Dan’s Favorite Adoption Story: Each year Nightlight brings a group of kids from orphanages overseas. I wonder how these kids feel as they get off the plane in a strange country, and head off with a stranger (host family) for a couple weeks. I spoke with Luba, a young woman who came several years ago on one of these tours. She was later adopted by her host family. I asked her, “Were you scared to walk off with a woman you didn’t know?” She said, “No, because I knew she was my mom. I got off the plane and pointed at her.” There is a divine appointment set between these waiting children and their loving parents. We at Nightlight are privileged to be there when it happens.
Education: Daniel Nehrbass has a Ph.D. in Pastoral Counseling from Fuller Seminary and holds three masters degrees: in theology, divinity, and ministry. His B.A. is from U.C. Irvine. Prior to coming to Nightlight, Daniel was an ordained Baptist pastor, professor of biblical studies, and professional Christian counselor.
Responsibilities: As President, Dan plans for the future goals and direction of Nightlight, oversees the three Nightlight offices and manages our capable and experienced team. Dan also focuses on fundraising for the agency.
Rhonda’s Favorite Adoption Story: More of my family members are adopted then born into our family. I first became aware of adoption, when my brother came home on my 5th birthday, a month after his birth. Adoption was the way my husband and I chose to build our family, adopting five school aged children from Russia. Adoption is a way of life for me and I feel very blessed to help other families throughout their adoption journey.
Education: Graduate of both University of Michigan and Pepperdine University with a Master’s Degree in Psychology.
Responsibilities: Director of Family Support Services; Hague Coordinator for Nightlight Christian Adoptions and a Lead Evaluator for the Hague Evaluation process for Council on Accreditation.
Director of Social Work and Snowflakes®
Kelly’s Favorite Adoption Story: I have done many adoptions in the last several years. They are both happy and sad at the same time, but nothing makes my heart happier than to see a birthmom make a special plan for her child and to see that plan come true for her. There is always sadness that she feels, but there is also joy and empowerment that she did the best she could for the child that she so dearly loves.
Education: M.A. Counseling at Ball State University; B.A. Social Work, Minor in Psychology at Indiana University
Responsibilities: Directing the Snowflakes Embryo Adoption Program including responding to inquiries, coordinating client matches, communicating with clinics regarding embryology reports & medical records, creating communication agreements for families’ legal contracts, and providing counseling to Adopting Parents and Genetic Parents.
Snowflake Client Services
Alyssa’s Favorite Adoption Story: My favorite adoption story comes from a couple in my church. After having one biological daughter they decided they wanted to expand their family through adoption. They chose to adopt internationally and soon they were the proud parents of a young girl from China. Soon after they decided to grow their family yet again, this time adopting sisters from Ethiopia. When I see the different cultures represented in their family and get to watch how they interact so lovingly, I cannot help but feel I am getting a glimpse of heaven, where every tribe, tongue and nation is present, giving full glory and honor to God.
Education: Alyssa has B.A. in Political Science and Intercultural Studies from Biola University
Responsibilities: Snowflakes administrative assistant, opening and maintaining client files, facilitating communication between families involved in the adoption process, providing resources for adoptive families , and coordinating contract and shipping information.
Snowflake Client Services
Leah’s Favorite Adoption Story: I knew I had a passion for adoption when I heard the story of my friend’s family. She and her brother were older and almost out of the house when her parents decided they wanted to adopt from China. They indicated that they were willing to accept a child with special needs, and much paperwork and prayer later, the matching stage began. When her mom got sent the profile of a little baby girl with a cleft palate and saw the picture of her, she burst into tears and knew that she was her daughter. Not too long afterward was the whole family on their way to China to pick up their little girl. It’s been beautiful to see this energetic and caring little one (who’s now in kindergarten) grow up in such a loving home and learn what it means to be adopted not only into her earthly family, but into God’s family as well.
Education: Bachelor of Arts in English, Biola University
Responsibilities: Snowflakes administrative assistant, opening and maintaining genetic parent client files, client acquisition – maintaining phone and email inquiries, social media
Manager of Domestic Programs
Katie’s Favorite Adoption Story: It’s so hard to choose just one favorite story. Honestly, every story is my favorite because every time I watch an adoptive placement I am reminded of God’s sovereignty and how He has orchestrated everything according to His perfect plan and I am merely an instrument He has allowed to help.
Education: Master of Social Work degree from University of Southern California and Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies from California State University, Fullerton.
Responsibilities: My responsibilities include counseling expectant parents considering adoption, communicating with prospective adoptive parents inquiring about the domestic program, conducting domestic home studies, maintaining relationships with hospitals, pregnancy centers, and attorneys, and speaking at various community and training events.
Home Study Coordinator
Sarah’s Favorite Adoption Story: Although it very hard to chose just one, I have been deeply touched by the adoption story of one of my mentors. She grew up in foster care, but as an adult was informally “adopted” into the family of one of her pastors, which changed her life forever. Eventually she married the church’s youth pastor and God has used her to speak into so many lives because of her past experiences. She and her husband recently adopted a medically fragile little boy through foster to adopt who was abandoned and nearly died at birth because of drug exposure and heart failure. God has used this little boy to not only change their lives but the lives of so many around them.
Education: Bachelor of Arts degree in Intercultural Studies with minors in Spanish and Biblical Studies from BIOLA University.
Responsibilities: As the Home Study Coordinator, I work with all of our adoptive families as they go through the Home Study or Snowflake Family Evaluation process. My goal is to be a resource and support to each of our families as they work though the paperwork, education, and social work visits required for a home study. I also coordinate Post Adoption Reports, update the website, answer phones, etc.
Snowflakes Inquiry Specialist | EAAC Agency Liaison
Amy’s Favorite Adoption Story: My favorite adoption story is that of a friend of mine who was adopted as a young child by a couple with a great deal of influence in their community. His adoption inspired a small adoption movement in that community, which resulted in 15 children finding forever families.
Education: Bachelor of Arts in English and an Asian Studies Certificate at Colorado State University
Responsibilities: As the Snowflakes Inquiry Specialist I connect with adoptive families considering this unique adoption choice and provide support as they navigate the application process. As the Agency Liaison for the Awareness Center, I speak with adoption professionals regularly, helping them learn more about Embryo Donation and Adoption.
EAAC Education Coordinator | Fertility Clinic Liaison
Deb’s Favorite Adoption Story: My favorite adoption story comes from one of my best friends. His biological mother was unaware she was pregnant until she visited a hospital with severe stomach pain and realized she was in labor. She ended up abandoning him outside the hospital in a dumpster but was quickly found by hospital personnel. His story is certainly a miracle because the nurses that found him were positive that his mother would have aborted him had she found out he was pregnant. Instead he got the chance to live, and grew up in a big amazing family after he was adopted by two doctors that fell in love with him. He is one of the happiest people I know, and is currently working on becoming a chef and traveling all over the world with the biggest smile on his face.
Education: CNA, Front Range Community College; Arts & Photography, Aims Community College
Responsibilities: I am responsible for our robust webinar program which has been attended by over 1,000 medical and adoption agency professionals. I also develop programs for both embryo donor and embryo adopting families. As the Fertility Clinic Liaison I am in regular communication with clinics throughout the U.S. to help educate them, and their patients, about embryo donation and adoption.\
Foster Adoption Manager
Chelsea’s Favorite Adoption Story: I am continually amazed by the stories of adoption I come across and the very obvious workmanship of God in the love that holds all of these stories together. My favorite story would belong to a friend of mine in Buffalo, New York, who was himself a foster child who was received into a new, loving home at the age of 7. Since then, he has grown in incredible ways, both emotionally and spiritually, and is now one of the most genuine and communicative people I know. It is an inspiration to see him seek to understand the world and others in such a compassionate way.
Education: Bachelors in Human Services from the University at Buffalo.
Responsibilities: Coordinating services for Foster Adoption, completing home studies, training of Foster adoption families and meeting with Foster families.
Program & Marketing Director, Embryo Adoption Awareness Center
Kimberly’s Favorite Adoption Story: While adoption has not occurred in my immediate family I do have several friends who have been adopted. It has been interesting to hear from them, as mature adults, regarding their adoption experience. Many of them were adopted during the era when adoption was ‘secretive’. Based on their personal experience the new emphasis on ‘open’ adoption is heartily supported by them. It is exciting to be a voice for children in all stages of their development, especially for the unborn. Since I also struggled with infertility for many years I am able to relate to many people who call into the Embryo Donation and Adoption Awareness Center searching for solutions. After years in corporate America it is my joy to work for an organization that directly and positively impacts the lives of children and adults.
Education: Kimberly Tyson has more than 25 years of marketing and leadership experience developing and deploying leading edge technology products and services for top-tier companies. An accomplished corporate marketer, her vision and expertise in business performance have brought goal-oriented success in the medical, education and general business sectors. She received her BA from Colorado State University in Business Administration-Marketing with a minor in Political Science.
Responsibilities: As the Director of the Nightlight Embryo Adoption Awareness Center she has developed educational training and videos, created Internet strategies to increase website traffic, launched a legal essay competition and established regular communications with Adoption Agencies and Fertility Clinics, Ob/Gyns, donors and adopters throughout the U.S. Kimberly is also responsible for marketing and promotion of the many Nightlight adoption programs and services.
CO Executive Director, International Program Director
Kate’s Favorite Adoption Story: While there have been many adoption stories that have warmed my heart during my time with Nightlight, it has been my recent work our Haiti program that has really been on my mind lately. Since launching our program late last year, I have been able to travel to Port Au Prince twice to visit the orphanage we are working with there. It has been a wonderful and heart breaking experience simultaneously. There is so much need in Haiti, but it excites me how families will soon begin brining these children into their forever family. I look forward to seeing our Haiti program grow and change lives.
Education: Master’s in International Business
International Program Coordinator
Liana’s Favorite Adoption Story: I have a couple of favorite adoption stories. The first one would be my own. I was adopted from St. Petersburg, Russia at age 11. I feel truly blessed to have a family, a very wonderful loving family. In the orphanage I prayed to find my biological family and for them to take me back home but another family found me instead, my true family. My second favorite adoption story is the adoption of my first son. I ended up pregnant at age 18 and could not provide for a child. My best friend’s parents asked if I would consider them to be my baby’s parents. I decided that that would be the best option for my son and he would be well taken care of. Since I have known this family since I came to the U.S. we have maintained a great relationship and have a wonderful open adoption. I am so grateful that I still get to be a part of his life and he knows that I am his “birth mama” and that I love him.
Education: Fullerton Community College
Responsibilities: International Support Services & Home Study Coordinator
Home Study Coordinator
Samantha’s Favorite Adoption Story: My favorite adoption story is from some close friends who patiently waited 5 years through the adoption process and were blessed with a sweet boy from China. This family prayed and waited for what God had planned for them. It was a long and trying period, but they received the call that “their baby” had been approved and cleared for adoption. When they got him home and took him for physicals they learned that he would have some hearing and learning issues and may not be able to speak at all. Despite this disheartening news, they have taken everything as a blessing and understanding that God has a plan for everything in our lives. Being able to be a parent was the most rewarding thing for them. He continues to struggle as he grows, but they have never regretted the decision of bringing him into their family and have made the decision to adopt again and this time have requested a special needs child.
To have the honor of coming to work every day and assist families in their adoption process is such a rewarding experience.
There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots. The other is wings. ~Hodding Carter, Jr.
Foster Adoption Coordinator
Meaghan’s Favorite Adoption Story: My favorite adoption story is that of my aunt, whose daughter was placed into a loving adoptive home when was a young woman. While my aunt knew it was the best thing for her daughter, she experienced a lot of heartache over not knowing who her daughter was or how she was doing over the years, since it was a closed adoption. Thirty years later, my aunt decided to find her daughter and by the grace of God, her daughter had decided at the exact same time in her life that she wanted to find and meet her birth mother. Since then, they have met and developed a wonderful relationship with each other and our extended family. My cousin was able to grow up in a happy, loving family who could provide for her more than my aunt could at the time. I love this story as it provides a beautiful example of sacrificial love and the love and workmanship of God in our lives. God truly does know the plans for us and make all things work together for good.
Education: Bachelors in Psychology from Georgetown University
Responsibilities: I work extensively with families who are interested in fostering children with the intention to adopt. I handle inquiries about the Fostering Love Adoption program, act as a liaison between the county and our families, and lead families as they go through the necessary steps in the program.
Lisa became the Executive Director of AHH in October of 2011. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and a graduate of the University of Kansas, with a Master’s Degree in Social Work. Lisa has worked in the field of adoption for over 5 years and previously worked in both private foster care and child protective services. Lisa is a licensed social worker in the State of Oklahoma. Lisa herself was adopted by her step-father and has had a heart for adoption since her childhood. She feels honored to play a role in bringing orphans together with loving families.
Lisa has a large family including 4 wonderful nephews. She enjoys travel, running, and spending time with friends and family.
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Beth Button joined A Helping Hand/Nightlight in July of 2004 as a home study provider. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Family Science from Brigham Young University and has worked with families and children for several years. She has always had a heart for adoption and has found working in this field to be very rewarding. She has a sister who is adopted and her family has been touched by adoption in many other ways as well. She and her husband live in Shelbyville, Kentucky and have 3 children.
Dana joined AHH/Nightlight in May 2007, as a Family Advocate for the China program. Dana attended Eastern Kentucky University where she received an Associate of Arts degree in Paralegal Studies and a Bachelor of Science degree in Child and Family Studies. Dana is an adoptive mom, having adopted her youngest child, a son, from Guatemala. She and her three children live in the same small rural community where she grew up near lots of family and friends. In her spare time, Dana enjoys reading, music and movies and likes to spend time with her family and friends. Philippians 4:6-9
Vickie spent 21 years as a Master Cosmetologist in Brazil, IN where she also studied music at Indiana State University. She moved to Grayson, KY in 1990 to work at Kentucky Christian College as a telecommunications office manager, and later, as administrative assistant to the Bible and Ministries Department.
In February 2000, Vickie moved to Lexington, KY to work at Southland Christian Church as ministry assistant to single adults. There she met Kent Birkheimer who soon became her best friend. One year later, Kent and Vickie were married (December 15, 2001). On June 3, 2002 Vickie accepted the position of administrative assistant with A Helping Hand/Nightlight and loves serving God by helping place homeless children in homes where they will be loved and nurtured. She has served as our Financial Assistant for the last 4 years.
Her favorite Scriptures are Psalm 34 and Ephesians 3:20-21, “Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all we can ask or dream…” Dare to dream; He is faithful!
Lisa Whitaker has a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Morehead State University and previously worked as a home study provider for AHH/Nightlight. Lisa also has experience working with children through her work with the Department of Social Services. She is a married mother of two and has served as a Board Member at New Beginnings Pregnancy Center.
Hannah began working with A Helping Hand/Nightlight in July of 2013. She is a graduate of Georgetown College and holds a Bachelor’s of Art in psychology. Having traveled to Guatemala and studied abroad in Spain, she is fluent in Spanish and has a passion for international adoption. She hopes to have more opportunities to travel and plans to pursue a Master’s degree. She and her husband currently reside near Lexington but hope to one day live abroad as missionaries.
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord. -Jeremiah 29:13-14a
Candice joined AHH/Nightlight in October of 2011. She is a graduate of the University of Kentucky, with a BA in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Social Work. Candice is also a Certified Social Worker in the State of Kentucky. In the past, Candice has worked professionally with children in mental health and educational settings. She believes children are one of God’s greatest gifts, and feels it a privilege to work in the field of adoption.
Candice lives near Lexington with her husband and son. She enjoys nature, reading, and spending time with family.
Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
Travel Services Manager/Family Advocate
Mike joined A Helping Hand/Nightlight in 2007 as Travel Services Manager. He is a graduate of Asbury University, Wilmore, KY, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Intercultural Studies / Missions. Mike has seven years’ experience working in International adoptions. He along with our international partners collaborate to provide a top quality adoption journey and travel experience insuring that each family along with our Travel Groups are well prepared and equipped for each Governments Central Authority and the US Consulates. Prior to joining AHH/Nightlight Mike worked with severely, behaviorally and emotionally disturbed children in therapeutic foster care placement and served overseas as a missionary in several orphanages. In his spare time Mike enjoys training for and competing in Road Races and Triathlons; He is a two time IRONMAN Finisher.
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” John 14:18 NIV
Rita has been with A Helping Hand/Nightlight since January 2005. She worked as the receptionist and did Dossier Prep at AHH before taking the position of Post Adoption Coordinator. Her favorite part of her current position is seeing the pictures of the children with their new forever families.
In the past she worked as a medical insurance clerk and volunteered at a crisis pregnancy center.
Rita and her husband live in Lexington and have two grown sons. In her spare time she loves to spend time with her grandson and three granddaughters.
“Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. ” Hebrews 13:20-21.
Alicia joined the AHH/Nightlight team in January 2012. She received her Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Kentucky and is a certified social worker with the state of Kentucky. She has prior experience with child, adolescent, and family therapy, as well as providing social services to low income families through several community agencies. Alicia enjoys working with families and helping children find their forever home.
Alicia lives with her husband and dogs in Lexington, Kentucky. She enjoys nature, running, reading, and going to the dog park.
“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” Isaiah 55:12.
Deborah E. Nomura, LCSW, ACSW
OK Executive Director
Debbie has worked with hundreds of adoptive families in all phases of the adoption process since 1975 through both agency and private practice. She served as Coordinator of the Baptist Maternity Home, where she counseled many birth mothers and helped them through the difficult emotional ups and downs of the adoption experience. Debbie is an experienced therapist and counselor who relates to all her clients with empathetic concern and understanding.
Allison’s Favorite Adoption Story: Adoption became a part of my life when I was born and placed for adoption by my birth mother. Because of her selfless decision, I was blessed with an opportunity for a better life. When I moved to Tulsa in 2012, I was blessed again when I was asked to join the team of an amazing adoption agency, Heritage Family Services. I never thought I would be working with women making the same selfless decision as my birth mother, as well as watching waiting families finally have their dreams come true, just like my mom and dad did when they adopted me.
Education: I am a graduate of Northeastern State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Prior to working in the adoption field, I was a Child Welfare Investigator for Oklahoma Department of Human Services.
Responsibilities: I am privileged to be a part of Nightlight Christian Adoptions as an adoption caseworker in the Oklahoma office. I provide services to adoptive families as well as birth parents.
Loretta has worked in the field of adoption as office support for the past 16years. Her love for adoption came after she began working for Mike & Debbie Nomura at Heritage Family Services in 1998. She has always had a heart for young mothers with unplanned pregnancy, as many years ago she was one of those mothers who felt so overwhelmed with the responsibility of parenting. She loves to see God work out His purpose in the lives of women that looked hopeless, whether to parent or to place. Her daily gratitude lies in the opportunity of being given the wonderful privilege to be the “salt of the earth” to those she encounters & adoption work many times is that avenue.
Loretta has 3 children & eight grandchildren with the oldest in her freshman year in college. She loves country living, reading Christian psychology & spending time with her husband.
Matt. 5:13 – “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be the salt-seasoning that brings out the God flavors of this earth”.
Laura’s Favorite Adoption Story: My favorite story of adoption is the adoption of my two daughters. The story continued when my younger daughter’s birthmother contacted us when my daughter was nine years old. She and her husband later adopted a newborn through us. My older daughter recently graduated from college and is an RN. She also has an open relationship with her birthmother and completed her own lifebook, which she recently sent to her birthmother.
Education: MPH and working toward an LPC through a degree program in counseling from Liberty University.
Responsibilities: Is the director of the South Carolina office; provides pre- and post-adoption education, support, and resources to families. Initiated the ReNEWed Hope Program to help families prevent disruptions. As the founder and leader of the South Carolina Alliance for Orphans and the director in South Carolina for Orphan Sunday, she coordinates outreach to churches and other organizations involved in the orphan care ministries. As the president of the South Carolina Association of Licensed Adoption Agencies she assists in the planning of immigration, medical, and other adoption-related workshops and conferences.
Finance Manager & Support Services
Susan’s Favorite Adoption Story: Several years ago, I was lucky enough to meet and form a beautiful friendship with a birth mother and her 2 year old son. Taking her on doctor appointments and shopping trips, and caring for her child during this time…. She asked that I be in the delivery room with her; and I was able to witness her giving life in three distinct ways: Pregnancy, Delivery, and Signing the adoption paperwork. It was an experience that I have shared with many people throughout the years and am grateful for her special story that touched my life.
Education: 35 years of financial experience, 10 years with Nightlight; Administration with a focus in Dossier preparation
Responsibilities: bookkeeping; administration with a focus on Uganda adoption and orphan ministry
Home Study Coordinator
Amy’s Favorite Adoption Story: My favorite adoption story would have to be my own. God changed our lives completely almost six years ago when he brought our two little boys home. I am still in awe that I am able to be a mom. Our children are now 9 and 6 and have brought us more joy than we knew possible. It is because I have experienced the miracle of adoption that I am so thankful to work for Nightlight and witness other families’ lives be changed as ours was.
Education: Bachelors of Social Work, East Carolina University
Responsibilities: Assisting families through the home study process. I enjoy helping to complete home studies for SC families as well as Updates and Post-Placement visits.
Domestic Program Coordinator
Katie’s Favorite Adoption Story: I have had the privilege of working with so many children and families that have been blessed by the adoption process. My favorite story, however, is that of a friend of a friend of mine. She was given my name by our mutual friend to inquire about the adoption process, I gladly told her about the process and what she and her husband could expect. Once informed, she was overwhelmed to say the least. After a great deal of prayer, she and her husband were certain that this was their calling and so they pushed forward. They were matched with two precious little girls, a perfect fit for this wonderful couple. To hear stories about how these two little girls have grown in their loving home warms my heart. I know that this couple has changed the lives of these little girls, but more importantly, these two precious gifts from God have completed this family in a way that cannot be put into words!
Education: Graduate of Winthrop University with a Bachelor of Social Work
Responsibilities: Counsel birth parents facing an unplanned pregnancy and adoptive families wishing to adopt domestically, while guiding each of them through the adoption process.