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Greek Adoptees Fight for Citizenship, Access to Records

Greek Adoptee Group
Linda Carol Trotter of the Greek adoptee organization known as the Eftychia Project, with Mavroudis Voridis. Courtesy Linda Carol Trotter/The Eftychia Project

Linda Carol “Eftychia” Trotter, the founder of the Eftychia Project, the Greek adoptee organization which helps Greek adoptees find their birth families, met with Greece’s Minister of the Interior and Minister of Labor and Social Affairs recently in Athens.

The meeting came in an effort to shore up support regarding the granting of citizenship and access to records for Greek-born adoptees.

Trotter, born Eftychia Noula, whose American birth parents were told that her mother had died in Greece, is just one of thousands of Greek people who were spirited away from the country during the dark days of the 1950’s and 1960s, when many newborns were sold or taken away from their rightful parents.

Eftychia project
Linda Carol “Eftychia” Trotter and her birth mother Harikelia Noula. Trotter founded the Eftychia Project after she finally found her mother after being adopted out of the country in the 1950s. Photo courtesy Linda Trotter

Greek adoptee organization is brainchild of woman who found birth family in Greece

Growing up as a typical American child in San Antonio, Texas, she had been born in the village of Stranoma in Nafpaktia, and had been given up for adoption because she was born out of wedlock and her mother had been “a bit of an outcast” since giving birth to her, Trotter explains in an interview with Greek Reporter.

A lady in the village “who had a reputation for getting rid of unwanted babies” took her mother away to Athens after becoming Eftychia’s godmother, Trotter relates.

Eftychia was left at the orphanage — and her mother never laid eyes on her again until 2017, when she was 79 years old, at their emotional reunion in Stranoma after several years of tracing her adoptive history.

The Eftychia Project
Linda Carol “Eftychia” Trotter, and Mavroudis Voridis, Greece’s Interior Minister, at their recent meeting. Credit: The Eftychia Project

Trotter’s quest to find her family finally succeded when she was told that her mother, Charikleia Noula, was indeed “alive and kicking” at the age of 79. When it was announced that her long-lost Greek adoptee daughter had been found, Trotter says, her mother was told “you have just won the lottery.”

They spoke on the telephone, using interpreters, directly afterward, and finally met together in the village a short time later. Now, everybody in Stranoma knows Trotter’s amazing story and her many relatives rejoice whenever she comes to visit.

But now Trotter is focused on helping others, through her foundation, to find their own  happy endings. Her meeting with the Greek Interior Minister on February 7 was just the latest such meeting with Greek officials in her quest to assure citizenship rights for all Greek-born adoptees.

Trotter says that she met for 1.5 hours in Athens at the Ministry of the Interior with Mavroudis Voridis, the Minister of the Interior, recently.

“The meeting was for the purpose of discussing the birth and identity rights of Greek-born adoptees, specifically the issue of Greek citizenship for all Greek-born adoptees,” she states, adding “A copy of our adoptee-initiated formal statement was presented to Mr. Voridis during the meeting. In essence, the Ministry agrees that we are Greek citizens because we left Greece with Greek passports that said so.”

Read about Eftychia’s incredible story: Greek Adoptee Founds Mission to Help Others

Trotter explains “The Ministry states that we did not lose or have our Greek citizenship stripped from us, only that now it is a matter of a procedure to establish that the person named on the Greek passport and the person we are today are the same. We will continue working with and meeting with the Ministry and other members of the Greek government as we continue to advocate for the resolution of this issue.”

Trotter also met with Greece’s Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, Domna Michalidou, to discuss what she calls “the Eftychia Project’s ongoing difficulties in obtaining our records from the various orphanages/institutions and PIKPA.”

Related: DNA samples collected throughout the nation will help Greek adoptees

Deputy Minister Michalidou is sympathetic to this issue, she notes, and has asked Trotter to provide more information so that the Ministry can best determine how to help the members of the group.

She adds that the Eftychia Project will be working closely with the Deputy Minister and her staff in the coming weeks, and will update everyone periodically on their progress.

However, Trotter cautions “We ask all of our Greek-born adoptees to be patient, as these things take time when there are multiple government ministries and agencies involved in the resolution of our demands for our birth and identity rights.

“We also ask that all of you be prepared and willing to actively participate in claiming these rights, as we will be asking for statements from you about the obstacles and difficulties you have encountered in relation to your quests for citizenship and your requests for your records. Stay the course — the fight has only begun.”

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