Playing My Greek Adoption

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June 22, 2008 Adult Adoptee, Lori Weinstein, searching for Greek Roots through news and interviews. Discussed is the stolen babies/black market Greek adoption scandal from the 1950's.

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Tales of Stolen Babies And Lost Identities;A Greek Scandal Echoe

from: nytimes.com

April 13, 1996
RAYMOND BONNER
The baby girl, swaddled in rags, was abandoned on the steps of an orphanage in Patras, Greece, with a simple note giving her name (Maria Ioannou), date of birth (Aug. 15, 1955) and a plea that she be fed.

At least that is what official papers say, papers that allowed her to be adopted by a family in Holliswood, Queens. She arrived at Idlewild Airport aboard Swissair Flight 850 at 9:15 A.M. on Dec. 28, 1955.

Forty years later, Maxine Deller -- she has used that name since her adoption -- says she believes that much of her official past is a lie. Ms. Deller, a car saleswoman in Queens, is convinced that her natural mother is still alive, that she has brothers and sisters in Greece, and that she was not abandoned at all but was illegally adopted as part of a large-scale baby-selling scheme at several municipal orphanages in Greece.

To adopt Maria Ioannou, George and Joanna Deller paid $1,000 to a prominent New York magistrate, who was later indicted on charges of conspiracy.

Last year, a national scandal erupted in Greece after several people told their stories of illegal adoption on a popular television show there. Since then, hundreds of adopted children, their siblings and parents who put their children in orphanages have been poring over records in Athens, Thessaloniki in northern Greece and Patras, a sprawling port on the Peloponnesus.

And while the institutions in those cities are considered well-run today, suspicions run high that they operated a baby-selling racket from the 1930's to the 1970's.

In Greece, those who think they are victims of a scheme have formed a group, the Association for the Search for Children Adopted Without the Consent of Their Natural Parents, to unite adopted children and their natural families. And from New York to California, Greek-Americans like Ms. Deller have formed an Internet support group as they search for their pasts.

In the 1950's, Greece was impoverished in the wake of World War II and a bitter civil war. Many families who could not afford to keep their children put them in the orphanages, some with the intent of eventually reclaiming them.

Child advocates say the illegal adoption schemes relied on a winding trail of false documents. In some cases, parents who had put a child in an orphanage would be told that the child had died, and be given fake death certificates. Other times, adoptive parents would be given a false document saying that a child's natural mother had died, paving the way for an adoption. While no one knows how many children may have been adopted through falsified records, hundreds, if not thousands, are thought to have come to the United States.

Greek officials have promised investigations, and in February, the Mayor of Patras announced that all files in that city would be opened. But association leaders complained that their efforts to obtain files were meeting resistance. Their search has been complicated by the fact that most of those thought to have been involved, from doctors and nurses to priests and orphanage officials, are now dead.

In her search for the truth about her natural parents, Amalia Balch of Phoenix, who helped found the Patras arm of the Search for Children group, said she had faced "lies, secrecy, denial, smoke screens, threats and much anger."

Ms. Balch, 45, who has been to Greece four times in the last 10 years, has put together a list of 35 children from the municipal nursery in Patras who were adopted by American families and whose suspiciously identical files, she said, reported that the children were illegitimate and had been abandoned. That is what her papers said when she was adopted by a Los Angeles family in the 1950's.

A hint of irregularity reached New York in 1959 when Stephen S. Scopas, a magistrate who had been appointed by Mayor Robert F. Wagner and who was active in Greek-American civic, political and religious circles, was indicted on charges of selling 30 Greek children to New York couples. In a scandal that captured front-page headlines, Mr. Scopas was charged with accepting payment for placing the children and for doing so without authorization.

It was to Mr. Scopas that Maxine Deller's adoptive parents paid $1,000, according to a letter from him that her parents, now deceased, left in her possession.

Though forced to resign, Mr. Scopas was acquitted. A judge ruled that because the adoptions had been legal in Greece -- as it was believed at the time -- Mr. Scopas could not be convicted in New York.

Mr. Scopas, now 85, is still living in Queens. His wife, Cleoniko, said that he is suffering from Alzheimer's disease and could not comment, but added that the charges against him were false.

In Athens, Christo Pantelidis, who runs a photography studio, has been on a crusade of sorts, reviewing records at nurseries, compiling related documents and talking with those involved. He estimates that at least 2,000 Greek children were adopted by American families in the 1950's without their natural parents' permission. In 1954, he points out, 1,400 adoptees sailed to the United States aboard one ship alone, the Greek liner Queen Frederika.

Mr. Pantelidis's mission began last year after watching a television program on which a Thessaloniki lawyer revealed her suspicions of having been illegally adopted. In 1949, Mr. Pantelidis's mother had checked into a clinic with complications after the birth of her son Yannis. She took Yannis with her to the clinic, where she died. When Mr. Pantelidis's father went to fetch Yannis, he was told the child had died, too.

His own suspicions newly aroused, Mr. Pantelidis, 46, began searching records for his brother. Last year, he found a document in the Thessaloniki nursery saying that Yannis had been taken there by an unknown person; other papers said he had been brought by his father. One document said he had been rebaptized as Paul; another said he had died. Finally, he found a document saying that his brother had been adopted, and he tracked him down.

"He's a real copy of my father," Mr. Pantelidis said with a big grin, recalling his reaction when he first saw his brother.

In the last year in the United States, an informal network has slowly sprouted among Greek-American children of the 1950's to help one another find their natural parents.

Constantina Altobello was adopted by a Westchester County family that was told that her natural parents had died in an earthquake on the island of Zante in 1954. Now living in California, she is communicating on the Internet with 15 other Greek-Americans searching for their parents.

Ms. Deller, who says her adopted parents gave her a "wonderful life," is nonetheless eager to know her past. She put a notice on the Internet and has been contacted by four people who believe they may also have been illegally adopted.

Sitting around a dining room table on a recent Sunday afternoon in Queens, a friend of Ms. Deller's, Lori Weinstein, talked of the tragic past that drives her search.

According to adoption papers signed by an official at the American Embassy in Greece, Ms. Weinstein was born on April 15, 1958, and was named Maria at birth -- "That's Jane Doe in Greece," she said.

Last year, after publicity in Greece over the adoptions, Ms. Weinstein gave a Greek-American friend the power of attorney to look at her documents in Greece and to talk with people who might know about her past.

"I don't know how to tell you this, but I believe that you were stolen from the hospital," she says her friend told her. "I also believe you have a twin."

It was often the case, Mr. Pantelidis said, that a twin was taken so that the mother would be left with a child.

Ms. Weinstein's adoptive parents paid $4,000 for her -- a large amount at the time. The going rate was $1,000 to $2,000. Her adoptive parents paid more, she said, because her mother had a history of mental illness that rendered the couple unable to adopt in the United States.

Her adoptive mother, a paranoid schizophrenic, died of hepatitis two years ago. Her father and stepmother died a year ago.

"This year has probably been the worst year of my life," said Ms. Weinstein, a counselor for homeless children who lives in Brooklyn. "I need to find my family. It's more than want, it's need, in order for me to go on with the next part of my life. I need to know somebody looks like me. I want to know if somebody has my sense of humor, my knees, my smile.

"I would like to be able to say the word 'mother' and really feel it in my heart."

Serving the mentally ill -- in who's "best interest?"

We're told adoption is the loving option that puts the child's needs first.

Ms. Weinstein's adoptive parents paid $4,000 for her -- a large amount at the time. The going rate was $1,000 to $2,000. Her adoptive parents paid more, she said, because her mother had a history of mental illness that rendered the couple unable to adopt in the United States.

What does it say about an industry that closes it's parenting opportunities in one country, but makes it legal and optional in another?

The sick and twisted irony of this situation is knowing children are taken AWAY from mentally ill mothers because CPS sees such parents as a threat and danger to young lives.

Where is the Divine Justice in this system?

I was in Patras orphanage

i would love to talk with other people from the same orphanage, I came over in July of 1956 through AHEPA, I have some good photos of the children when we arrived in New York, I can be reached at deantcapitalpa@aol.com

trying to help other greek orphans

Can you please email me back; maybe with some information how I can help 3 other greek ladies who were adopted with me at the same time find their greek relatives s

Tylerite Rediscovers Family in Home Country of Greece
By TAMMY BRATUSEK
Special to the
Tyler Courier-Times--Telegraph

The Backstory

When we were very small children, my brother and I were separated in Greece where we were born.

Unfortunately, our father died post war in Greece and left our mother destitute and unable to feed us. So our mother was forced to put me up for adoption, and he was given to an uncle.

Fortunately, I was adopted by an American family in San Antonio — George and Marcia Bratusek. They gave me a beautiful and enriching life. I am here today educated and happy, thanks to them.

To my surprise, when I was 23 years old, my brother contacted me and we met for the first time in Vera Cruz, Mexico. He was employed with a Greek Cargo ship The Argolikos and was able to obtain permission from the Greek Captain and the Mexican government for me to travel on board the ship for two weeks with 200 other sailors. I was the only woman on board, and I was treated like royalty.

My brother and I made plans for me to travel to Greece the next year to meet my biological mother and the rest of my family. We reunited after all these years, and it was an overwhelming event — one I will never forget.

After an extended stay, I did return to the United States and proceeded on with my life and always staying in contact with my brother through letters and phone calls. My brother, Grigorious, even came to San Antonio to visit me after I left Greece. No matter what happened in our lives, we always planned to never be separated again.

Time Goes On — The Air

Time passed and I married and had a child, and we moved to Ruidoso, New Mexico, and lived there for several years, all the while, still staying in touch with my brother. But after awhile, my husband and child and I decided to move to Corpus Christi. During that transition, I lost Grigorious' address and was no longer able to contact him. I became distressed, and ever since then I tried to locate him with no success and the chances of ever seeing my brother again.

After 28 years, one extraordinary Sunday morning several months ago, I received a call at 9:30 a.m. It was from the executive producer of the Nikolouli TV station in Athens, Greece, asking about my brother Grigorious, they asked me many detailed questions pertaining to my brother, and I told her the whole story about how we met after 23 years and how we lost touch. She asked me to send some pictures of him.

Fortunately, I work for the Tyler Morning Telegraph and had the help from my co-workers to download the pictures and e-mail them. I guess a week had gone by, and I received another phone call from one of the reporters from the Nikolouli TV station wanting me to send all my documents of my adoption and proof of who I was.

At first the reporter told me the station was going to air a broadcast to see if they could find my brother with all the proof of documentation and pictures I had sent them.

The Nikolouli Television has a show called the “Light In The Tunnel,” which is based on finding missing people. (How they knew how to find me is still a enigma.) Anyway, they aired the show in search for my brother and then contacted me saying that they think I should come over and help with the search.

Immediately, I told them, “I had to get a passport and it would take up to three weeks.” They said to do it right away.

This was more than a dream come true — this was a miracle. After all these years of searching, I now have a National TV television station of Athens, Greece, helping me find my brother again.

Pause for Identification

All the arrangements were made for me. The TV station financed the whole trip and all I had to do is go on National TV and say to more than 1 million people, “If you have seen or know of my brother, Grigorious, let him know that his sister is searching for him and our family. I am here in Greece. Please contact the TV show.”

It all seemed too easy.

I had to be in Athens, Greece, on June 25, as the show aired on June 26. So all I was waiting for was my passport. The flight was scheduled to leave June 24 from Tyler.

On June 13, I received a letter from the Houston Passport Agency they required more proof of my American Citizenship. This meant my passport maybe detained. My heart sunk. I thought to myself, “What more does the United States need?” I have had a passport before. I have lived in here since I was almost 2 years old. I was naturalized as a Greek American citizen since 1960 and have been an avid voter since I was 18 years old.

So with the stress of desperately trying to find my brother and our family, now I was confronted with the problem. Once again, I asked the Lord for help to overcome the dilemma.

I had five business days to receive my passport. There was no way I was giving up. I had struggled for 28 years to find my brother and family, and I knew in my heart I would find the answer. Even though I came to a dead end with the passport agency and with immigration, there was someone out there that could help me, I just knew it. I was bound and determined not to disappoint the Nikolouli TV station as they provided me with the stepping stone for my search.

On June 16 a dear friend referred me to the office of Kay Bailey Hutchison, our United States Senator. I call the office and was connected to the Passport Assistance Department and there was were I found my guardian angel Carolyn Kobey the “Goddess of Visas and Immigration.”

Carolyn spent days researching my citizenship knowing time was running out. She was finally able to obtain all the proof she needed and called Washington, D.C., and that was the grease to oil the squeaky wheel.

On June 22 at 9:30 a.m., I received my passport via Fedex overnight one day before my departure. I was finally able to breathe and to regain my strength for my search. My dream was finally coming true.

Smooth Landing

I finally made it to Greece, and when I approached the entrance of the airport I was greeted by the Nikolouli TV station reporter and camera crew. They did an interview with me bout my anticipation of searching for my brother and our family I told them I was ready to take on the search, and if we did meet, for them to show me to the kitchen — the best part of the house for family gatherings.

I had to be at the TV station at 9 a.m. Friday, so I wanted to be fresh and alert. As the show did not air until 11 p.m., I was escorted from the hotel to the TV station, where they did my hair and makeup and prepped me for the show.

I also had an English interpreter because the show was all in Greek. I was directed to the couch and hooked up to a mic and sat there until it was time to go on air, now remembering I had no idea who I was going to meet, if I met anybody at all.

When the show started, Christina (the talk show host), presented a video of pictures I sent them of me, my son and Mom and Dad in San Antonio and pictures of my brother and his wife and child and the interview at the airport. Talk about emotional, but I think I held my own pretty well. When I would get choked up, I would just take deep breaths.

The English interpreter began to explain to me that they did find somebody, and at that point I knew it was my brother. That is when the emotions started to roll, the first to come out was my brothers wife, Irene, and my sister, Ellafathia, and of course, that is when all the hugs and kisses began.

All of a sudden, another brother came out, Yanni, and then another brother came out, George. By then, I was overwhelmed and got off the couch and ran over to George and embraced him. It was all amazing.

Unfortunately, the brother I had been looking for was in Brazil on the Greek cargo ship because he had to work. I found out our mother died 12 years ago.

My brother Grigorious and I have the same mother and father and the other siblings are my half brothers and sisters, but none the less, we are all family and it was beautiful.

Elated

This was the most joyous and incredible experience I ever felt, other than giving birth to my son. So after the show was over, we thanked Christina, for bringing us all together again. I could never repay such a beautiful act of human kindness.

After a good night sleep I got up Saturday morning and George picked me up from the hotel and I checked out. From there, we went to Yanni's house and I met his wife and little girl.

Next, we went to George's home on the island just outside of Athens. From the time we arrived, everyone came out of the woodwork to greet me. I met my other sisters and brothers, and it was quite a reunion. We danced, laughed, sang ate and drank until the wee hours of the morning.

They said, “Christina (which also happens to be my birth-given name), you stay here in Greece and we will build you a home and you never have to work.”

Now that is a family! I felt like I never wanted to leave, as they made me feel so loved and wanted. I really felt sad about my brother Grigorious not be able to join us and our mother, but I knew they were there in spirit.

After everyone went to bed, I just laid in my room for the longest time with the cool Aegean Sea Breeze blowing through the open window. I felt like it was a lullaby singing me to sleep.

The whole adventure was like a dream, I want to sleep but I did not want this journey and the accomplishment of my search to go away.

Sunday morning came too quickly, and George and my other brother sat around the kitchen table and talked about maybe staying at least one more day. George tried to reschedule my flight out for Monday to no avail.

It was getting close to the time to leave, so I took a deep breath, looked into their eyes and said, “I will be back.” Then I told everyone goodbye, that I loved them and I would never lose contact again. I told them they could come to my home in Texas, too. George and I loaded up and headed to the airport to much of our dismay.

Coming Home

When we got to the airport, George stayed with me until it was time to catch my flight.

As I walked away, I turn around several times to see him standing there. It was so sad to say goodbye after such a long search, and after only having one day to be with my family after 28 years.

The flight back was solemn and quiet. It all seemed so surreal, I just did not want to let go, and neither did my family. It was the longest flight I have ever felt to know I had come home — and yet I was home.

I defiantly did a lot of soul searching, but in a funny way, I felt an accomplishment of a long, hard journey of a challenge I thought I would never be able to accomplish. But with determination and perseverance, I defeated all odds with the help of some very beautiful people.

Arriving back in Tyler and walking into my own home, the phone rang. My brothers and sisters in Greece called me to see if I made it back home safely. That said it all about my journey.

My families will always be my families whether it is in San Antonio, Tyler or Athens, Greece. No matter the distance, I will always be truly blessed to know I have a strong bond of love and support, as no one can replace the family.

i am goin through the same

i am goin through the same problem i was born in greece in 1985 my family brought me to the states cuz thats where they lived at the time..... so i became a citizen. we moved back to greece in 1991 my mother has a stroke in 94 so we send her back to the states for better medical attention aas i remain in greece with my father n e ways in 1999 we go back to the states......father dies in 2002 im left alone to stay wit my aunt and uncle...n e ways in 2010 i get arrested and i get a immigration hold on me n wways i decide not to fight it and get deported whatever as i was in jail they told me that i was supposedly adopted...i live in greece now and have went to the hospital i was born and have found some information not much just a 1st name and where my mother is from what village....so idk what to do...i have found out in the 80s here in greece it was considered shame to have a baby at a really young age i found out she had me at 16 so that would mean my mother would be 42 since i am 26,she could of had me born as a secret so if she has remarried and has kids and i start looking for her asking it might cause a problem....i dont want anything from my mother i just want to kno who they are.............. i am finincially stable but i have been alone pretty much hlf my life now..and feel lonely...i dont kno what to do....go to this village and start chaos, or get some help to find out for me

Go to the village and

Go to the village and research...they don't need to know who you are... maybe say you are writing a book or newspapaer article about the area. Find out who your mother is..your siblings... When you find this out you can probably get more information about them on the internet... Facebook etc. ... Then you can decide if you want to go further. If I was you were my brother or sister...I would want to know you... but I understand everyone is in a different life situation... Anyway - do some research... Best of Luck to you- Vicki

Greek adoptee

I have a twin sister and we were adopted from Metera Orphange in Athens in March 1960. We were born on January 28, 1959. We would like to find our birth mother and/or family. We know her name and have our adoption papers from Greece. How do we start to find them? Any help is much appreciated. Thank You!

p.s. Also, when we were in the orphanage, Princess Sophia of Greece was my personal nurse. She is now Queen Sophia of Spain. Any suggestions on how to get help from her?

Niece of a lost uncle

My dad is an identical twin born in Salonika Greece. Family name Kakogiannakis.
He was born 16th March, 1946.
My grandmother was told that the other twin died at birth, however she was never allowed to view the body. The family later found out that this was a trend and babies were being sold/adopted on the black market.
The hospital where he was born has since burned down and consequently all paper work has also been lost.
I hope someone has information that can help me and my family find out what happened or the whereabouts of my uncle.
Thankyou for any information.
.

Niece of a Lost uncle

I've created a facebook website for my dad. As he's an identical twin, i'm hoping someone in America or somewhere in the world.. may have seen his brother who hopefully looks a lot like him.
http://www.facebook.com/stephen.kakogiannakis

Lost 1st cousin (female)

Hi my name is Anjie My parents were born in Greece they came to Australia in the early 60s my mother just recently told me a story that her sister had give birth to a girl in the late 50s in Thessalonika and she was born healthy, my aunty was then told when the child was taken away that she had died no one believed this but in those days there was not much you could do ( I GUESS ). If this is true then this baby was stolen and i also have a first cousin out there and she has 2 brothers. My auntie name was Zaharoula ( Fotiou maiden name) Arvanitidis she has past on her sons names are Georgo and Taso Arvanitidis and husband Asimis Arvanitidis . I could not believe my mum never brought this up , she just thought theres nothing you can do , well im going to try too. I just dont know what i can do with the little information that i have. thanks Anjie

Greece's Black-Market Babies Come Home -- Stolen Children Demand

from: seattletimes.nwsource.com

September 22, 1996
By Nikos Konstandaras
AP

ATHENS, Greece - Forty-one years ago a frightened Greek child of 5, stolen from her mother, landed in America to begin a new life.

Raised in an orphanage and by foster parents and told her mother had died in childbirth, young Amalia Balch and dozens of other children that October were herded aboard an airplane in Greece.

When the plane landed in New York City, adults streamed on board to claim the children they knew only by photographs, the kids they had adopted by proxy.

"I remember being very sick, and a plane full of children . . . and being very scared," she says.

Today, at age 45, Amalia Balch still doesn't know if she was a black-market baby, if her adoptive parents paid money for her. She hasn't pressed the point, but she suspects they did.

Over the past 10 years and five trips to the country of her birth, she has learned some truths about her roots. First she learned that she was stolen from her unmarried mother at birth.

And recently she was reunited for the first time with dozens of her blood relatives in her mother's home village.

Balch is one of thousands of people who now suspect that as infants they were sold in the baby black market that flourished in Greece for more than a decade after the 1946-49 civil war.

A baby for $1,000

Almost half a century later, there's no reliable way to determine how many children were taken from poor parents and sold, both in Greece and abroad, in Canada, Australia, Sweden and South Africa, as well as the United States.

In 1959, a New York magistrate, Stephen Scopas, was indicted but later acquitted on charges of selling 30 Greek children to American couples.

Maxine Deller of Long Island, N.Y., says her adoptive parents, George and Jean Deller, paid $1,000 to Scopas when she was adopted in 1955. She said she learned this in a letter from Scopas left in her possession after her adoptive parents died.

An angry Deller is headed for Greece, she says, to "knock down some doors" in an effort to find her birth mother.

Greek authorities in Patras, where she was born, "are putting up a big resistance to opening the files."

"I want this exposed," she says. "I want this exposed big time."

Now people such as Balch and Deller are banding together, forming organizations and even searching the Internet to get at their roots.

"They say more than 2,000 children went to the United States," says Eleni Liarakou, chairman of the Association for the Investigation and Uncovering of Evidence of Adopted Children.

But Liarakou acknowledges that figure may be hearsay, as is so much other information about the scandal.

Neither the U.S. Embassy in Athens nor the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), the pre-eminent Greek-American organization involved in war relief at the time, have records from those years.

Mother believed her baby died

Balch, who lives in Phoenix, Ariz., with her husband and 22-year-old son, learned only recently that her mother had died a year after her birth, thinking Amalia had been stillborn.

Someone had lied to her mother and her family and taken the baby to a foster home in the nearby port city of Patras. Five years later, the girl was sent to America. Amalia's new parents in Los Angeles were told the mother had died giving birth.

Balch began piecing her story together in 1985, when, during a tour, she went to visit the Patras maternity clinic and orphanage where she'd started life.

There, however, an employee informed her that the register contained neither a death certificate for her mother nor an adoption release for her.

This year, on her fifth visit, Balch found her closest living relatives - first cousins - and learned her mother's fate. She still does not know who her father was.

Her mother's village of Neapolis, near Patras, held a big celebration for her at which she counted about 100 relatives.

"Finally you feel as if you've connected. You were disconnected and you came together," she said in an interview in Athens.

In the past year, Greek news media have presented many stories of families uniting with children believed to have died at birth but who'd been brought up in other parts of Greece.

Hope and tattered documents

Each day, 20 or 30 people register with Liarakou's association. More than 6,000 people have signed on since the group was formed in March.

They clutch tattered documents and the hope of finding children they had considered dead or the parents they thought had abandoned them.

Typically, the parents were told by doctors or nurses that their baby had died, but they were given no body or death certificate. Decades ago, such authority was not questioned.

Success seems to depend on luck and the correlation of evidence from both sides - child and parents.

"First, we ask for the child's birth certificate and death certificate," says Liarakou, a travel agent by profession. "Then we go to the clinic and ask for the whole medical history that they have for each case. Then we wait and see who might turn up looking from the other side."

Liarakou herself is looking for a sister who was said to have died three days after birth in 1960, although no death certificate was issued.

Case of the baby brokers

In the 1959 case in New York, Scopas, a prominent Greek-American, was forced to resign as a magistrate over allegations that he was dealing in black-market babies.

"Back in 1956, word got around that Scopas was in the baby-selling business. One couple told another and there was a regular procession to his office," then-District Attorney Frank Hogan told The New York Times in 1959. "When they went there, they were shown photographs of Greek orphans and they selected the babies."

Prospective parents paid up to $2,800 for a child, Hogan contended.

The charges were dropped in 1960 when a judge ruled that the adoptions had been carried out legally in Greece. Scopas, now 85 and living in New York City, continues to maintain his innocence.

Balch says she has had a happy life with her adoptive family but wants to help other Greek adoptees who believe they were sold as babies and sent to unfit parents in America.

"I'm dealing with people whose lives are destroyed and fragmented," she says. "They don't want to come back and fight and punish people. All they want to know is the truth."

A Sense of Belonging

from: people.com

October 28, 1996 Vol. 46 No. 18
Thomas Fields-Meyer

Separated from Their Mothers Four Decades Ago in What May Have Been a Widespread, Illegal Adoption Scheme, Three American Women Make An Emotional Journey to Greece in Search of the Families. They Never Knew

JAYNE BERNSTEIN'S CHILDHOOD—complete with piano lessons, school plays and time as a junior high cheerleader—was just about perfect. Except for one gnawing issue. "I felt like I never really belonged," she says. "I was somehow different from everyone in my family." Her feeling was more than just intuition. Born in Greece, Bernstein had been adopted as a toddler by a Teaneck, N.J., couple, who told her lovingly from the time she was small where she had come from and how they had chosen her to be their cherished daughter. "I did feel special," says Bernstein, now 40. "But I always wondered about the mysterious woman who had me."

Then last fall, Bernstein's husband, Eric, told her of a TV news report revealing that thousands of Greek children may have been illegally sold to U.S. families in the 1950s—without their parents' permission. Recognizing the name of the lawyer mentioned in the report from her own adoption records, Bernstein says, "I started to cry." She was even more anguished when she learned the full story. In the '50s, still recovering from the dislocations of World War II and the Greek Civil War that followed, hundreds—perhaps thousands—of poverty-stricken couples and unwed mothers left their infants in children's shelters or hospitals for safekeeping. Later, when they tried to reclaim their babies, many were told the children were gone or had died. Unaccustomed to questioning authority, most believed the stories. In fact, many of the children had been sold—shipped to America and other countries, where unwitting couples paid steep black-market fees to adopt them.

Bernstein, now a singer and the mother of three daughters, wasn't the only adoptee riveted by news of the scandal, which involved doctors, lawyers and hospital officials. When a Greek TV program broke the story in May 1995—after a Greek lawyer raised questions about her own adoption records—it caused a furor. The Greek government stepped in, ordering the release of thousands of files from hospitals and orphanages. "It was on the news every day, on talk shows, everywhere," says Fanis Papathanasio of the Greek state TV network. In the U.S., hundreds of the adoptees—now men and women near middle age—sought each other out, formed support groups and contacted Greek organizations working to reunite families. Bernstein reached one such Greek group last June. Three weeks later she was told the identity of her birth mother—Sophia Kefalou, now 63 and living in a small town in southern Greece. "It's like a raging storm has subsided," says Bernstein. "I know where I came from."

In September, with two other adoptees who had become friends—Andrea Friedman, 40, of Queens, N.Y., and Maxine Deller, 41, of Elmont, N.Y.—Bernstein traveled to Greece in search of her roots. At the Athens airport, Kefalou greeted her long-lost daughter. "My happiness is indescribable," Kefalou says. "God does make miracles happen." She was 23 when she gave birth to Bernstein—born Christina—on April 4, 1956, in Corinthos. The girl's father had promised to marry Kefalou, but then refused after learning her family couldn't afford a dowry. Forsaken by disapproving friends and relatives, the young mother ventured to Athens, where she placed the baby in a children's home. Told to leave when the girl reached 4 months, Kefalou returned to her village to reconcile with her family; when she came back a few months later to retrieve the baby, "I was told she was not there," she recalls. "I had not signed any documents. I was illiterate. I had no support, no money. What could I do?"

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, Gilbert and Caryle Alexander, now 70 and 67, who had a 6-year-old son but had lost two babies—a girl just 24 hours old and a 22-month-old son stricken with cancer—wanted desperately to adopt a child. After seeing a news story about Greek adoptions, they contacted a Greek lawyer, who soon sent news of an 18-month-old girl. "We were elated; we were walking on the clouds," Gilbert recalls. The elation ended when the child arrived three months later, in February 1958, so ill from malnutrition and pneumonia that the Alexanders drove from the airport to a pediatrician's office. At first unable even to chew, with time she grew healthy. "She was a beautiful child," says Caryle.

The Alexanders never suspected the adoption might have been illegal and were shocked by recent news of the scandal. After four decades, "we never thought of her as adopted," says Gilbert. "We were extremely frightened of losing her." Ultimately they came around, realizing, says Caryle, that Jayne wouldn't "give up 40 years of love because she found her natural mother. There's enough to go around for everyone." For her part, Bernstein felt relief at reuniting with her birth mother. "Finally the pieces of the puzzle are in place," she says.

Andrea Friedman's life, too, has fallen into place. Her adoptive parents, Henry Friedman, now 74, and his wife Pearl, who died in 1978, tried to conceive a child for a decade. A friend led them to a Greek lawyer who was arranging adoptions for $2,000. "We were told the children were from an orphanage," says Friedman, a retired jewelry manufacturer.

What they didn't know was the true history of the girl they adopted, whose Greek name was Maria. Her mother, Katerina, now 57, had given birth out of wedlock in a small village outside Epirus. Like Kefalou, she had fled to Athens, living with an aunt until a welfare agency advised her to place the infant in a children's home until Katerina could support her. "I never imagined they'd give her away," says Katerina, who, forbidden direct contact, visited daily to watch her daughter through a window. "One day I went there and I didn't see her anymore," she recalls. "A nurse took pity on me and said, 'Don't wait. They gave the children to Americans.' Losing her pained me tremendously." Yet, feeling powerless and despondent, she could do nothing.

Andrea, who oversees group homes for mentally disabled youths, had never sought her birth parents. But hearing last April of the scandal, she contacted a Greek organization, which found her mother in just two weeks. Soon she was communicating with Katerina—now married with two grown daughters. Though she was initially anxious about visiting, says Friedman, "as soon as I saw her eyes, I knew it was right." The feeling was mutual, says Katerina: "My happiness reaches the sky."

That sort of joy continues to elude Maxine Deller, who returned home from Greece with her origins still a mystery. She grew up in Elmont, just east of New York City, the only child of George Deller, an insurance broker, and Jeanne, a homemaker. Though it was a loving home, she always felt out of place. "I always felt Greek," she says. "I love Greek music. I love Greek foods, the smells, the noises."

As a girl she also adored her parents' story of her arrival from Greece on an airplane—but didn't know that to get her they had paid $1,000 to a Greek-American lawyer, Stephen Scopas, who was later indicted on baby-selling charges. (Though forced to resign his post as New York City magistrate in 1959, he was acquitted since it was believed that the adoptions were legal in Greece.) Both adoptive parents died by the time she was 26, and she floundered, quitting college and taking various jobs. Since 1986 she has sold cars for Conway Motors in Baldwin, N.Y.

Though Greek groups were unable to secure information about her birth parents, Deller was determined to try. Two days after arriving in Athens, she drove with Friedman and Bernstein to her birthplace, the port city of Patras. Remarkably, in a record book still at the orphanage—now a school—she found the note that accompanied her on Oct. 4, 1955, when she was left there. "Her name is Maria," it read. "Please feed her lest she will die." Says Deller: "I was in shock." Yet the book yielded no other leads, and a week later she returned home, where she continues her search.

Before the trip, Deller had bought a golden heart, broken in two, hoping to wear one half and give the other to her birth mother. "I thought that would be very special," she says. "I didn't want to have to bring it home." Now all she wants are some answers. "The other kids, they heard from their mothers, 'I tried to get you back.' I want to hear that.... Just tell me something."

THOMAS FIELDS-MEYER
TOULA VLAHOU in Athens MARIA EFTIMIADES in New York and MARISA SALCINES in Miami

To Belong

Thank you so much for posting these stories!  My heart chokes me with pain, but this pain needs to be felt.  Because I was
always made to feel different by my own parents, that part of me aches with these grown children who only want the same thing: To Belong.

IN A WORLD OF WHY,
Teddy

i was also sold on the blackmarket in corinthos

I was also adopted in corinthos.I was born july 7ht 1981 and am also searching for my birth parents or sisiters and brothers i may have..i live in Australia and am 29 yrs old.

greek adoption scandal.

My mother is looking for her brother who was part of the Adoption scandal in Greece. He was born in Axioupoli Greeece on the 0707/1948. His name was Agelos Vlasis son of Athanasios Vlasis. Because of his mother's illness he was put into an orphanage in Thessaloniki called Agios Stilianos in April of 1949- he was 9 months old. Six months later he was taken to Theagenion Hospital and never returned to the orphanage. The parents were told that he had died, however they were never presented with a body. My mother has been trying to find him for years now since the scandal broke in Greece -but no luck. She knows that he was adopted out to America on a ship. He would now be 60 years old. Please advise how i can research this further. Are there specific sights where i can go to post or find information. Thanks.

Maxine Deller

You could try to contact Maxine Deller (maxinedeller.com), she has experience with Greek/American adoptions and may be able to help you.

Sophie

Thankx for the advise. I'll do that. Cheers!

Maxine Deller Passed away

Maxine passed away a few months ago. She was a pioneer in opening up the story about us Greek Adoptees

Sad news to report:
Maxine passed on Saturday, November 17, 2012. She died peacefully at home. She was 57 years old

http://books.dreambook.com/maxine815/maxine815.html

SOS FROM GREECE PATRAS

I'm trying to locate my grandmother's brother who has been adopted in California, USA from the Orphanage of Patras. We have found his twin brother here in Patras but not yet him! Amalia Balch knows about the story but I can't find her phone or email even from Maximes site. If anyone can help me please...
His sister (my grandma) and his mother (my grand grandma) are still in life and they are waiting for him!
My name is Kostantinos email and msn angels_must_fall@hotmail.com phone number 0030 211 7206703 I live in Athens my grandma at Patras city.
Thanks a lot.

G.O.B.C

I'm not sure if this will help much, but the website seems to know something about the Patra Orphanage and finding birth-family members.

Greek Orphan Birthright Center:  http://www.greekorphans.org/about.php

[It really stinks trying to find lost family members, especially if they're scattered around the world... it's like we're all on our own looking for the parent or sibling among a world of strangers, and there are so few reliable resources that people can afford and trust.  It's just all so very sad to me....]

Secrets of life and death...

It's not so easy. I have in my hands all the papers from his adoption, the addresses and names from his foster parents. He has been adopted with a girl too, from the orphanage of Patras and propably the foster parents didn't say the truth to the children! We have been in contact with the foster mother and she didn't accept the adoption of her son and she close the case and the right to comunicate with him. I'm trying to find him for 15 years now by phone or with internet and I can't broke this wall between his foster parents and us! In our first communication in the past she said that if we didn't stop this case she will do a diplomatic episode. And the story goes on... If I had the power to travel through there ... but isn't so easy. Thats why I'm trying to find other persons to help me with this story...

The sad reality

I wish I could say your story is very unique, but I'm afraid that's just not true.  I have heard many stories about adult adoptees being charged with harassment (and arrested) because the laws have been created to protect the foster/adoptive parents, the agencies, and the workers, but not the child or first-families. 

Add the fact that lies are often told to the adoptee, too, it's no wonder very few want to know someone else is doing an investigation that could change their life as they have always known it.  For instance, consider the adoptee who was never told he/she was adopted, let alone adopted from another country --  what do you suppose letters or calls from "a stranger" mean when that stranger says, "You don't know me, but I believe you are part of my family, and our family is in Greece"?  Or imagine the first-family who thought mom and dad were married for 40 years and never strayed from their partners, only to learn there's some grown-up from another area claiming mom or dad is the parent, and suddenly there are these added siblings no one ever knew about.

The fall-out can be very scary, and many people know this.

In my own case, I knew since I was a child, something was very fishy about my own adoption.  I kept getting different stories from different a.family members.  Nothing added-up right.... and yet I was always told never to lie because I would always get caught.

If honesty is the best policy, why is it so hard to get to the truth in adoption stories?

 

 

Why?

I believe in good faith and honestly. I never told that my grandmother's brother BELONGS to US!!! He has been adopted from a family and raised up by them, they are his family as we are and the fact is that we didn't claim him from them, we can't change tha past but we can trust the future. It wasn't our decision his adoption, the blood speaks sometimes and the feeling of a part from you that it's missing from you, is painfull!
So, why some people prefer to die with their secrets? My grandma's desire to hung her brother tightly and kiss him, is something under my own feelings, I love her so much as I love her missing brother (without knowing him) because they are the same part of family, the unigue souls that they are seperate because of others! So, what else can I do? Who's wrong and who's right? Who accepts and who dennys the truth? Who is the missing and who has been found? I will never stop searching for him...
By the way I can't contact with Amalia Balch in her phone, she doesn't accept unidentifed calls and I don't know other way to contact her.

making contact

I can't find the address information of Amalia Balch either, maybe you can send Maxine Deller an email and ask her to forward it to Mrs. Balch.

correct address for Mrs Balch

You may contact Mrs Balch at amaliaj@earthlink.net.

correct address for Mrs Balch

Hello Kostantios,

I have just read this. I have entered my current contact number as amaliaj@earthlink.net This is a year later so do not know where you are in this process.

Amalia

If someone knows that has

If someone knows that has been adopted from Patras and searches for his/her family, I would like to help with all my heart.

My husband was adopted from Patras in 1959

My husband Paul was adopted in 1959 from a couple in New York, (Queens)? He would love to know the truth and have closer. Would love some help!!!!

My name is Constantine, my

My name is Constantine, my mother, sibblings and I are looking for my brother that I believe was also adopted out from an orphanage in Patra.He was born in Akrata, a country town near Patra on the 29th of January 1959. His mothers name as stated on his birth certificate is Ανδρομαχη ( Andromachi) and his fathers name was ( Χαραλαμπος) Haralampos.Do you have a birth certificate to check our details??????? We are also looking for closer..... All the best of luck Constantine

I'm looking for my Brother

my brother was adopted in 1959 perhaps from the orphanage of Patras. He was born in 1959 in March. We are looking for him!

I am an adoptee that lived

I am an adoptee that lived in the municipal aslyum in Patras. I lived there from 1952 to 1959 . However, my questions is: how do mothers of those children search for them? I would like to know my natural mother or at least something about her and if I have any relatives that may be looking for me as well.

Please write me: Joseph Bloomquist (email is patras5272@aol.com)

Thank you so very much

A universal truth

Based upon what I've been learning about the many acts/practices done within the adoption industry, historically speaking, the (poor and/or unwed mother) birth-mother was often told to never contact the child that was taken away.  In other words, once the baby was out of sight, that baby was to be put out of mind.  Perhaps this little fact helps explain why so many birth-mothers have come back, decades later, telling anyone who will listen:  "I have never forgotten".

From the beginning of the 20th century through the 1950’s and 1960’s, unwed pregnancy was considered extremely shameful. Although a thin cloud of shame remains, the sexual revolution of the 60’s changed forever the way families dealt with unwed pregnancy.

In the first half of the century, it was common for pregnant girls to be “sent away” to maternity homes or to a distant family member's home to have their baby in secret. Someone made arrangements for the baby to be adopted. After the birth, the child was whisked away from the birthmother. She often did not even know if she had given birth to a boy or a girl. The adoption worker told her it was best if she knew nothing of the baby. She was told to forget about the whole experience and get on with her life.

The issue of shame drove the train of secrecy. It was shameful for a woman to pregnant out of wedlock. The thought followed that a child born out of wedlock must therefore come from "bad blood." Professionals involved in adoption advised birthparents and adoptive parents that it was best for adoption to remain secret. [From:  Do you know your Family History?]

It should be noted, infertility was (continues to be) a shame-inducing "secret", so keeping names, dates, and locations secret makes good sense, especially if the infertile AP does not want the adopted child to never know about a first-parent identity.

Meanwhile, there is still a much darker-side to the inner workings of "child placement".

There are some mothers in the world who have been told their baby died (soon after birth).  [See: page 8, Violence against women - dead baby scam].  Some children sold through adoption were simply stolen/abducted from their homes/families.  And of course, there are always those that "baby factories" that provide all sorts of alternating stories.... depending upon who is asking, and when.

If interested, readers can see how stolen children help aid those involved in child trafficking:  http://poundpuplegacy.org/child_trafficking_cases

I lived in the orphanage in

I lived in the orphanage in Patras from birth until 1959. I have my adoption papers and information. I would like to know if anyone is looking for me. I live in Michigan, USA. I was left on the steps or the orphanage in a basket with just my name and date of birth.

I would also like to know if there are any photos of the orphange and very much would like to know the address as well.

Thank you

orphanage in patras

there is a man who offers to help us adoptees. but   he did want money and power of attorney. i really dont know if he is legit or not. i decided against it and so did someone else i know. anyway here's his link

 

http://www.greekorphans.org/orhpanshistory.php

Finding My Fathers Parents

I would love if anyone could help. Most leads turn into dead ends. My father was born in Patras on August 5, 1950 as Sitirios Sitiriotis and left at an orphanage. He was adopted in 1956 and came, by air cargo plane to america. He has only naturalization papers. He was left at the orphanage and then taken to a foster home for a year and then brought back to the orphanage. My father wants nothing to do with my search, he chooses to leave all those memories int he past. He did mention railroad tracks across the street and the pretty blue water he saw everyday. He used to go nuts whenever a man in uniform was around him (after he was adotped to the states) crying and screaming etc. I am lost, he was my only link and refuses to help. Please somebody, point me in the right direction

Greek Adoptee Reunion Registry

This might be helpful

GREEK ADOPTEES REUNION REGISTRY
http://www.seasyp.gr/
S.E.A.S.Y.P. - Ioanninon 21 - 54639 - Thessaloniki - Greece
Phone: +30 2310 826477 - Email:contact@seasyp.gr

1958 Athens,Nikaia (Kokinia) baby boy give up for adoption

Year 1958 Athens, Nikaia or (Kokinia) : a young couple forced to give up for adoption they new born baby boy( 2 to 4 months old).
The Grand mother was in charge with the procedure. Any one with any info on that.

I just wanted to say I think

I just wanted to say I think it's really sad so many people are trying to find lost family members

Greek Adoptee Registry

This might be helpful

http://www.seasyp.gr/

When was the boy born and given up in 1958

My husband was born in Greece and adopted to the US. He was born and given up in 1958. He has been in touch with Greek Athorities on this for about a year or two now. Can you give me more information?

Thank you
Traci

Hi TracyThe boy was born in

Hi Tracy
The boy was born in 1958 in an METRO area called NIKAIA a suburb of PIRAEUS largely populated by refugees from Asia Minor. I do not have the month. i also don't know if he was born in a hospital or in the house (many baby's came up this way back then) but do to the fact that NIKAIA is a metro area i will presume that he was born like most of as in the local hospital, or one of the peripheral ones.Please ask him if he has any names of the people give him up for adoption also profession,location, age, etc . I hope his adopted family his new parents know some of this details or names it is very important.

I am also living in America.

Thanks

Steve

I was adopted from Greece, 1957;

I was adopted as were so many others from Greece between 1055 and 1957. My story is not as pleasent experience as others and I have more memory as most others because I was adopted out at ten years old. Due to some luck and some identity i found my biological family and reunited. I want to help others because even as babies there is and always will be that missing part, all of us need to be reunited. Years after the Civil War were the most difuct for Greece and children were adopted out for many reasons. My experience here was tragic as I was abused both physical and mentaly and i am in process of writing my story as no one should forget all the plane-full loads of Greek children. I ALSO WANT TO REUNITE US ALL, ONE PLACE ONE TIME for history. my blog is http://adoptedgreekchildren.blogspot.com/ I can help. Joanna

(not as pleasant) Adopted Experience

I visited the blog and read the Chapter One post. 

I did not come from Greece.  I came from Canada.  I was not 10 when I was adopted; I was almost 1, but spent 10 months of that first year in-care (an orphanage?).

I was purchased by Americans desperate for a second child.

I was purchased by a man with many anger-issues, and a woman with many mental/emotional problems.

The following written by Joanna read very familiar to me:

With a cruel smile, she described a horrible earthquake that sent the entire village into the sea, killing everybody I knew and loved. Upon saying these words, Zoya [Amother] would step back, her eyes full of mocking laughter, as she searched my face for the slightest change of expression. She knew exactly what she was doing. She seemed to want me to feel pain; her words were meant to jab and cut at the deep wounds that had already been engraved upon my soul.
Whenever she said these things, my ears heard the vicious words, but my heart tightened in my chest, as if shielding itself, shutting out all traces of matters both dark and shattering. I refused to let Zoya inside. I could not bring myself to believe the things she said. Every aspect of her being rung untruthful to me. At the same time, I couldn’t help but worry about my family.

Instinct is a strange and funny thing.  I never, not once, believed the stories my Amother told me about my first parents.  The look on her face was too happy.  The look on her face was too much like the expression she had when she told me stories about my Afather, her own parents, and anyone else she wanted me to mistrust and hate.  The more she revealed, the more I could not believe.

I was in my thirties when I learned elements of truth behind my adoption story.  God knows how hard I cried... how difficult it was for me to realize the depth of lies...how the adoption didn't have-to-be.  I didn't have to be sent to them.  Sure, maybe the adoption couldn't have been stopped, but surely another couple could have been chosen?!?  Nevertheless, the married American couple who got me did so because it was a done-deal.  A choice was made; the choice was made for me.  I look back at what was done to me, and I laugh... adoption was, theoretically, in my 'best interest'.  "Best", indeed!

After a few years of futile attempts and bureaucratic dead-ends, I decided it was best NOT to find my bio-family... I decided it was best to accept adoption made me an abused orphan... I decided it was best to leave the past, and move-on (alone).  I grieved and mourned and I continue to find ways to deal with the triggers neglect and violent sexual abuse from a (A)family member(s) bring.  It has never been easy, and in that sense, I do believe networking with other adoptees 'in-search' really helps.

Sometimes the search for answers and closure leads to actual people... provoking new questions, creating new needs, introducing a different sort of confusion.

Other times, the search for answers and closure leads to a better, deeper understanding of facts... a simplicity that didn't exist before.

While I'm not convinced finding birth-parents is always the panacea many hope it to be, I do believe support coming from fellow (hurt) adoptees does indeed help.

Since this thread is about Greek adoptions, I have a question maybe Greek adoptees can answer -- does having fellow Greek-adoptee assistance make a positive difference?  What does like-original-nationality offer that 'other outsiders' can't?

I was adopted from Greece in 1961

I was adopted from Aegion Greece in 1961. i was 6 months old I was told i had a twin. so far i have no luck finding any birth mother or relatives of any kind. I finally got my birth certificate in 1997. it had my mothers name on it. I also got hold of my adoption papers. but there isn't much information on there either. even with my mothers name i cant seem to find her. can anyone help me with this

Egion 1961

Is there any specific reason that you have not given the details on your birth certificate? It would be a big help to anyone that lives at Egion or nearby. I would love to help you if I can.

details on birth certificate

I dont know why there wasn't any details. i dont even know if i was born in a hospital or at home. in my adoption papers i found ouy my mother was a widow at the time i was born, maby in Greece in 1961 there was some sort of shame or stigma to a women having a baby and unmarried at the time.
I dont even know the name of my father.. I think there is a lot of information hidden at that time.
I didn't come to the US until febuary 1962 and i have no idea who i was with for the first 6 months of my life

my mother and grandfathers name

I just realized i never gave my mothers name. here is all the infrormation i have

Im putting this out there in the hope of finding anyone from my birth family
Looking for my birth mother.....Diamanto papageorgious that was her maiden name and the name on my birth certificate..... Diamanto michalopoulos was her married name I was born in Aegion Greece. on 08/30/61
i was told i have a twin. my grandfather's name is Georgious papageorgious i am looking for my birthmother or any other relatives. Or anyone who know anything about my adoption.

Egion 1961

Dear Egion, It is a start knowing your mothers name and grandfathers name.... but I am a little bit confused,you say that your mother was a widow at the time of your birth and then further down you say that she was not married. There is a big difference between the two,I can elaborate more but I would prefer if we continue contact through email, if thats alright with you. If you could send me your email address so that we can comunicate that would be great!!! By the way my name is Tanya,what is yours?????

mother was single

what i meant was she was a widow. and the man she was married to prior was not my father. she i believe became pregnant with me after her husband passed away from some other man. she was not married at the time i was born

ok this is me

I decided to sign up. after posting my adoption from Aegion Greece. if anyone has any info you can pm me through this site.i am interested in finding any family or anyone who knows anything about my adoption. or anyone from Aegion.

please dont try to run a scam on me though because i can smell bull from a mile away

Egion 1961

Dear Dee,I am not in anyway trying to run a scam on you or anyone else,if you had taken a closer look you would have seen that I have also posted something further up, my post is the one that talks about a brother adopted out from an orphanage in Patra way back in 1959!!!!  So chill out, I am someone that lives close to The town of Egion and because I know what you are going through I said that I would love to help you.I have no problems writting to you through this site personally,only because it is a delicate situation I suggested that  we write personally.Well just so that you know I have found two people with your mothers maiden name that live in villages very close to Egion and one of them has the name Diamanto which is your mothers name,also there is another name papageorgiou georgios which is your grandfathers name. What would you like me to do????????If anything!!!!

Sorry I didn't mean to insult you

I didn't mean to insult you. its just because i ran into somebody in the past who did try somethng. Thank you for offering to help me..I dont know how to go about this. It is delicate.. I would like to find out if it is her. my guess is she would have to be in her 60's by now 

Egion 1961 No problems....

Dear Dee, its ok I wasnt insulted I can understand you wanting to be careful with all this....... I would like you to give me as much information as you can so that when I do contact this lady I know as much as possible.I have a few questions to ask that will help me alot in putting the pieces of this puzzle together.You havent mentioned any of the details that are on your adoption papers,are they in greek or English???? Who told you that you may have been a twin??Many times false information may have been given to the child and or mother to avoid them being able to trace the where abouts of either persons,that is where the stigma or taboo comes into it back in those days. Is anything to that effect that you are a twin written on any of your documents???? On which of the documents that you have is written the name Mihalopoulou???? does it also have a first name or intial???? Does the name Kostas or Kiriakos mean anything to you or have you seen any of these names(they are the most common male names begining with K) on any of your documents???? You see the details that I have say that Diamanto ( the one that I have found) has the last name Mihalopoulou with the Inital K (which is usually the inital of the husband if the female is married,the name is usually kept even after becoming a widower, or the intial stands for the fathers first name when the female is single,which in your case can not be because your grandfathers name is george (georgios).What information if any have you been given by your adoptive parents????? I will be able to very discreetly contact and fish out as much as I can from this lady but I would like to well prepared.I have lived in Greece long enough, 32 years( I am Australian and married a greek) to understand and be able to approach it in a way that will not put her in a difficult position if she happens to be the person that we are looking for. Oh and by the way,what makes you think that your mother woud be in her 60s???? Do you have any birthdates or something???? Because with your calculations she must have given birth to you at the age of 15,16,17 years old!!!! And last but not least we are the same age,I was born on the 24th of June 1961.......Hope to hear from you soon.tanya

thank you for any help

My adoption papers are in Greek english and italian..My adoptive father mentioned a twin . Michalopoulos is mentioned on my adoption papers. His first name was Demetrious. on my adoption papers it read. Diamanto Michalopoulos widow of  Demetrious  Michalopoulos.   i dont  remember seeing any of the K names you mentioned. i dont have my adoption papers in front of me now as i am in the middle of moving and have a lot of my things packed away

I have no information from my adoptive parents. except my adoptive mother said they made my real mother sign a paper promising to never come to the USA looking for  me

as far as my real mothers age  i shouldn't have made an assumption.. i just thought she might have been young and that might have been the reason she gave me up. but in reality i have no idea how old she is.

the lawyers name who handled my adoption

The lawyer who handled my adoption was Maurice Issachar. i have heard his name from other adoptees from greece and i think he might have been shady 

Wild Goose-Chase

I've been reading this recent exchange, and felt compelled to ask a question or two of my own, since I myself had to deal with the mind-blowing wallet-depleting bullshit often associated with 'amended birth certificates', with a foreign twist.  [And to think, American adoptees adopted by their own-kind have OBC issues!!!!!  HA!!!!!!!]

Considering the known changes made on BC documentation (to 'protect the innocent') and the flammability of adoption records (to protect the innocent?), how is it you found so much information (first AND last-names) associated with your adoption? 

How/where did you get your information?

 

how i got ingormation

All i had for years was an amended birth certificate. by a fluke i found my adoption papers. my adoptive parents told me for many years my birth parents died in a car accident. my adoptive mother kept my papers in a lock box at her bank. she was changing banks or something and had them at our house. i came across a locked box and it seemd to pique my interest.

so i broke the lock and found my adoption papers with my mothers name on them.  i contacted the greek consulate and they were the ones who got my birth certificate for me. 

i found this

i dont know if this will be of any help. but i hope is it

 

http://forbiddenfamily.net/adoptees-birth-certificates/

Dear Dee, Did you have your

Dear Dee, Did you have your adoption papers translated???? Did the adoption take place in Greece and what was the date and place of the adoption?? You are right about the lawyer that handled your adoption,if you google his name you will find and article about him in connection with the black market of adoptions. Do you have the same name that is written on your birth certificate or your adoption papers???? Or does it just mention your sex? Did you travel to America with your adoptive parents? If not how did you tarvel and with whom??When you settle down again and find all the papers you may be able to give me some more details for me to go on,until then I will try my bet to find out as much as I can for you.One good thing about living in a comopoli (country town) is that you know just about everyone, and its not what you know here in Greece, it is who you know and there is always someone that knows someone that may be able to give us information or to look through records for you. So be patient and I will try my best for you.Dee just for information sake, besides the post that I have placed in this sight,which is for a friend who needed my help because of my english I also gave birth to a baby boy in Australia at the age of 16 and was forced by my father to adopt it out back in 1977. Not until 2003 did I first meet up with my son after I travelled back to Australia after making first contact by phone.This is the reason that I am helping, so that I can help you feel everything that I felt after 25 years of not knowing.....tanya

this is what i remember

First of all thank you so much Tanya for helping me..im sorry to hear about being forced to give up your son. i have built up a real resentment for adoption. mothers should never be forced to be seperated from their children

i didn't have my papers translated some parts were in english.but i had a Greek friend look at them and he said everything that was in english was just a repeat of what was said in Greek

I wasn't given a name. all it said was the the unbaptised illegitmate baby girl  of Diamanto. another thing i have to mention and this is what my adoptive mother told me was. my adoptive parents were told by the lawyer to say they were unitarian when in fact they were jewish. i dont know if that means anything

also when i found my adoption papers

 my adoptive mother told me she should have burned them like the lawyer told her to

 what i was told was i traveled to Americe   by myself with just  a  flight attendent to watch me.that never sounded right to me though

I believe that i was a black market adoption. because i dont think my adoptive mother could adopt in the states she has  always had severe mental issues.

I dont know if this makes a difference either. but i dont remember exactly when but it was within a few years befor or after i was adopted my adoptive parents changes their last name from Lentchner to Lent

My adoption took place in Athens. and from what i remember from the papers every judge that was their was sitting in for a judge that was absent that day and a lot of money changed hands

I came here to the states in febuary 1962 when i was 6 months l and have no idea where i spent the first six months of my life. also i dont know if this matters but i was a blond haired blue eyed baby.is there any area in aegion that has a lot of people with my coloring? maby this will help locate any family members 

 

again thank you so much tanya

 

Egion 1961

Dear dee,sorry I have taken so long in repling to you......  I would like you to send (when you feel that you are ready) by fax all the documents that you have relating to your birth or adoption.I have already spoken to a friend that has access to,or has friends that have access to the information that we will need to unravel this ball of wool.She asked me so many questions that can only be found on these documents,so if you are ok with that then when you are ready let me know and I will send you the fax number here in greece. I really hope that we can get somewhere for you,because I know first hand how your birth mother feels(and I am sure that she does feel exactly as I did all these years) and I also know first hand talking to my son how you must feel,so lets cross our fingers and hope for the best, but we must be patient ok????

Tanya

Dear Tanya,

 

Thank you for getting back to me... i will get all these documents together. this is very exciting and sounds like i am closer than i have ever been to finding something out.

I am in the middle of moving and will be offline for the next three weeks. hopefully by the time i get back online i will have all the documents together 

Egion 1961

Dear Dee, gee I have to wait 3 weeks???? I think I am as anxious if not more than you are to get the ball rolling:)) I guess I will just have to wait.Hope all goes well with your move,see you in three weeks.Tanya

i am a black market baby

i have read everythong you have written and am very pleased.i have been searching and wondering for 15years for these moments.my parnents leid to me about he adoption,and i was bought for 6000 dollars.My birth certificate says 1981 july 7th i am a girl....how can i find what i am looking for

stolen clindren from greece

i am looking for any information on my stolen sister.
born in september 13-15th? 1967
my mother was told she had died at birth but earlier was told to get ready to feed her,she was given a faulse death certificate.
she was born in Thessaloniki Greece.
my mothers maiden name is Fevronia Patroklos
my fathers name is Nikolaos Tsiantakis
any information please email at - torrocouriers@optusnet.com.au

please can you help me

i was also sold on the blackmarket in greece in 1981.i was born on the 7th and am 29.i am also looking for anyone that can help me.i was born in corinth in 1981

Hi roula. I am a historian,

Hi roula. I am a historian, living in Queens, NY and very much interested in writing about the blackmarket in greece. Would you be willing to be interviewed?

Adoption

Maxine Deller was never a stolen baby. Neither were her two sisters. She told me she knows who her birthmother is, where she lives and that she even spoke to her on more than one occasion. It's a shame her birthmother denied a meeting with her, but the point is that Deller is not a stolen baby. Never was.

There were stolen infants in post-war Greece, however, Ms. Deller and her sisters were not victimized by the scheme.

In Ms. Deller's case, some characters who were positioned well, took advantage of her case, as well as others. The Dellers' attorney in Greece was Jewish and illegally lied to the courts that the parents he was representing were Christian. The Greek laws at the time specifically mandated Greek-Orthodox Christian-born children were to be adopted by Christian, if not Greek-Orthodox Christian adoptive parents. He consistently lied to the Greek Courts, and all his cases of Christian children were to Jewish families in the USA. Had the authorities caught on on Greece, the Greek-side lawyer would have served a prison sentence, as his sister and his US-side cohorts did, back in the 1950s and 1960s.

searching for my mother or other realtives

I was left on the door step of the Protopapa's home in march 1956. I was about 20 days old. It was about 9:OO p.m. that they found me. They said I was wrapped in a blanket from a different village with a string tied around me, and a note saying ,that I had not been baptized yet. The Protopapa's said, when they opened the door a truck was parked across the street, and after they saw someone took me inside the truck left. This was in Athen's, Greece in the Metamorfosi Attikis area. I was picked up by the police then taken to the "Infant's Municipal Infant's Asylum." I lived there until I was 7 months old, then I was adopted, and have been living in the United States ever since then. In October 2010 I went to Greece and was on the Nikolouli TV show. A man phoned in towards the end of the show and said, by the pictures they showed of me I looked just like his father. He said his father had an affair with a woman and she went to Athen's to have the baby, no one knew what she did with the baby. All they knew is that she moved to Houston, Tx after this. The show told me they were going to check into the story more and would get back with me. First thing Monday morning he called back and insited that they do a DNA test because he was so sure I was his father's child. They said no not yet. They called me back a few days later and said the story fell through. I never heard anymore. They did say his father was a taxi driver and my mother was from another Village. I would like to find this man and talk to him. The show is not on the air anymore so I cannot find out his phone number. I did hear Mrs. Nikolouli might be moving to the new TV STATION "MEGA TV." If anyone has any information about this man could you please help me. I met Mrs. Protopapa's and she insists she knows nothing about my family history. Please if anyone know's anything about my story please contact me. Sincerely, Mrs. Robyn Beery

TRY THIS LINK

They might give you some help
www.seasyp.gr

Greek websites to help locate family members

Greeting everyone,

Although I am not adopted and have never been put on the market to be sold, I want to share a story of how I found my family. We left Greece in 1975 ('we' meaning my mother, myself and my American step-father). I was never legally adopted by him, so I always maintained my Greek last name.

About 2001, I started going online to Greek websites (just google words like: greek websites to locate family). Anything which would gain attention towards location of a greek family member by name. I went to a bulletin board and posted a brief history of what had happened. I found a Greek man in NY who found my 2nd cousin in Athens! As cautious as one could be (since the internet also provides a variety of people who have criminality backgrounds), I was still speptical as to what I posted and what I said on the bulletin board. Once I found my cousin, we've been in constant communication since!

You have to remember this: all of what has happened is NOT your fault! It was the way of the world and the times--it was the culture! It doesn't make it right, but all you can do is leave the blam alone and stick to what the actual facts are (your family names) and do your best to locate any living family you can.

I wish everyone great luck and prospects of much happiness in your findings.
God Bless the path you're trying to walk on... +
Efstathia

I was adopted when i was a little over a year old

I was born in greece. I was told by my adopted parents that i was adopted when i was a year old in 1961 they told me i was in a orphanage right outside of Athens to the north. I was wondering if any one had any information as to how i would find out who my real parents were and why i was in there. my adopted parents told me my mother could not take care me. I do not know my real name so that makes it even harder. I became a citizen of the united states when i was five do you think where i was legalized would have more information on the adoption. please email me

LORI WEINSTEIN

Hello I"ve been looking for Lori Weinstein for a long time now I just saw her story and it really gave me great pleasure to know that she finally found her birth family. I was one of those homeless children she helped out when I was lost out there in this world. I have great love and admiration for her and would like to talk to her and give her a warm hug and tell her how much I love her and thank her for dedication to helping me. My email address is abouncey69m@aol.com, and my phone number is 347-285-8432. please someone help me to get my contact information to her thank u.

Alma Rosado

Twin brother stolen for adoption from Greece in 1955-1956

I am attempting to find my identical twin brother who I believe was sold by corrupt officials for adoption.
I am told he was born at Queen Sofia Hospital (Agia Sofia Children’s Hospital?) in Athens, Greece on December 16, 1954 to Demetra (mother) and Ioannis (father) Doukas.
I believe he was named Nikos “Nick” Doukas but had not yet been baptized.
Sometime around June 1955, when we were six months, old my mother went to the hospital with both of us.
The officials told her that my brother died because he had been given sour milk but she was never shown the body. They told her they buried him in the hospital garden.
I am aware that at that time many parents were told their children had died when in fact, the babies were illegally adopted as part of a large-scale baby-selling scheme in Greece.
Please contact me at ted.doukas@yahoo.com if you have any information regarding how I might find this brother.

Pound Pup Legacy