CUB (Concerned United Birthparents,
Inc.) is a non profit organization that began its official existence
in October 1976, by Lee Campbell. A small group gathered to provide
mutual support for birthparents, men and women who had surrendered
children to adoption. CUB membership and purpose have greatly expanded
since those early days. CUB continues to evolve each year.
CUB members now include birthparents, adoptees, adoptive parents,
other adoption affected people and professionals. CUB’s purposes
are providing mutual support for coping with the ongoing challenges
of adoption, working for adoption reform in law and social policy,
preventing unnecessary family separations, assisting adoption separated
relatives in searching for family members, and educating the public
about adoption issues and realities.
People sometimes mistakenly assume the surrender of a child ends
a traumatic time for birthparents and is soon forgotten. Robin Winkler,
in his study of birthmothers, reports that even forty years later
birthparents regard the surrender of a child to adoption as the
most stressful experience of their lives. He found that for half
of birthparents the pain of the surrender remains as intense or
intensifies over time. The loss of a child to adoption affect many
areas of life, particularly marriage, subsequent children and difficulty
trusting other people.
Adoptive parents frequently lack the information they need in order
to assist their children with developing healthy self identity and
obtaining needed medical services. In increasing numbers, adoptive
parents have joined CUB in efforts to understand the issues confronting
their children. They begin to recognize that adoption is a blended
family situation in which they are the nurturing parents, and their
children have birthparents. They believe that sealing their children’s
original birth certificates implies adoption is inadequate and must
be disguised as birth. They resent this lack of respect for the
authenticity of adoptive parenting. They are learning they have
the right to know the other parents who love their child.
Growing up in an adoptive home is different than growing up in
a family of parents and children who are genetically related. Adoptees
share their love and lives with adoptive parents. They do not share
their genes and birthparent histories. Adoptees’ bodies, talents,
health and genes come from their birthparents. Adoptees need to
know their origins and birthfamilies. This need to know does not
indicate a lack of love for adoptive parents, but shows the adoptees
are secure enough in their adoptive parents’ love to pursue
their need to know their backgrounds.
Mutual support through monthly meetings, our CUB Communicator,
correspondence and phone calls helps members cope with the challenge
of dealing with adoption difficulties and feelings.
Many CUB members work to promote legislative and social policy changes
to require fully informing families, including single parent families,
of all alternatives and services available to them and to assist
them in keeping their families together. There are some parents
whose situation, even with support, does not permit them to raise
their children. When adoption is truly necessary, we encourage changes
that would make adoption a humane and caring alternative, not a
punishment. Closed adoption harms all parties by imposing secrecy
on people who do not want it. We encourage openness, honesty and
cooperation in adoption.
Birthparents often surrender because of a temporary lack of resources,
not a lack of love. Parents unable to raise their children should
have a voice in who will raise them. Denying loving parents knowledge
of their children, even when their children are adults, is a cruel
and unnecessary punishment that causes suffering for birthparents
and their families. Birthparents’ love for their children
does not end at the time of their surrender.
Many agencies arrange open adoptions. It benefits adoptees and
adoptive parents to be able to answer medical questions doctors
ask with the assurance that up to date answers are available. Adoptive
parents can reassure their children that their birthparents are
loving people. Many adoptive parents feel that knowing the birthparents
as people gives them freedom from unwarranted fears about the birthparents.
Knowing their child’s history allows them to help their children
grow into whole people whose backgrounds are accepted facts, not
By denying adoptees knowledge of their origins and birth families,
our society treats adults as eternal children. Like other citizens,
every adoptee has a distinct genetic background and history. Yet
unlike other citizens, adoptees in many states are never considered
old enough to have a right to know their backgrounds. If adoption
is to serve the needs of all parties, it must be changed to address
people’s needs at the time of surrender and placement, and
throughout their lives. This means social and legal recognition
of the facts that adoptees grow up, and that living with truth is
healthier than living with fears and fantasies.
Many CUB members live with the pain of being separated from family
members and living in incomplete families. The circumstances leading
to the surrender of a child are often temporary and can be overcome
with caring support. A temporary lack of finances or support should
not be a reason for a loving parent and child to be separated. To
prevent unnecessary separations, members have welcomed young mothers
and their children into their homes. By providing temporary support,
we have been able to help vulnerable young families overcome temporary
difficulties so they could be strong, healthy, positive families.
CUB members eagerly share their own situations and feelings with
young parents-to-be and their families. CUB has provided a booklet
concerning the choices available to people experiencing an unplanned
pregnancy because of our concern that parents be informed of alternatives
CUB is not a search organization. We may suggest reliable searchers.
We let members know of other search groups in their area. Perhaps
our most important service to searchers is to provide emotional
support during search. We help searchers be sensitive to others’
needs as they plan for contact and reunion. Members who are not
close to a branch receive support and information through our newsletters,
emails and phone calls with CUB leaders and members.
CUB has a strong interest in educating not only adoption affected
individuals but also society in general. Many of our members and
leaders volunteer their time to speak to community groups about
issues relating to family separation and adoption.