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 this 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.
Responsibilities: As Executive Director, 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.
Kristen’s Favorite Adoption Story: Adoption is close to Kristen’s heart, as she has a sister Erin (13) and a brother Luke (6) who are both adopted. Besides growing to love her siblings deeply, Kristen is especially affected by the open adoption relationships that her family shares with both birthmothers. These birthmothers are some of Kristen’s greatest life heroes!
Education: B.S. Social Sciences with an emphasis in Social Work, minor in Spanish at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.
Responsibilities: At Nightlight, she is serving in Client Services, which primarily includes front desk reception and event planning.
Snowflakes Support Specialist
Ciara’s Favorite Adoption Story: My pastor and his wife adopted a toddler from South Africa. They struggled for two and a half years through the adoption process, two homestudies, and finally their month long trip to South Africa to bring home their baby Mfundo! Not knowing the age, sex, or medical history of their future child before traveling to South Africa, they were received into the open arms of a smiling two and a half year old boy, who had been born just around the time they had begun the adoption process! A testament to God’s perfect timing.
Education: B.A. in Psychology at Biola University.
Responsibilities: Snowflakes Administrative Assistant- Resposibilities include answering new Snowflake Program inquiries, opening new Adoptive Parent and Genetic Parent files, assisting clients through the application phase, facilitating legal contracts and coordinating embryo shipments. Also acts as the liaison between Adoptive and Genetic families for communication and updates.
Manager of Outreach and Development
Megan’s Favorite Adoption Story: I met Jusie (pronounced “yu-see”) when she was 18 months old. She had been adopted from China three months earlier. I was her full-time nanny for her first year of life with her adoptive family. Watching her grow from a frightened young toddler to a confident, curious little girl changed my heart forever. Knowing that there were people in the world who worked to assist families like hers to adopt little girls (and boys!) who otherwise would grow up in orphanages, without parents, led me to my career choice of working in adoptions. Jusie and her family will forever hold a place in my heart and I am honored to be part of making the miracle of ‘family’ possible for people today.
Education: BA in psychology, minor in sociology from the University of San Diego. Seven years of embryo adoption experience with Snowflakes.
Responsibilities: Manager of Outreach and Development, developing local support network, expanding embryo donation and adoption access, development of clinic and agency partnerships.
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
Publications & Web, Intake Counselor
Christine’s Favorite Adoption Story: I grew up in the Middle East, where adoption is legally prohibited by Islamic law. Orphanages were overflowing with children in need of a home, but no legal avenues for adoption existed. Although I was only in elementary school, my awareness of adoption issues was heightened due to my mother’s line of work. My mother was an administrator of a day care center that was affiliated with a girls’ orphanage. The two buildings were adjacent, so I regularly interacted with girls from the orphanage when I tagged along to my mother’s workplace. I recall being struck by the fact that these girls did not have parents to love or take care of them; I would feel overcome by guilt as I headed home to my family. Now, many years later, I work for an adoption agency and live in a great country where adoption is possible. At the end of my work day, I experience such fulfillment to have played a part in placing children with their forever families! The most rewarding aspect of my work at Nightlight is seeing children thrive in loving families. How refreshing, to connect with families and to celebrate milestones in the lives of adoptees!
Education: M.A. Clinical Psychology (In Progress), Emphasis in Marriage & Family Therapy at Azusa Pacific University; B.A. Clinical Psychology, Minor in Biblical Studies from Biola University; Youth Counselor and Group Leader in ministerial settings.
Responsibilities: Educating prospective clients regarding adoption program options, maintaining email update lists for Snowflakes’ Multi-Ethnic & Waiting Embryos Programs, updating website/digital media content, designing promotional materials, as well as event coordination for the annual Gala, Orphan Summer Tour, Reunion Picnic, and Vivian’s Hope Fundraiser.
Director of Social Work
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.
Home study & Support Services
Lynda’s Favorite Adoption Story: To be a small part of God’s awesome story for each family is a tremendous gift. The homecoming is such a miracle, especially knowing the incredible journey for the children and the adoptive parents. The joy on each of their faces lives forever in my heart.
Education: Professional and experiential education.
Responsibilities: Family Support Services – Legal documentation, domestic and international.
Sarah’s Favorite Adoption Story: I have worked with so many wonderful families that were created by adoption that I couldn’t pick just one story. However, my family was formed through adoption; my wonderful grandparents adopted my dad and his sister as infants in closed adoptions and my cousin recently adopted a little girl internationally. I am thankful to their birthparents for choosing adoption and I feel so blessed to be working in adoptions in a time where openness allows a child to know and be loved by both their biological and adoptive families.
Education: Master’s of Social Work and Pupil Personnel Services Credential (2008) and Bachelor’s of Social Work (2006) from California State University, Long Beach.
Responsibilities: To provide support and resources to women with unplanned pregnancies as they determine if they will make a parenting or adoption plan. To advocate for and provide guidance to birthmothers as they create their adoption plan and begin their relationship with the family they have chosen.
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: Speaking with adoption agencies frequently, helping agencies learn more about Embryo Donation and Adoption, and assisting agencies in establishing their own embryo adoption programs
EAAC Clinic Liaison
Adam’s Favorite Adoption Story: In the summer of 2010, Nightlight brought an Orphan Tour from Russia to Northern Colorado for the first time. After hosting the kids, spending time with them and seeing them perform; God put it on the hearts of three Northern Colorado families to adopt a child from the tour. Eleven months later, all three families had their adopted children home with them and are living as a forever family. I was tremendously blessed to see this whole process unfold from start to finish right before my eyes.
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Technical Journalism from Colorado State University
Responsibilities: Fertility Clinic Liaison with the Embryo Adoption Awareness Center, Social Networking Coordinator.
Director of Social Work
Cheri’s Favorite Adoption Story: Over the years, I have worked with many, many adoptive families and have been fortunate enough to be a small part in their adoption journey. I don’t know if I have just one favorite adoption story, but I find great joy in seeing families become complete. I love watching babies and children grow in attachment, forming that inseparable bond with their parents, and the healing that takes place for parents, birth parents and children.
Education: Masters of Social Work (1995) from University of Denver, Graduate School of Social Work; BA (1989) from State University of New York at Albany. TBRI certification through Texas Christian University (2012). Director and trainer for Colorado Adoption Consultants, where we provide adoption training and pre and post adoption consulting and training to adoptive families.
Responsibilities: As the Director of Social Work I provide supervision, support and training to our social work staff. I respond to inquiries and provide pre and post adoption education support and resources to families. I also educate prospective parents regarding adoption program options.
Program & Marketing Manager, Embryo Donation & 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 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 20 years of 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 manager of Nightlight’s 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 throughout the U.S. In 2011 the outreach will expand to OB/Gyns where many women first learn about infertility treatments. Kimberly is also responsible for marketing and promotion of Nightlight’s many adoption programs and services.
Education and Evaluation Coordinator, Embryo Donation & Adoption Awareness Center
Koralie’s Favorite Adoption Story: My favorite adoption story required that I take the position at Nightlight to fully appreciate. When I was growing up I had a friend at church, who was adopted – along with her brother. My friend and her brother received two birthday type celebrations each year, including cake and gifts. One celebration commemorated the day she was born and all her friends were invited to share in the trappings of a typical Birthday Party. The second celebration was dubbed her “Special Day” and this celebration was the one her parents held as the more important of the two. It included friends of the family and relatives and marked the day in which her adoption had been finalized and she joined her family. What I distinctly remember is being jealous, and wishing I was adopted. Of course, what I really wanted as a child was two celebrations, but the example here is of parents, who in an age of closed adoption and secrecy, instinctively moved in another direction and helped their children celebrate their story.
Education: Bachelor of Arts in History, Grace College, Winona Lake, IN
Responsibilities: Manages the content and presentations of the Embryo Adoption Awareness Center’s generally twice monthly webinars, and internal staff educational opportunities.
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 Support Services & Home Study 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
Domestic Adoption Coordinator
Renee’s Favorite Adoption Story: I have had the honor of walking through the adoption journey with several birthmothers who have chosen the selfless act of adoption. I’ll never forget my first placement, a day after a sweet, baby girl was born. The birthmother and the adoptive parents met only a couple weeks before the due date, but quickly established a loving, trusting relationship. The never got the chance to discuss baby names, but that day in the hospital, they separately chose the same first name for the baby girl (and it was a very unique name). When I told the birthmother, she sat with her mouth open. At that moment, God confirmed to her she was making the right decision and a peace washed over her. It was truly miraculous and an expression of God’s heart for adoption. I am sure the little girl will love hearing that story one day.
Education: Graduate of University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a Bachelor of Social Work.
Responsibilities: Birthparent counseling and working with domestic adoption families.
Director of South Carolina Branch
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.
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: Eight years experience with Nightlight
Responsibilities: bookkeeping; administration with a focus on Uganda adoption and orphan ministry
Home Study Coordinator
Michelle’s Favorite Adoption Story: Before I started working full time with Nightlight I worked part time with Nightlight as the Birth Mother Liaison. I enjoyed this job because it gave me a great opportunity to talk with the birth mothers that came through our agency. I remember a birth mother that we had and she was very sweet and she wanted her child to grow up with a stable family that could provide the comfort and support that she could not. I had the opportunity to bond with this birth mother and I even had the honor of being there with her when she delivered her baby. It was amazing being able to experience that with her, considering that was my first time ever witnessing a birth take place. She was very grateful for our agency and for the loving family that adopted her baby. I know deep inside she really wanted to improve her lifestyle not only for her, but for her children. However, she was so overwhelmed with hurt and she feared rejection that she found it hard to trust others and pursue a better life. I’m glad that I was able to witness to her and try to help her get back on her feet. When she left us, it was hard and today I still pray for the best in her life.
Education: BSW from Limestone College in 2010; Certified Investigator in the state of South Carolina
Responsibilities: Home Study Coordinator: I provide home study and post placement reports and supervision. I assign home studies, advocate for families, compile home study documents and submit all home study and post placement reports completed by our office. I’m also in charge of our bi-annual Uganda Mission Trip.
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.