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Concerned United Birthparents

Founded in Massachusetts in 1976, Concerned United Birthparents (CUB) is currently headquartered in Encinitas, California and has 10 chapters and over 400 members around the United States. Its original mission was "to provide support for birthparents who have relinquished a child to adoption; to provide resources to help prevent unnecessary family separations; to educate the public about the life-long impact on all who are touched by adoption; and to advocate for fair and ethical adoption laws, policies, and practices." A 2003 revision of this statement formally extends CUB's supportive mantle to cover "all family members separated by adoption" rather than birth parents alone.

CUB has offered vital organizational resources and a political voice chiefly to those birth mothers who felt most disempowered in the era before the sexual revolution normalized premarital heterosexuality and Roe v. Wade made abortion legal: young, unmarried white women whose middle-class families considered their out-of-wedlock pregnancies a source of terrible shame and moral failure. Many were packed off to maternity homes in the 1950s and 1960s, where they waited out their "confinements" in isolation and loneliness and then surrendered healthy newborns to childless couples under policies of confidentiality and sealed records. These infant placements were in great demand and often conformed to matching, which aimed to replicate nature so closely that natal relatives were made to disappear altogether. This kind of adoption promised to permanently solve two problems at once: infertility and illegitimacy.

CUB came into existence at precisely the moment when this promise was no longer convincing. Members were inspired by search and reunion pioneers among adult adoptees, particularly Jean Paton, founder of Orphan Voyage, and Florence Fisher, of the Adoptees' Liberty Movement Association (ALMA). At the same time, the second wave of feminism was forcefully pursuing reproductive rights and arguing that "the personal is political." Although white feminists were more closely identified with the struggle for safe and legal abortion than with the protection of women's childbearing rights, the logic and rhetoric of reproductive choice encompassed birth mothers, at least in theory. Why should women be pressured to give up their children forever simply because they were unmarried, or young, or poor, or without adequate support? Didn't equality require the freedom to decide when to have children as well as when not to have them?


From: The Adoption History Project website www.uoregon.edu/~adoption/index.html Used With Permission.


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