‘This is a missing human right’: The men, women and children fighting to revoke their adoptions

For many people who were adopted, the road to reclaiming their birth identity is long, painful and full of bureaucratic hurdles. Natasha Phillips hears their stories

Wednesday 21 July 2021 20:31
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<p>Adoptees Paul Brian Tovey and Suzanne Davies have been reaching out to others about their experiences of adoption</p>

Adoptees Paul Brian Tovey and Suzanne Davies have been reaching out to others about their experiences of adoption

A growing number of adoptees in the UK are battling the government for the right to overturn their adoptions. The movement, which is building momentum, argues that reclaiming a birth identity is a human right.

The movement follows the recent call for a government apology by mothers separated from their babies between the 1950s and 1970s, through forced adoptions. The adoptees leading the cause are the children of the generation of mothers asking for that apology.

Paul Brian Tovey’s art is an outlet for the pain he has carried all his life. In one drawing titled, Child Abused 1957, an impossible number of deeply coloured triangles pierce a little body looking over at a rocking horse, just out of reach, as they float over a broken moon. A bird in a cage, set at a constant chirp, has ground-in crosses for eyes. A second sketch, layered over a fuchsia pink and pastel blue background shows a frog with cherries for toes, his face made from a slice of cake. It’s a surreal and sumptuous drawing which wouldn’t look out of place in a best-selling children’s book, except for the caption perhaps, which says, “Beyond screamland – children know: cherry toed cakefrogs do exist.”

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