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Adoptee Reclaimed Poem Contest:
Call for Submissions

Adoptees of all backgrounds and experience of writing are encouraged to submit for this amateur poetry competition. Please read the submission guidelines and terms of service before submitting. Scroll all the way down to meet the judges!




DEADLINE: Feb 10th, 2022 or 200 submissions


Participants may only submit once. Poems may be any topic, style, or length but should:

1) Relate to your personal experience of adoption

2) Touch on one or several of the seven core impacts of adoption:

     Loss, Rejection, Guilt/Shame, Grief, Identity, Intimacy, and Mastery & Control.

Poems will be judged to the judge's preference with the following criteria: 

Impact of adoption - the poem clearly outlines an adoptee's voice/perspective/opinion related to the experience of adoption

Voice - the author's unique voice is displayed in the style of the submission

Concept - the idea presented is clear and interesting

Poetic excellence - as a poem, the submission is well-written with strong, accurate, and impactful word selection and a definable rhythm or theme, making the piece engaging to read



  • One entry per participant. Multiple entries will be deleted. Participation is limited to adoptees who were adopted prior to the age of 18.

  • By submitting a poem, the participant confirms that they are over the age of 16, an adoptee, and have read and consented to the terms and conditions in their entirety.

  • The submission deadline is February 10, 2022 OR until 200 entries have been recieved. Winners will be announced no later than March 1, 2022.

  • Submission implies consent to be contacted by the host via email or Instagram. Contact information is not sold to third parties.

  • Work submitted must be the participant's own and cannot be plagiarized or copied from another source. Plagiarism will result in immediate disqualification from the competition.

  • Submitted work should be free of spelling and grammatical errors, unless the error is for artistic intent.

  • Submission does not guarantee a prize.

  • Poems will be stripped of identifying information for judging purposes. Participants may NOT contact judges regarding the competition, judge's preferences, or selection of finalists. Doing so will result in immediate disqualification from the competition and forfeit of any claim to prizes.

  • Submitted poems are released from copyright obligations and may be edited for publishing. Works may be redistributed or published at any time without prior notice to the author. These rights are not exclusive, meaning the author retains rights to their submitted intellectual property** 

  • Winners will be determined on the criteria above. Judges will use a ranking system to score poems on a 5 point scale of 1 (least favorable) to 5 (most favorable). The highest-ranked poems will be paired with peers and re-scored until winners are selected. Judges will score with their individual discretion. Judges may not submit. The contest host may not submit. 

  • Winners will be notified by email and/or Instagram DM from @adoptee_reclaimed. Failure to respond within 10 days of notification may result in the participant's prize being forfeited. 

  • Prizes will be delivered digitally, via Venmo or Paypal. Participants are responsible for obtaining and maintaining their electronic accounts with these services.

**Confused about copyright language? Great pains were taken to be sure the language affirms the author's rights to their intellectual property. The language in the Terms and Conditions is the standard language for public contests which take submissions of artwork, writing or photography. It allows the organizer to share submitted works, including the winners, with their audience. This allows me, the organizer, to copy, paste, and format your work for the judges so they can view them (without sending tons of emails to every participant) and enables me to repost your poem for other adoptees to read. Authors have the option to be published under an alias if they prefer to remain anonymous. This language simply releases the submitted pieces from 'copyright obligations' - meaning any obligation now or in the future that may come back and say "Hey! I sent you my work that one time - give me money!"  If you aren't familiar with copyright language, or this clause makes you uncomfortable, please do not submit. 

Submit your poem

Select any of the following that apply to you:

*Not sure what applies? Here are some terms:


Domestic Adoptee: Adopted within the country of your birth
Adoptee in Reunion: You have made contact with a member or member(s) of your biological family

International Adoptee: Adopted internationally and raised in a country different than your birth

Former Foster Youth Adoptee: Adopted after spending time in state care

Transracial Adoptee: Adopted by people of a different racial background than your own

Kinship Adoptee: Adopted and raised by non-parent biological relatives

Published Author: Previous writing (of any topic) has been published by a formal publication or digital media agency. 

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