I attended a Concerned United Birthparents (CUB) meeting on Saturday. I went to share the good news of getting my memoir published. I went to check-in with myself. I went to do what one does at support group meetings–get and give support. I went to see what a CUB meeting is like these days.
In 1990 when I was attending regularly, the group was huge. Thirty folding chairs in a circle with a couple of boxes of Kleenex being passed around. Even back then birthmothers were joined by a few birth fathers, adoptees, and a couple of adoptive parents. Many attendees were involved in searching for their lost family members, but some were there to celebrate reunion, others for support because it didn’t seem that a reunion would ever be possible. Still others were looking for guidance on their new relationships with mothers, fathers, or adult children. Every story was different.
In our information age where it’s possible to find your birth family in 36 hours, (oh–if only it were always so easy!) the ranks of CUB seem to have thinned a bit, but the meeting I went to on Saturday was every bit as diverse as the ones I remember from more than two decades ago. An adoptee about to introduce her siblings (one from her adoptive family, the other from her birth family), a birthmother who’d attended CUB for years, searched found nothing, then years later came back and shortly thereafter was reunited with her son who is now getting to know her other adult children. An adoptee read the letter she planned to send to her birthmother whom she’d recently located. A birthmother back from the wedding of her son– the first milestone in his life she hadn’t missed. An adoptive mother sharing her story of her children’s inabilities to heal after their lives of abuse prior to their adoption. An adoptee with her toddler daughter describing what it was like to give birth and realize she’d just met her first blood relative. A birth mother announcing that the first meeting between her and her daughter is now on the calendar. There was more. Each story was unique. Each story opened the door between birthmother and adoptee. Between adoptee and adoptive parent. Between adoptive parent and birthmother.
The meetings are well-moderated. They’re a safe place where people listen. The Internet has made searching easier in some cases, but there are still plenty of reasons to go to a CUB meeting. If you’re a birthparent, an adoptee, or an adoptive parent and you are looking for support, information, or a group where your story will be listened to, a CUB meeting is a fantastic idea. Check the website for the meeting schedule in your area.