Best of Nightlight: International Adoption: Is the adoption of healthy infants selfish?

A common complaint of international adoption critics is that most of the world’s orphans are older children, whereas most families pursuing international adoption desire — and ultimately adopt — an infant or young toddler.

Therefore, the reasoning goes, . . .

1. International adoption fails to address the real orphan crisis, because the most needy children are left behind.

2. International adoption is basically a selfish enterprise of wish-fulfillment for rich Westerners who want babies.

So is it true?

Well, the original observation is accurate: most international adoptions — but my no means all — are of infants or very young toddlers. But this is by no means an argument against international adoption. Consider the following:

1. Infants who are adopted through international adoption would, apart from being adopted, grow into older children with less hope of adoption (internationally or domestically). As an older child growing up in an orphanage or in foster care, that child will have more and more developmental and other challenges with each passing year, challenges that could be largely avoided by an early adoption. So the adoption of older children to the exclusion of babies would simply delay the adoption of children until they have more problems; but it would not increase the total number of children helped by adoption. On the other hand, the adoption of infants, while not helping today’s older orphans, will reduce the number of tomorrow’s older orphans. Continue reading

Embryo Adoption Helps Family with Difficult Decision

The following was written by a mother who made the choice to donate her embryos to to the Snowflakes Embryo Adoption Program. 

Embryos - potential childrenI could use many words to describe life. “Fair” isn’t one of them. I have always dreamed of becoming a mother. Every job I’ve had centered around children and education. I married my prince charming and saved up for the down payment on a four door car. Next, we started researching suburban schools. There would be no crowded urban school with high drop out rate for our kids, no sir. After finding the right blend of excellent schools and business opportunities, we chose the suburb we’d move to. We chose to build a home there and I purposefully picked an open floor plan so I could watch our children play while I made wholesome dinners. Everything that we could control and plan for was done to the best of our ability…. except conception.

We stared the round of usual doctor’s appointments and tests. Five years and two surgeries later, we were still childless. We were patients of the best fertility specialist in the state (see, only the best for our kids) and had tried Inter-Uterine Insemination many times. Still, no pregnancy. Though I did watch painfully as one of my thirteen-year-old students became pregnant.

Logically we knew that the next step was In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Besides a dwindling bank account, there was another issue holding me back. I firmly believe that life begins at conception. Any fertilized embryo that this procedure creates would be one of our children. What if we decided we were “done” with our family and there were more embryos? Would they be destroyed or discarded? That was something that I just couldn’t live with. We would be creating children (embryos) and our goal was to give them a chance to live. I wouldn’t go through with the procedure if all of the embryos we created wouldn’t have a chance at life. Continue reading

Our journey to embryo adoption

The following was written by Heather Hanna, a Nightlight adoptive mother.

We are a full time ministry family blessed with six children (three teens born to us and three younger children born in our hearts from South Korea). The beautiful picture in Scripture of God adopting us into His family has been made more precious since our adoption journeys began in 2005. God moved in our hearts to consider South Korea and then moved us out of comfort zone into special needs adoption from that country; suddenly, we found ourselves going from a family with three kids to six in just 2 ½ years. We made very little money at the time, but God in His amazing heart for orphans always answered and took care of our every need through three different back-to-back adoptions. It’s been almost four years since our youngest came home from Korea and all of this time we prayed that God would open more doors for us to adopt again. Our family size as well as restrictions in our new state seemed to make adoption closed to us and our hearts ached as we waited for God to move.

We’ve known about Nightlight for many years and have known many families who have used them for their agency. What we were about to find out was that Nightlight was more than an agency, it was a family of believers who would pray for you, cheer for you and rejoice when God answered your prayers. In March of this year, we received an email about special case embryos from Nightlight. I have to admit I don’t always open these emails for fear my heart will be torn when God wasn’t yet opening doors, but that day I read. When I began reading it surprised me to hear of genetic families who were open to older moms (I am currently 40) and many children being in a family already. The idea of special case embryos (at risk for a possible genetic issue) thrilled my heart in a way that can only be explained as God moving. What happened next was amazing too. I sent my husband a message through Instant Messenger, and we chatted back and forth. We agreed that we are pro-life and being pro-life means defending life from it’s very beginning, so surprisingly he agreed to have me call and ask questions (one way we know God is moving in our hearts is when we both agree on a direction He is taking us!). I first talked to someone from Nightlight and instantly felt at peace with their friendliness as well as their resourcefulness. The next days were a whirlwind of activity as God supernaturally opened up a homestudy agency in our state that would help us with regulations against large families and we found a clinic a few hours from our home that we felt was the right place. Still, we thought is this crazy? What will our church say? What will our families say? How can we know this is God moving? We prayed and a few days later we received an email from Nightlight telling us that a genetic family had come forward and their embryos were special case embryos and they were Korean-American. We couldn’t believe that a loving God would so care for us and our heart that He would give us a potential match that would fit beautifully with the family He had given us. Continue reading

Nightlight’s First Annual eBay-a-thon

Yesterday, Nightlight launched it’s first ever, 1-week eBay-a-thon.  All proceeds will go to support our summer tour, featuring 9 children visiting from Kyrgyzstan and currently preforming in Colorado.

To participate, simply visit our eBay page and list something for sale. All proceeds are automatically given to Nightlight, if you click the box “donate my profit to charity” and then select Nightlight as the charity.

Don’t know how to sell something on eBay? No problem, just email a picture and description of your item, and we will sell it for you. Or…mail the item to our office and we will take it from there.

Also, check back and see what other people are selling for Nightlight’s benefit. You don’t have to sell; you can buy something to support us too!

A Dream Come True through Embryo Adoption

The following testimony is written by a Snowflakes family.

Why wasn’t one child enough for me?

Our son Thomas was healthy, smart and full of fun. The process to adopt him and bring him to our home in North Carolina had been grueling. Now Vietnam was closed for adoptions.

Why wasn’t one child enough? And why, after Thomas joined our family did I still dream at night of being pregnant?

The reason, I know now, is that God had a plan for us.

For many months I had prayed to God to help me let go of the desire to add another child to family. But international adoption didn’t seem like it would work for us again. And before we adopted Thomas we learned that the only way I would become pregnant was through IVF because we are both carriers for Cystic Fibrosis. With a 1 in 4 chance that any children we might have would have CF, that wasn’t a good option for us. Sperm and egg donors didn’t interest us either.

Then one day, I picked up a parenting magazine passed along to us by a neighbor. As I flipped through it, I found an article about embryo adoption. I had never heard of embryo adoption.

My skin felt like it was charged with electricity. Was this a way to add to our family?

I told myself that embryo adoption was only an option if I could find a Vietnamese embryo donor. What were the chances of that in the U.S.? Continue reading

Natalie’s Celebration

On June 9th, Natalie Gomez celebrated her 8th birthday … and she had a party.  But instead of gifts, Natalie asked her friends to make a donation to the orphans in the world through Orphan Galaxy.  Six years ago, Dan and Denise Gomez brought Natalie home from St. Petersburg, Russia – in fact they picked her up at her baby house on Father’s Day; a gift that Dan will never forget.  Now Natalie has a little sister, Mia, also adopted from Russia.

Unlike most children, Natalie is very much aware of the fate of the millions of children in the world without a family.  She has learned that having a family is a very special blessing, and one we shouldn’t take for granted.  So, on her birthday she decided that she would try to help those children who are still waiting for their dream to come through.  Six of her girlfriends (and her 2nd grade teacher) celebrated with Natalie and donated $97.35 (including her own chore savings) to Orphan Galaxy.  Natalie is a STAR in more ways than one.   When asked what she thought would be good to buy for the children, she said that underwear would be nice.

There are certain phrases that you just know are from the Bible.  “And a child shall lead the way” is one of them.  I remembered it as a great example of how we had to have faith like a child – free of all of the “wisdom” we think we have, and able to just believe.  Isaiah 11:6 reads “And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child will lead them.”  In a world where these natural adversaries can get along, we thank Natalie for being a great example for us.

Make a donation to Natalie’s Constellation or start your own Constellation today.  

Congratulations to the Class of 2012

GRADUATION is a unique moment in time that looks back at the hard work and sacrifice (both by student and parents) that made it all possible – while looking forward to the new opportunities that lie ahead. It is also a little bit like leaving the womb and entering a scary world that is unfamiliar but exciting.

This is a time of year when we join with adoptees and their parents in celebrating the significant accomplishment of graduation – from high schools, colleges and universities. WE ARE PROUD OF YOU!!

If you have graduated and forgotten to let us know – send us an announcement or even an e-mail.

2012 Graduates

Svetlana Ann Dautrich-  Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministries, Trinity International University

Marina Emily Virgalla- Bachelor of Science in Business in Marketing, Southern Connecticut State Univ.

Julia Custer- Bachelor of Arts with honors + Fulbright Scholarship, University of the Pacific

Karina Elizabeth Peake- Bachelor of Arts and Science in International Politics, University of North Texas

Veronica Jarema- AA Magna Cum Laude in Theater Performance, Saddleback College

Krystina Jarema- AS in Biology and AA in Chemistry, Saddleback College

Katya Brock- AA in Liberal Arts, Saddleback College

Elizabeth Dingess- High School Diploma, Sunny Hills High School

Four precious lives on hold

James and Leah began trying to have a baby two years into their marriage. They soon discovered that due to Leah’s surgery at age 16 for a ruptured appendix, scar tissue was preventing the eggs from coming to the uterine tubes. More surgery was the answer and they rejoiced when they finally saw that positive pregnancy test. Their son was conceived traditionally and born nine months later.

As many parents do, Leah and James waited a few years before trying again. They needed more surgeries to remove scar tissue and sadly each attempt at conception was unsuccessful. Knowing their family was not complete they sought the next level in fertility technology and pursued IVF.

Leah responded almost too well to the hormones and the doctor finally decided to stop retrieving eggs after he’d removed 22. They transferred three embryos and two implanted. Leah and James were overjoyed to learn they were having twins! After a normally eventful pregnancy, two beautiful, healthy girls were born.

Years later, their family of five found themselves busy with their involvement at church, raising 4-H animals, traveling, sports, Civil War reenactments, band, swimming, dance, and caring for aging parents. James and Leah knew their family was complete and, after thoughtful consideration and much discussion, decided to place their remaining nine embryos for adoption through Snowflakes. Continue reading

Nightlight’s Magical Moments 2012!

Thank you to all who were a part of our Nightlight Christian Adoptions’ Magical Moments Dinner & Auction on April 29th! From the joys of sharing a meal with old and new friends alike, to watching awesome adoptees like Toma & Nick wheel & deal those raffle tickets away, to being WOW-ed by special entertainer Omar Covarrubias, to the beautiful dancing of our Nightlight Children’s Ensemble and more… a Magical night was enjoyed by all! We are so grateful to the many who gave of their time, energy, and gifts to make this evening so memorable for Nightlight families and supporters. If you couldn’t make it to this special dinner, make sure to join us on July 14th for the annual summer picnic at Los Vaqueros Park in Placentia! RSVP with Kristen in the CA office at (714) 693-5437 or



4th Annual RunWalkAdopt

Last Saturday (April 21), Nightlight hosted our 4th annual competitive 5K in Greenville, South Carolina. The race was held at the beautiful Furman University and participants were able to run around the lake on campus and take in the rest of the extraordinary venue.  We had around 160 runners in this year’s event.  Participants ranged in age from our youngest being only a few months old to our oldest who was in her 60’s.  The event was geared towards families, but also attracted local running competitors Bill O’Shields and Elliot Taylor.

This year’s event was a huge success.  Over and over again we have heard what a truly great time families and runners had during the race.  We have also heard numerous times that people cannot wait to participate next year!

We want to take the time to thank our amazing committee; who sacrificed months to plan and prepare for the day; Furman University, for a great location; and Go-Green Timing for helping us make this year’s event a hit.  We look forward to another great race next year and hope for an even bigger turnout!

For more event pictures, visit us on Facebook.