Our Voices: A Birthparent Anthology
In the adoption constellation, birthparent voices are often silenced or ignored; their stories told by others. When someone else tells your story, it stops being your truth – it becomes the version of your story other people feel most comfortable with, the story they wish was the truth, the version that justifies the choices, actions, and reactions of others, the version that erases your voice and sanitizes your experiences.
We want birthparents to use their voices to tell their own stories, and this print anthology provides a platform for birthparents to do so. Write the words your heart needs to speak.
WHAT WE'RE LOOKING FOR
The truth. Your truth. Unvarnished and real, nuanced and raw. Your truth. Not someone else’s truth about you; just you, unfiltered and unflinchingly honest. Your voice matters; your lived experience matters. You can reach far back into your past or tell us a story of something that happened last week. Below is a brief list of topics if you want a jumping off point to think about where to start, but this is by no means a comprehensive list - it’s just a way to start thinking about what to write.
- Disenfranchised grief and ambiguous loss
- How you experience birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays
- How you came to place
- Shame, guilt, anger, and other hard emotions
- What does open adoption look like from a birthparent perspective
- Relationships with others after placing
- Coming out of the fog
- Sibling relationships
- Loving your child
- Defining your role
- Closed/Reunion adoption experiences and reflections
- What does nobody ever seem to ‘get’ about the birthparent experience?
- Parenting after placement
- Cultural/Religious beliefs
- Shifts in relationships with the adoptive family
COPYRIGHTS & PAYMENT
Our authors will retain their copyright rights (you retain ownership over your work). We are asking for usage rights only.
If your submission is accepted, On Your Feet Foundation retains the following usage rights: to publish your submitted work in both the print and electronic (Kindle) version of this anthology, and, should this become a series of anthologies, to republish your submitted work in a subsequent anthology (with author credit). We also reserve the right to use portions of the published works in this anthology, with attributed credit, in our marketing, development, and education initiatives (excerpt rights). We retain the right to provide minimal developmental/grammatical editing, if necessary.
We ask that no submitted work be previously published, either online, on a blog or social media, or in print form. Reworking a previous piece of writing is acceptable. All work submitted must be original and by the author submitting it. We cannot accept work written with AI (ChatGPT, etc).
After publication, you are free to republish your work in other places – sell it to a magazine, publish it online, sell the book or movie rights, etc. It’s your work. You still own it. But if you do, tell us – so we can hype that good news up on our social media!
We also reserve the right to submit the works published in this anthology to the Pushcart Prize, and other literary prizes in which published work must be nominated by an editor, and should you win, grant them the right to publish your work as a winning piece.
For more information on how author rights work:
Chosen submissions will be unpaid, and proceeds from the sale of this journal will be used to fund birthparent support through On Your Feet Foundation, including, but not limited to, providing counseling grants, running birthparent support groups and retreats, endowing our Create! Grants, and offering special programming designed to give birthparents a safe space in which to heal.
WHO CAN SUBMIT
This anthology is open for birthparent submissions only. A birthparent is a person who has placed a child for adoption. Prior to placement, that person is an expectant parent - or parent. This anthology is open only to birthparents, including birthfathers, non-binary, queer, and transgender birthparents.
Non-fiction, essays, creative non-fiction, or poetry – pick the one that works best for your story and your voice. Word count is capped at 1750 words for essays, non-fiction, and creative non-fiction, with a minimum word count of 250. For poetry submissions, we can accept up to 5 poems from one author.
Feel free to be experimental with your writing to find the form that best fits your voice. Maybe combining essay format with poetry does that best. As long as you are telling your truth, we are here for it.
Submissions Open: November 15th, 2023
Submissions Close: January 15th, 2024
HOW TO SUBMIT
Please fill out the submission form below. We are happy to accept multiple submissions, but we kindly ask you to submit each submission as a separate file. If you have a collection of five or fewer poems, you may submit them in a single file. There is no submission or reading fee.
The submission form asks for your name, but we understand that many in our birthparent community require a level of anonymity. You are able to provide a pen name, or otherwise indicate how you would like to be credited for your work. Unless you grant us specific permission, we will only refer to you and your work by your pen name, should your submission be published.