Welcome to another year.

Our image of the month series features 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, and 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, including his sense of identity, and his connection with his adoptive family.

This month’s painting is titled, “Going home adoption bridge” and includes a poem by Paul, which is meant to be read alongside the art:

Destroyed At A Christmas Adoption

Some of us only have a single tragic pointed letter

And the tree changes every Xmas; but not for the better

We opened only one lifelong doom of a childhood box:

Courts redly clevered up in some paperwork identity locks:

You were supposed to smile like a costumed puppet,

Become other’s red sighs and slot voiced ventriloquisms:

The thing with fertile wings on the tree of glitter prisms

While the pine needle pricked into your sensitive life

Your eyes hid the divorce of first mom and dad’s strife

You played at adaptive angels though, as the pen

Cut’s off your natural blood and truer family life

Then I knew I was blacked out and not angel white

I was by adults, a missing baby-body all toyed ..

I was not me anymore. I was void . I was void

This is my real name …”Unseen-Destroyed.”

Speaking to Researching Reform, Paul said:

“I am destroyed by Christmases. I was Adopted across November – December 1959,  and January 1960.

I go void. I accept the trauma every year because it’s my false Adoption foundation and child abuse came after it. So I mourn and grieve and pass through the valleys of old social madness. Art helps me. Gifted to see and to feel but only to be real and it is terribly sad.

However it is the cost of “being in being” properly now and accepting what happened and how it can be learned from. The cost is being like a child and each year slowly growing in tolerance of what happened and how it all sent me mad. The cost is pure tears and many buckets of them to carry.

You see, they tried to make me into someone and something else. It was horrifically voiding and terrifying as a kid. I slowly recovered after age 30. I am not going to do anything but show truth, honest pain and the need for a life regained of some authenticity. Some battered authenticity alongside all of you. Stop changing kids identities to suit adult’s needs. It’s not necessary … Validate story and children… May you have a torch bearing New Year.”