Adoption Insight
[to illuminate the mind and heart]
about the author
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 Painful Lessons, Loving Bonds~The Heart of Open Adoption

  • The "secret ingredient" for healthy intimacy between parents and child
  • The dangers of the wrong kind of open adoption
  • How we should respond when birth parents "reclaim" children
  • What adoptive parents must do for themselves, for the sake of their children
  • How every adoption can be open, in the most loving way
"Other mommies and daddies had to take what they got, but we got to choose you," is another kind of well-intentioned but ultimately destructive lie that some adoptive parents tell in an attempt to bolster their children's positive sense of self and of this status called "being adopted", and perhaps to ease any undercurrents of social stigma they might feel out in the world. While it clearly wouldn't be appropriate to share with a child what is often the actual truth-that they tried everything possible to have a biological child before deciding to adopt-it is crucial for parents to share the essence of the truth with their adopted children, the feelings which hover beneath the facts: 'We're sorry, too, that you didn't grow in Mommy's tummy.' "


What Is Written On The Heart ~ Primal Issues in Adoption

  • What the "primal wound" means to your child and you -- or to the adult adoptee
  • Ways to address your child's primal experience so you build trust, intimacy & joy
  • Healthy parenting approaches to empower your child
  • Cutting-edge research into how the circumstances of conception, pregnancy and birth can carry lifelong implications for adult adoptees
"I believe that the newborn adoptee has a deep--yes, primal--knowledge that his original mother isn't the one who's holding and feeding and cooing at him. Plenty of solid research shows us that a newborn knows his mother and will work very hard to obtain her over anyone else... But all is not lost. Parents needn't feel hopeless in the face of these revelations, for one of the most powerful healing forces is available to every parent, free of charge... These are simple, concrete things which, while perhaps challenging of parents' idealized vision of the adoptive experience, will begin to establish an atmosphere of trust for their child. This trust leads to the kind of intimacy which, more than any piece of paper, decrees them as that child's real parents. For parents who act not out of their own needs and insecurities, but rather out of a truly respectful, supportive commitment to their child's needs, those are real parents. And that is real love."

[Live presentations of conference keynote presentations]

Affirming The Adoptee's Reality: A Way To Intimacy -- With loving intentions but wayward means, adoptive parents often convey half-truths to their children about the realities of adoption. Through poignant stories about real-life adoptions, this tape highlights the crucial need for a fully open heart in adoption, the blessings that come with it, and practical ways to achieve it. [75 min.] $12.00

The 57 Varieties of Open Adoption: Which is Yours?
-- An exploration of the continuum of openness, from closed, through "Quasi-open", to fully open, including the critical features of the kind of adoption that is in the child's best interests. How you can have a crucial kind of openness, even if you may never know your child's birth parents; and by contrast, how some "open" adoptions fail to serve the child. [45 min.] $10.00

Smoke and Mirrors: Why Reunion Relationships are Soooooo Tricky
-- The "push/pull" syndrome, the "walking on eggshells" syndrome, the "Why won't she return my call?" syndrome, the "She always misses my birthday" syndrome... How primal issues in adoption play themselves out today. [75 min.] $12.00

Life Before Birth: The Shaping Nature of Our Prenatal Experience
-- Fascinating pre- and perinatal research on how our prenatal circumstances affect our personalities, "quirks", current relationships and daily life experiences. Empowering approaches to transcending unwanted primal "templates". [75 min.] $12.00

"You combine authority and feeling in a way that is quite rare. In your workshop, you took me into that stuff in a way I had never even imagined. And I thought I was there to learn about others and adoption. Got a bit more than I bargained for. You are a very talented teacher. You circumvented thirty years of skeptical and critical analysis (I was trained in the discipline of history.) For a time you allowed me to feel fully the emotional responses of part of my own past and thus I was healed a little more, growing ever so slightly wiser."
Rod Holm, Adoptive father, author, Rewriting the Script

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For Prospective and New Adoptive Parents:
Authentic Beginnings, Real Bonds~Honest Talk About Adoption

A Different Kind of Relationship: Thoughts on Adoption (An interview with Nancy Verrier)

Affirming the Adoptee's Reality ~ A Way To Intimacy

What Is The Primal Wound? Understanding The Trauma of Infant-Maternal Separation

In The Best Interests of Whom: Baby Richard & the Need for Reform

For Prospective Birth Parents and Their Supporters:
The Profound Importance of a Birth Mother's Hello

Between Adoptive Parents and Birth Mother: More Thoughts on "A Different Kind of Relationship"

For Adoptees and Birth Parents:
The Second Rejection~The Pain After Reunion

For Adoptees:
Hearts in Exile~A Story of Reunion

Many Hands~An Adoptee's Healing Journey

Adoptee Issues Expert Forum
(Drop in with questions or just browse what others have asked.)

About the Author

Marcy Axness sees as deeply into adoption as anyone, and she's one of only a handful with the courage to share what she sees there, and the ability to do it in a helpful and illuminating way. She is a primary voice about the primal issues of adoption--the wounds, the hurt, the hope, the love.

Randolph Severson, Ph.D., author of Adoption: Philosophy and Experience

Marcy Axness writes from her heart and soul, as well as from her intellect. The result is wisdom. When I read her words, or hear her speak on the subject of adoption, a light goes on for me.

Lois Melina, author of The Open Adoption Experience and Raising Adopted Children

Marcy Axness is a truth teller about adoption, but the difficult truths she sees and names for us function not to dis-courage but to en-courage us.

Penny Callan Partridge, Adoptee, adoptive mother, author of An Adoptee's Dreams and Pandora's Hope

Marcy Axness is a passionate advocate for the needs of the adoptee. As a result she is a powerful ally for the adoptive parent.

Lucy Lafitte, Adoptive mother

Marcy Wineman Axness writes and speaks internationally on the tapestry of issues that encompass adoption, using as a narrative foundation her own experiences as an adoptee and a mother. At the heart of Ms. Axness' work is the conviction that it is through acknowledging the losses and the truth that we reap the greatest rewards from the experience of adoption. Formerly an award-winning television news and documentary producer, Ms. Axness is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in the field of pre- and perinatal development. She welcomes comments, questions, or correspondence at

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