Our image of the month series feature Paul Brian Tovey, an artist and adult adoptee who was abused by his adoptive parents as a child. Paul is Researching Reform’s Artist In Residence.

Paul campaigns for adoptees to have the legal right to revert back to their birth identities.

Paul’s paintings reflect his experiences as an adoptee including the effect of his forced adoption on his mental health.

This month’s painting is titled, “Adoption is Neurosis” and includes a poem from Paul’s Going Home poetry collection, which is meant to be read alongside the art:

Speaking to Researching Reform, Paul said:

“It’s always a great sadness for me to draw the feelings out into form of how sad so many Adoptee’s lives are. It’s a sadness that clings like a form of heavy booted mud and it sucks on the soul with a special heavy grief. Whose grief? All who feel it, I think.

The hopeless truth is so apparent that Adoption creates a neurosis for so many and it’s done by social design. By belief, that children are easily “altered selves,” yet the last 2022 304 respondent survey I and others did,  showed costs on the brains of children were high – children who became adults who often lived inside a socially approved form of dissociation (a frozen up primal core) that takes many years to resolve for far too many.

That survey is so detailed it has yet far more to say over coming months. Reading hundreds of comments of pain is like walking in a lead suit across a weeping radioactive landscape. Atomic hurt. 

On the art-journey of pain and Adoptee truths you have to make markers of experiences. Recognitions other Adoptees will feel and ache with. Maybe it will help them cry and release another increment of loss and grief. That is positive, when truth is accepted as unalterable. As habitable with tears. Tears are the cost of life for many Adoptees severed from origins, kin and even from “Self” finally struggled for, and partly found. We the Adoptees are made neurotic and have unmet needs designed into our lives by Adoption’s alterations of our identities. By policy we are made neurotic all too often. The art I do shows this too. I am compelled to do it.”

We would like to thank Paul for allowing us to showcase his work, and his powerful talent.