Nightlight on the Dr. Phil Show

This past Friday, April 25th, Nightlight Christian Adoptions’ Executive Director Daniel Nehrbass was a guest on the Dr. Phil Show, delivering some much needed good news to a couple caught up in the middle of a domestic adoption scam.

To learn more about how Nightlight’s Domestic, International, Foster and Embryo Adoption Programs can help you build your family please visit Nightlight.org.

Welcome Home from Romania Kleinhenz Family

On February 27, 2014 Alina and Kenneth Kleinhenz welcomed home their beautiful daughter Nora.

This is the first adoption of a Romanian child to a U.S. citizen in the past 10 years. Nightlight opened its Romania program in Fall of 2012 and the Kleinhenz’s were quick to apply to the program.

In order to adopt from Romania, one of the two parents needed to be of Romanian heritage – Alina is from Romania and still has many family members living there.

In a video released by the U.S. Embassy Bucharest the Kleinhenz family explained they are excited to be a part of this important event and to finally bring their daughter home.

“Adopting from Romania was completely natural for us because Alina’s family is all Romanian and living in San Diego, we have many Romanian friends and we want to keep the Romanian culture alive,” said Kenneth. “What better way to do that than by bringing a small child from Romania into our home.”

To learn more about the Nightlight Romania Adoption Program or any of our International Adoption Programs, please visit the Nightlight International Adoption Home Page.

Snowflakes Embryo Adoption Program Reaches 1,000 Donor Family

1000“I just want to know the couple who adopts my baby is going to be great parents.” That’s what Sarah said to me on the phone a couple days ago. You would expect that is a typical request from anyone considering an adoption plan. Less typical, however, was her next statement, “My baby has been at the University of Chicago for two years.” Her baby isn’t sick, nor is he a prodigious student. He is an embryo in frozen storage.

Sarah is not a pro-life activist, nor an activist for anything as far as I can tell. She is just a mother who feels tremendous responsibility. She wasn’t using carefully worded rhetoric; she was just speaking from the heart about her intuitive sense that her embryo deserves an opportunity for life in a loving home. The reason she called Nightlight is that she had confidence the Snowflake® program would find a well-vetted family to raise the child who is genetically related to her.

We celebrate this week the 1,000th donor family to begin this process with Snowflakes. We recognize that those one thousand couples have been torn among a variety of difficult options: continued storage, donation to research, disposition, or donation. Donation is not an easy choice…the thought of someone else raising a child genetically related to you evokes discomfort and fear. It is only when weighed against the other options that donation becomes a little easier.

Because all of these choices are difficult, most couples stay “on the fence” for years with no plan for the embryos, so indefinite storage becomes the implicit choice. What helps our donor couples finally get off the fence is our strong social work model, based on our 54-years as an adoption agency. Our donors have confidence that every Snowflake family will complete a quality home study, social workers will conduct the matching process, and the adoptive and donor couples will have an “open” relationship in the future. To every one of our thousand donor couples, I thank you for making this difficult, yet life-honoring decision.

–Daniel Nehrbass, Executive Director

We are very excited about receiving our 1,000th donor family. This represents nearly 5,000 embryos that have come through our program. That is a lot of embryos that have been given a chance at life.

–Kelly Poffenberger, Snowflakes Program Director

Best of Nightlight: Extraordinary Kids – Understanding Special Needs Adoption

cerebral Palsy“Focus on: Cerebral Palsy”

Many families pursuing international adoption are intimidated by the options, the process, as well as the potential challenges. So when a family hears about “special needs” adoption, they can feel completely overwhelmed.

But the truth is that most of these special needs are quite misunderstood and often can be corrected with minor treatments or training.

This week, we put a special focus on special needs adoption by taking a revealing look at cerebral palsy. The following was written by Joan Francis, an attorney whose expertise is in Family, Disability and Juvenile Law, and who has also adopted a special needs child.

“What is cerebral palsy (CP)?

Any situation involving any level of brain damage immediately before, during, or within about a year after birth is essentially by definition “cerebral palsy,” unless other diagnoses also apply. Typically this is due to deprivation of oxygen on a temporary basis or bleeding in the brain, which sometimes occurs in very premature infants.  Injury to the brain after a child is one year old is usually called TBI (traumatic brain injury) —for example: a blow to the head, near-drowning, shaken baby, etc.

Many with CP may have great difficulties in one area (such as severe dyslexia) but display almost photographic memory, dramatic intuitive thought, and comprehension, as well as  other unexpected gifts as well.

CP is a STABLE condition; it does not worsen, but can definitely improve over time. By itself it does not shorten life expectancy and so on. Continue reading

Happy Thanksgiving from Nightlight Christian Adoptions

In the midst of a busy holiday season Nightlight is excited share a few of the things our staff is thankful for this year, including the thousands of adoptive families who have decided to open their hearts and homes to orphans around the world. Below are a few of the things that made our lists in 2012.

Dan: I am thankful that God is wiser than I, and that he has frustrated my own plans so he can accomplish his own.

Rhonda: I’m thankful for my family and friends, a job and volunteer work I enjoy, pets who are always excited to see me, a home in sunny California and good health!

Kristen: This year I am especially thankful that God, in his faithful character, just seems to work everything out for good, even when it feels difficult along the way!

Kelly: I am continually thankful and awed by the men and women who selflessly place their babies or embryos for adoption. What an amazing gift to give someone the gift of the life of a child; each of the birthparents/genetic parents that we work with has put the life of their child above their own wants and has chosen to give them not only life, but to place them with another family. I will always be thankful for their generous, kind, selfless act of love.

Victory: I’m thankful for the devoted Nightlight staff that works so hard for each child to have a loving family. Especially, happy to have Sarah, our newest social worker. She is very devoted to her work with birthmothers.

Amy: I am thankful for my family. Continue reading

Coming soon: the 2011 Colorado Summer Tour from…

Group at Lilly LakeAs you probably already know, Nightlight Christian Adoptions has been bringing tour groups from orphanages in Russia nearly every summer since 1995.

These Summer Tour trips have been a special opportunity for kids to experience life in a U.S. family, perform traditional songs/dances in dozens of churches and venues and experience some of the most exciting activities Southern California has to offer.

Last year, Nightlight’s Tour program expanded even further, with the first Tour group coming to the state of Colorado. A group of  nine kids from St. Petersburg, Russia (see photo to right) enjoyed a full week in northern Colorado, performing at three local churches and enjoying local activities including hiking, fishing and horseback riding.

Local orphan ministry group Every Child Has a Name partnered with Nightlight in making this Tour visit an overwhelming success.

In 2011, we have some good news and some bad news regarding the Colorado Summer Tour. Continue reading

Families, staff make 2011 Nightlight Gala an overwhelming success

What happens when like-minded people come together for a night of great food and great fun in support of a great cause?

Great things, of course. And that’s exactly what happened this past Saturday, March 12th at the 2011 Nightlight Gala and Auction.

This year’s Gala was hosted at the elegant and comfortable Meridian Club in Fullerton, Calif. Over 160 people were in attendance, in addition to staff from all three of Nightlight’s offices, allowing families, supporters, board members and staff to celebrate together.

Highlighting the event were encouraging stories from three Nightlight families who have adopted internationally, domestically as well as through the Snowflakes Embryo Adoption program. These families shared stories of challenge but ultimate triumph in bringing their children home.

“It was so good to see how excited everyone was to be at the event, to meet new people and to see friends they hadn’t seen for a long time,” said Kate Zyubenko, Nightlight International Program Manager. “I was happy to see so many adopted children there, all of whom are doing just beautifully.” Continue reading

EAAC Premieres Must-See Videos on Successful Embryo Adoptions

You may be familiar with many of the services and programs Nightlight Christian Adoptions has to offer, from international adoption to domestic adoption to the Snowflakes Embryo Adoption program.

But did you know that Nightlight also operates a federal grant to increase public awareness of human embryo adoption? In 2007, the agency established the Embryo Adoption Awareness Center (EAAC) to manage all grant activities. These activities have included an informative web site, educational webinars and a yearly law student essay contest.

The EAAC has also produced many informative videos on this unique adoption alternative. This week, the program premieres three brand new videos sharing inspiring stories from Snowflake adoptive families.

Anyone who has considered alternative family building options will relate to some element in these stories. From multiple miscarriages to premature ovarian failure these families gave birth to their children as a result of choosing the extraordinary option of embryo donation and adoption.

So what are you waiting for? Click on the links below to hear these incredible stories – ones that are likely to change the way you think about this unique adoption option.

Hope Restored by Embryo Adoption

Mike and Son

Mike and Stephanie’s dreams of starting a family seemed dim after being diagnosed with male infertility factor. A family member told them about embryo adoption and the couple found new hope.

“My doctor was hopeful that I could carry a baby to term and have a successful pregnancy. We didn’t pursue IVF because that wasn’t an option for us or any other fertility treatments. (Embryo Adoption)  just seemed like a perfect fit for us and it ended up being a great avenue for us into starting our family.” [Stephanie]

Now after two successful pregnancies through embryo adoption, Mike and Stephanie have two healthy boys and took time to share how it all happened. Continue reading