Writers’ Guidelines

Adoptive Families is the leading information resource for parents before, during, and after adoption. The award-winning quarterly digital magazine and website provide independent, authoritative adoption parenting advice and real families’ stories.

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.

What We Cover

We always welcome submissions on these core topics:

Deciding to adoption
Navigating the adoption process and expectant mother match
The adoption wait, from both practical and emotional angles
School & education
Family, friends, and community
Open adoption
Older Child Adoption
Special-Needs Adoption
Adoption from foster care
Talking about adoption
Transracial adoption
Adoptees’ perspectives
Birth parents’ perspectives
Adoptive parents of color
Single parent and LGBT parent families
Older adoptive parents
Preteen and teen years
Our Story – how we became a family
In My Opinion – An editorial on a controversial subject
News & Notes – Legislative and policy updates, with occasional “News Focus” articles elaborating on a particular item or issue in the news
Parenting tips and guidelines
Comments and responses to any of our articles

What we’re not looking for:

We are not accepting submissions of poetry or fiction at this time.

How to Submit an Article or Essay

Personal essays:

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:

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.

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
  Any recent clips you may have

How to send them:

•  We prefer to receive submissions via e-mail, as attachments.
•  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.

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, which includes a one-year membership to adoptivefamilies.com. 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:

[email protected]

Keep the Following in Mind

  Know Adoptive Families‘ voice and perspective. Look through our website. Get a sense of our general tone. Familiarize yourself with the topics we generally cover.
  Have a clear sense of your central theme. (E.g., “How we connected with an expectant mother through networking,” “Conversations with my children about race,” “Facilitating a relationship with my child’s birth siblings.”) 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.

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