Welcome to THROUGH EMMA’S EYES (aka TEE), a 501c3, non-profit organization recognized by the South Carolina Secretary of State and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. We award financial grants and scholarships to all South Carolina parties of the Adoption Triad (adoptive parents, adoptees and birth parents). If you are in the process of adopting or if you have already adopted a child who needs therapy or special services, you are eligible to apply. Birth mothers are also eligible.
Each year requests for financial assistance, up to $1,000 have been reviewed and awarded by the established TEE Endowment Committee to adoptive families. Birth mothers who have placed their children for adoption have also been able to complete their education with the help of Through Emma’s Eyes' scholarships.
Our Endowment Committee awards grants and scholarships ranging from $500 to $1,000 for:
- Prospective adoptive parents who needed additional money to fund their adoptions
- Adoptive parents who require specialized services, such as speech, occupational or physical therapies for their adopted children (regardless of parents' income) and
- Birth mothers who need emergency assistance or who need financial aid to return to school to obtain specialized training or a college degree.
If you would like to apply for a grant or scholarship, please fill out our Grant Application form then return it to us via US mail or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Endowment Committee will review your application and let you know our decision within two weeks. If approved, a check will be mailed directly to your home study provider, your child’s service provider or your institution of higher learning.
History of the Organization
THROUGH EMMA’S EYES (aka TEE) was founded by Judy Thornton in 2003. According to Judy:
"THROUGH EMMA’S EYES was inspired after the birth and adoption of Emma, a baby girl born in Antigua, Guatemala. Emma was named after my maternal grandmother, Emma Foley Stroud. My grandmother was the epitome of grace and humility. I have heard it said that the eyes are the windows of the soul. Emma was placed into my arms on December 7, 2002. I looked in her eyes and I heard this still, small voice say, you thought this was about one adoption but it is so much more."
Subsequently, Judy's story inspired two other couples to adopt from Guatemala. Judy and her husband, Butch went on to adopt Jacob five months later and Katherine three years later.
In 2010, THROUGH EMMA’S EYES primary focus evolved to include awarding financial grants to prospective and adoptive parents, as well as birth mothers. When Judy decided to step down as acting CEO of TEE in 2012, Denice Fisher was asked to take over the management of the organization and endowment program. Today the organization continues to assist all parties in the adoption and promotes orphan awareness and relief efforts.
Our organization consist of adoptive and birth parents, social workers, nurses and other professionals who have been involved with families for over 25 years. The members of THROUGH EMMA’S EYES are all volunteers who are passionate about helping adoptive families.
Comments from Grant and Scholarship Recipients
From Adoptive Parents
My husband, Robbie and I received an adoption grant right before our adopted son, J was born. It was a HUGE help to our family. We raised most of the money for his adoption by writing support letters, doing yard sales, and fundraisers but we still needed to come up with money as quick as possible because our son's adoption was an emergency adoption. When we received this grant we were able to pay the rest of our attorney fees along with the other adoption charges. It was such an answered prayer to our family. Still to this day we are so grateful for the grant we received and the generosity it showed to our family.
We have received two grants from Through Emma's Eyes, one for each of our sons. Both times, the money came to us just when we needed it most, and helped us to complete each adoption. Receiving word that we'd been chosen for this grant program was like a beacon of hope, reminding us that the path we had chosen to reach parenthood was the right one for our family. We couldn't be more grateful!
We've all heard the horror stories of excessively long adoption processes and even failed adoptions. Unfortunately, due to bureaucracy and corruption, we found ourselves in each of these scenarios throughout the 6 years we fought to get our daughter home. The most heart-wrenching was finding ourselves starting over after losing a 4-year battle. At this point, we were heart-broken, discouraged, and financially bled dry. The fundraisers had been successful, but the monies long gone and our friends and loved ones often trying to discourage us from starting again. However, my daughter wouldn't understand - nor should she ever have to - why she couldn't come home with Mom and Dad. So, with heavy hearts and faith barely the size of a mustard seed, we began again. It was at this point that Through Emma's Eyes gave us a grant to help with the new home study. Not only was this a huge help in getting us started when we needed it most, but this was a channel God used to speak to our hearts. With this gift, we knew He was going to work it out. He knew where the money would come from and He knew not only that our daughter would come home, but when she would come home. That was enough for us to step out once more on blind faith and trust that He would catch us. Exactly two years after we were awarded our grant, we made our 26th trip to visit our daughter, but this time she came home with us! Thank you Through Emma's Eyes!
In November, 2012, our family was completing the adoption of our second daughter from China. Both girls were special medical needs adoptions. The adoption process was costly but their medical care was even more so. We were very excited when we becaome aware of the Through Emma's Eyes grant. We applied and a short time later received a sizeable grant. What a blessing!
Comments from Birth Parent Recipients
Thank you so much for the grant! The money helped to pay for my nursing school tuition this semester. I would not have been able to attend as a full time student without your help. It really means a lot! I will now be able to graduate on time.
I took the real estate course I needed for my job because of your grant program. I really appreciate the financial assistance from Through Emma's Eyes.