China or are signed up to receive a referral from another country and have been waiting, you may want to consider making a change.  Last year, 2,040 children entered the United States through Intercountry adoption from China.  China remains the largest Intercountry adoption program and the majority of these children are children with special needs.  However, let’s talk about what China considers special needs versus what we here in the US consider special needs.

In the United States, when we hear the term “Special Needs” we usually think of a child in a wheelchair or in a special classroom.  For the sake of adoptions, please know that special needs can certainly encompass those children, but more often than not, these children have a medical condition which made them “undesirable” in China.  First, China does not have a good support system for families who have a child with special needs. Secondly, because of their one-child policy history, most parents desire a “perfect” only child. Any medical condition, even the most minor, will cause the child to be abandoned.  This means children are available for adoption who have repairable heart conditions, cleft lip/palate, club feet, were born premature, have thalassemia, and various other repairable or manageable conditions.

China classifies their children into “Special Focus” and “non-Special Focus”.  Typically, Special Focus children have more moderate to severe special needs and the CCCWA gives us up to 3 months to match those children with families.  The non-Special Focus children are usually younger and have more minor special needs.  The CCCWA only gives us 3 weeks to match these children with families and they can only be matched with families who are logged-in and who have a valid home study and USCIS approval.

__ Pan Xue with pig art June 2011Lately, we have had much success in matching many of our families who are waiting for children with special needs, and because we have expanded our One to One partnerships and are now working with 3 orphanages, we anticipate receiving an increased number of files for children who would be considered non special focus.  These are the children who can only be matched with logged in families who have a valid immigration approval.  We want to encourage those of you waiting in the China traditional program or waiting in another country program with Nightlight to consider the special needs program.  If you are in this position, please contact us to discuss.  Nightlight desires to place waiting children into waiting families and does not desire to see families waiting in other programs.  Because of this, we are willing to credit these NCA transferring families with fees already paid to another NCA program, as much as possible, toward fees due in the China program.

For those of you who have a dossier logged-in through the traditional program, we encourage you to update your home study and apply for a new I-800A USCIS approval so that if we receive files of children with minor special needs, we can at least call you and tell you about them.  As of now, we are prohibited from matching a child with a family if the family does not have the proper government approvals to be matched.   China places this restriction because they want the children to come home to a family as soon as possible.

It can take 3 to 4 months to update your home study and immigration approval for China.  If you are also completing a dossier for China, it will likely take 4 to 6 months to get your dossier logged in so that you are ready to accept a referral.  Don’t delay getting started as soon as possible.

Once you make the decision this is something you will consider, we will have you complete a Medical Conditions Checklist and provide information to help you research various special needs which are commonly seen from China.  You and your family would have an opportunity to review these medical conditions and mark those you would be willing to consider.  When we received the file of a child which meets your preferences, we will call you to discuss and you will have the opportunity to review the file prior to accepting or declining the referral.

If you would like to discuss the possibility of switching to the China Waiting Child program from either the traditional China program or another NCA adoption program, please call or e-mail or