Monday, 12 December 2011

What is an Identity

In the early 1950's Australia was racked with a scandal called the Petrov affair.  Vladimir Petrov, a KGB agent for the then Soviet Union defected to Australia and an attempt to take his wife Avdokia back to the Soviet union was foiled by Australian authorities . This affair  caused the demise of the then leader of the Australian Labor Party, Dr H. Evatt.

After being debriefed the Petrov's were given a new identity and lived the remainder of their lives in Melbourne as Sven and Maria Allyson.  The Petrov's  like adoptees learnt to live their lives under a name chosen for them by the government.  One would hope they lived a quiet and peaceful existence.  But they would both have been able to remember the lives they had lived previously and the favourable lifestyle they had lived as members of the soviet elite.

A adoptees have no such memory as they had their identities changed by either a state official or court order before they had really had a chance to develop who they were.  As a result adoptees did not have the luxury of the Petrov's in remembering a past life. They only carry the subliminal burden of being forcible removed from their security blanket namely the mother who gave birth to them.  The circumstances surrounding that removal whilst important to understand today is not a factor in the initial trauma that an adoptee suffered.  All that mattered at the time was that their giver of life had left their presence forever.  And that event has influenced their lives forever.  A "well adjusted"  adoptee who is quite content  with his life did inform me that the fact he is adopted is always there in the background.

I do not know if the Petrov's ever regretted their decision the change their lives and identity and complete way of life.  but at least they had a memory to fall back on.  All adoptees regardless of how well adjusted they may or may not be will never have the luxury the Petrov's had pf remembering a life that could have been


  1. Great post Muzz, you just get better and better! I vividly remember that photo of the Petrovs with the discarded shoe on the tarmac, symbolising somehow their plight.For us adoptees it is sometimes a photo, a small token or a keepsake.All we have of our mother. Some of us had nothing to take with us into our new lives.