From Mary Cardaras comes the story of a true adoption survivor: Dena Poulias was taken from her Greek biological parents in 1958, but she found her way back to the village after many years.
Poulias’ transatlantic adoption conveys how intercountry adoption has affected all parties involved: the first family, the extended new family, the struggling young couple and their children and the village community in Greece.
Cardaras, a searching Greek adoptee herself, tells an intimate personal story with a global dimension in her new book titled “Ripped at the Root.”
Gonda Van Steen, who serves as the Koraes Chair of modern Greek and Byzantine history, language and literature at King’s College in London, called the book a “beautiful but tragic story of love and resilience” while praising Cardaras’ storytelling techniques.
“Cardaras’s telling of Dena’s story is exquisitely balanced between the challenges that Dena lives versus the enduring love between her Greek parents, who were never supported and had little to hope for,” Van Steen said. “This novella brought tears to my eyes because it resonated within and is sadly the experience of too many of us.”
Van Steen is the author of “Adoption, Memory and Cold War Greece: Kid Pro Quo?”
Georgios Anagnostou, a professor in the modern Greek program at Ohio State University, calls Cardaras’ book “an engrossing narrative” that does not shy away from dissecting difficult truths about the realities of immigrant and American ethnic life.
“Drawing from the personal testimonies of a Greek American adoptee and her extended family, Mary Cardaras brings to life the personal and social dramas surrounding the quest for one’s biological parents,” Anagnostou said. “Cardaras plots a fascinating microhistory which connects personal experience with broader processes of deception, betrayal, illegality, but also steadfast devotion and commitment.”
“Ripped at the Root” is available to purchase from The Pappas Post Bookshop.
About the author
Mary Cardaras is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication at California State University East Bay. She was adopted from Greece to the USA in the 1950s. She holds a Ph.D. in Public and International Affairs and is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication where she teaches Political Communication, Journalism and Documentary Film at California State University, East Bay. She is an Emmy Award-winning documentary film producer who is currently working on a number of short films about the effects of the environment on public health. As an adoptee, Cardaras is compiling an anthology of Greek adoptee stories. This is a pioneering initiative, given that no previous Greek collection exists in English. Mary has 13 essayists on board for the collection with the working title “Voices of the Lost Children of Greece.”
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