Welcome to another week.

The image of the month has once again very kindly been provided by Researching Reform’s Artist In Residence, Paul Brian Tovey.

Paul is an adult adoptee whose adoptive parents physically, verbally and sexually abused him in childhood. His work reflects the impact this maltreatment has had on his mental health and his physical health, as a child and as an adult.

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

This painting is titled, “Dog Identity.”

Paul shared a poem with Researching Reform about this piece:

It was pre and post adoption times in the childhood head
Mixing pet dog images along the dream street where it led

I’d watched on four legs my dogs howl at windowed cats
I was one of them and we all chased the rubbish bin rats
When my dogs howled for life to get out of the shed chains
I heard my Adoptee senses joining in with split adoptee brains

You cannot keep my wild genes clammed and jammed of jaw
But they did mostly even at school as I got into playground war
I hated the children with real family and smoother lives
I drew my dogs chasing them with paws holding knives
One day I called a teacher “Mommy” out of displaced love

I wanted her arms like a fingers wrapping me in a glove

Down the hound road to the Adopters home I sensed a wrong
My heart could cross time sing my daddy a gene song:

“Oh daddy daddy I’ve been away as a beaten dog so long
I’ll draw our bones and hidden home and speak in bark
It’s primitive daddy but I’ll be back to make a primal mark
Istol is my lost star daddy, and the truth is wet and stark”

(In memory of Dog and his kind ways)

Many thanks to Paul for allowing us to share his art, and his insight into abused childhoods.