Adoptive Families Writer's Guidelines
Adoptive Families is the leading information resource for families before, during, and after adoption. The award-winning national bimonthly magazine provides independent, authoritative adoption information in an accessible and reader-friendly format.
Each issue of Adoptive Families is built around stories of adoption written by people who read the magazine closely and regularly. This active community of readers also offers thoughtful, deeply felt responses to the pieces we publish.
We want to hear your stories. We encourage you to share your insights and experiences with other adoptive families. And we're always looking for great writing.
Core topics covered in nearly every issue:
Preparing for adoption; health issues; school and education; family, friends, and community; open adoption; birth families; talking about adoption; parenting tips and guidelines; transracial adoption
*The Waiting Game: A special section for pre-adopters
*Parenting the Child Who Waited: Adopting and raising older children
*About Birth Parents: Stories about, and sometimes by, birth families
*Been There: Adults speak honestly about their experiences of growing up adopted
*Our Story: Your stories about how you became a family
*Adoption & School: Advice from teachers, parents, and experts on education-related issues
*In My Opinion: An editorial on a controversial subject
*At Home: A personal essay
*Single Parent: Single parents share their experiences
*And So It Begins: Stories about the first year of parenthood
*Living with Diversity: For and by families who’ve adopted transracially or from other cultures
*Letters: Responses from readers to past articles and other readers' letters
Growing Up Adopted: Age-specific developmental information from experts, including adoption pediatricians, social workers, and adoption therapists
The Experts: Leading adoption experts offer advice about adoption medicine, open adoption, single parenting, transracial adoption, adopting older children, and adoption law
Adoption New and Notes: Legislative and policy updates, with occasional "News Focus" articles elaborating on a particular item or issue in the news
Adoptalk: Product reviews, editors' picks, media reviews, and more resources for adoptive families
(Departments marked with an * are ones for which we typically accept submissions.)
How to Submit an Article or Essay
Before sending us your personal essay, we recommend that you take a look at the suggestions below, under "What We're Looking For."
Reported articles on adoption-related topics:
In the case of reported articles on adoption-related topics, we prefer that you send a query letter (via e-mail or regular mail) before sending in your article. Again, take a look at recent issues of the magazine; we're less likely to publish a piece on a topic we’ve recently covered.
Query letters should include:
• A brief description or outline of your idea
• Why you think it belongs in our magazine
• Why you should be the one to write it
• If possible, a sense of where in the magazine you believe your story might fit, whether as a feature or in a particular department; see list of departments above
• Any recent clips you may have
How to send them:
• We prefer to receive submissions via e-mail, as attachments. But we accept submissions via US mail, as well.
• You may also wish to send family photographs with your story, particularly in the case of personal essays. We prefer photos e-mailed as attachments. We can also use prints sent by mail, but we cannot guarantee that unsolicited photographs will be returned.
When you'll hear from us, payment, etc.:
• It generally takes us 8-10 weeks to respond to a submission.
• Writers of personal essays we publish will receive a one-year subscription to the magazine. Payment for reported articles varies. We're a small magazine; our pay rates are scaled accordingly.
• We consider all submissions on a speculative basis. We cannot guarantee that a proposed article, even one that we've expressed interest in, will be published.
• We cannot assume responsibility for unsolicited material or guarantee its return.
• You should submit a brief, two- or three-sentence biographical note at the end of each submission.
Send queries and submissions to:
firstname.lastname@example.org or Submissions, Adoptive Families, 39 W. 37th St., 15th Floor, New York, NY 10018.
• Know the magazine. Look through past issues. Get a sense of our general tone. Familiarize yourself with the topics we generally cover. Consider which of our departments your story might best fit.
• Have a clear sense of your central theme. (E.g., "How I included extended family in our adoption process," "Traditions and rituals bind families together," "Networking can help to make the waiting period less agonizing.") Think about what makes your story unique—or what useful information families in similar situations might gain from it.
• Keep it active. Describe not only what happened to you, but how you chose to deal with it.
• Focus on choices made and strategies used to deal with a particular situation. (E.g., "We realized our parents weren't ready to be supportive, and we didn't have the energy to deal with their criticism on every single point, so we offered them only general information as we progressed through the adoption process;" "When my daughter started being questioned by her classmates about her adoption, I offered her teacher tips on how to inform the class about adoption in general without invading any individual student's privacy.") Keep it active. Describe not only what happened to you, but how you chose to deal with it.
• Be specific. The more specific the details you provide, the more useful—and engaging—your story will be for other adoptive families. And bear in mind, even the most "ordinary" of experiences—the ones many people share—can be extraordinarily inspiring to read about. Other readers can learn from your experiences—even from your mistakes. We do receive many, many "How I Adopted" stories. But each of these can offer something unique if it maintains a strong focus on a central theme.
Typical subjects and themes:
For a quick glimpse of themes and subjects other Adoptive Families writers have explored, read the "decks" (the lines that appear between the title and the beginning of the story) in articles from past issues.
Areas we are currently looking to cover:
• Middle-school and teen years
• Relatives and community
• Adoptive parent support groups
• Adoptees' perspectives
• Birth parents' perspectives
• Foster adoption
• Transracial adoption
• Domestic adoption
• Adoptive parents of color
What we're not looking for:
We are not accepting submissions of poetry or fiction at this time.
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